by Ricard Faura i Homedes,
Head of Inclusion and Digital Training Service, Government of Catalonia
The Telecommunications, Cybersecurity and Digital Society Area of the Government of Catalonia is pleased to meet you and be at your side while you attend the ALL DIGITAL Summit 2017, on 4-5 October. As a local partner of the meeting, helping El Teb and Fundación Esplai, we will try to do our best to make your visit to Barcelona and Catalonia easier and happier.
The Catalan economy is not based on the exploitation of natural resources. Its main force is the people, their solidarity, work, enthusiasm and knowledge. You probably know some typical Catalan picture: the Catalan human castle, made by the cohesive work of people, adding their force to build a tower of bodies. This image shows the spirit of Catalan people, always ready to offer their hands and kindness for helping the others. This is what we can offer you while you visit our small but pretty country.
Catalan people like to work and grow by a continuous learning. We are located at the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, as the door to Europe, and we are open-minded, focused on the international affairs to learn and offer our point of view. This spirit has taken us to be a smart region, interested in ICT tools, mobile technologies and digital innovation. All of them are oriented towards the people, to offer solutions to the needs of our citizens.
In Catalonia we have a telecentre network, called Xarxa Punt TIC (meaning verbatim ‘ICT Points network’), which was born 18 years ago, in 1999. There are more than 600 Punt TIC around the country, owned by city councils, foundations, non-profit entities and other, that offer Internet connection and ICT training, and empower citizens (under 25, over 45, entrepreneurs, unemployed and disabled people) in digital skills. Some of these centres make activities in a new paradigm, the digital social innovation, from a four-helix perspective, which includes academia, government, companies and citizen.
Looking at this process, which agrees with the European Union and the Smart Catalonia strategies, in 2016 we decided to promote the Catalan digital social innovation system, through a new program called CatLabs (Catalan Laboratories) and the CatLabs Network. We invited all the digital manufacturing spaces (Makers, Fablabs, Ateneus), coworking spaces, Punt TIC (telecentres), living labs, Professional Training centres and other projects and labs to meet each other in the Catlabs Nework in order to work together in open innovation and open science with social aims.
Of course, universities, research centres, government and companies have been working together for a long time. And citizen have been the consumer, the tester and the recipient of innovation, ICT tools, and public policies. The CatLabs’ main aim is to involve people in their design, in the finding of solutions to their needs.
We will be happy to share with you everything that we are learning in this process.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you to our home. We will try to make your stay in Barcelona and Catalonia as happy as possible.