Policy & Global Development

The Transformative Power of Innovation, Under Debate

Digitalisation, new professional profiles, the role of women, and public-private funding have been considered pillars of innovation

Photo: Ajuntament de L'Hospitalet de Llobregat

What are the benefits of innovating? Who can do it? And how can it be done? These are some of the questions that were discussed and answered at the meeting “Brain, health and eels. Landing innovation at your company” organised last Thursday by TACTIO and ISGlobal, an institution supported by ”la Caixa”. Representatives of both public and private sectors and the Secretary of State for Digital Progress, Francisco Polo, attended the event held in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

The several discussions spotlighted the need for innovating at all levels (from small to big companies) and in all sectors in order to improve competitiveness and, consequently, productivity worldwide. According to the participants, the innovation roadmap should foster digitalisation, include and motivate small and medium enterprises in the process, promote professional profiles related with science and tech, boost the role of women and raise its visibility, and establish public-private funding models.

During the talk “The health of the present and the future: innovate or innovate”, Joan Bigorra, director of Strategy and Innovation at ISGlobal, underlined the urgency of innovating also in the sanitary sector which is, he said, “under increasing stress as a result of an ageing population in high-, middle- and low-income countries.”

“In global health, innovation is part of our DNA to progress towards quality and equity”, said Bigorra with the conviction that innovation is a necessity and an opportunity, and that small institutions can play an important role “in an open and collaborative way, with vision, curiosity, modesty, audacity and lots of resilience”.

Francisco Polo, Secretary of State for Digital Progress, underlined that tech “can and must play” a key role in the progress towards a more equitable and fair world. He also advocated for the role of women in the economic sector because “it is a matter of principles […] but also of strategy as companies led by women generate larger profits”.

However, it is not only a matter of tech, pointed out Leire Pajín, director of Global Development at ISGlobal, since innovation “also means changing processes and procedures, which is the hardest thing, as well as creating new alliances among different actors in order to solve social problems”. Accordingly, she defended public-private alliances as a management model for all sectors, the need of more dynamic business structures, and the need to measure research for its impact, rather than for the number of publications.