Catalonia, the imaginative country
The era of knowledge, the effects of globalization or the digital revolution are going to rapidly transform the world we live in. In fact, our lives have already been transformed to some degree, even if a few years from now we will look back and laugh at how we are still using the Internet and new technologies today. No one doubts that this is only the beginning.
And this new world – accelerated by the effects of the current economic crisis – will put everyone in their place, including Catalonia and the Catalans. Yet despite having to overcome the many obstacles in this global world that stem from not having a state of our own, Catalans will still have a lot to say.
We are shifting from a world of intense knowledge to a world of intense creativity and imagination. Imagination in how we create products, services, businesses or relationships, and this is becoming a first-class asset. Imagination is a territory that we Catalans feel right at home in. We have made this clear in the way in which we cook (Ferran Adrià), design clothing (Custo Barcelona), build buildings (Antoni Gaudí), listen to music (Sonar), or even how we play soccer (F.C. Barcelona).
Not only this, the undeniable quality of life in our country is encouraging more and more professionals from around the world to make Catalonia their adopted home with everything that this represents.
The brand of the city of Barcelona – especially since the Olympic Games of ’92 – has been a unique image that both sells and places us within the imaginary as a place with exceptionally high quality design, astonishing creativity, overall good taste, and inexhaustible imagination.
Catalans have an enterprising nature and the ‘desire’ to distinguish themselves and stand out on the world map. These characteristics are on their way to making Catalonia the Silicon Valley of creativity and imagination. Let’s start with the 22@ neighborhood, which is a space where universities, private enterprises and public entities are all working together to create a pool of professionals with a focus on innovation, creativity and imagination. Then there is the OpenData project, which makes information from Barcelona’s Town Council easily accessible in digital, standard and open formats. In addition, there are all sorts of events such as the Updates organized by Infonomia for restless innovators, or the Pecha Kuchas Barcelona for creative people.
We may not have the necessary “risk capital”. Maybe at times we think too small. Maybe Catalan universities do not work with the private sphere in the way we would like. Maybe public or financial institutions do not risk as much as we would like. Maybe our command of languages doesn’t help us that much. Maybe we lack confidence in ourselves as individuals and as a collective. Maybe.
But we have talent. A high degree of talent in creativity, imagination but also in technology. For years now we have been creating a pool of highly successful dotcom or technology businesses that have recently been going international. Companies such as Atrapalo.com, eDreams, Privalia, Eyeos or Softonic have become undeniable reference points on the web within their own industries. This has allowed us to set up a network of companies and entrepreneurs that are either digital or involved in widely known and key technology issues.
Many global businesses such as HP, Yahoo, or Smart Design have been spreading the word about this creative, imaginative and technological capacity of Catalans. They have been able to verify how Barcelona – and by extension, Catalonia – is an ideal place for innovating, creating and imagining, but not just for being in Barcelona (or Catalonia). To be able to innovate, create and imagine from Barcelona (or Catalonia), that is why they find it ideal. And thus I invite you to consider the benefits of beginning economic or business relations with Catalonia, the imaginative country.