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San Sebastian’s branding is not about tourism; it’s about talent


Young people and their talent took centre stage on the first day of Donostia WeekINN initiative, featuring the participation of the branding guru Andy Stalman


The importance of generating talent among young people and retaining that talent in our city was one of the key messages that permeated throughout the first day of the Donostia WeekINN innovation festival. Talks and workshops, held under the title Gazteekin Connecting Talent, took place in the morning at the Kursaal Convention Centre and set the scene for a day of learning and reflection. According to the Deputy Mayor, Ernesto Gasco: “The capacity of young people to think, rethink and imagine a better world is one of the main goals of San Sebastian’s City Council, not only in terms of working here but also living here, and building a better present and future”. The director of Fomento de San Sebastián, Euken Sese, highlighted the three elements on which ‘Connecting Talent’ is based: a good ecosystem, society and talent. “San Sebastian’s branding is not about tourism; it’s about talent”, he pointed out. “In San Sebastian, we have a great innovation ecosystem that encompasses start-ups, different sized companies, technology centres and education centres. It is important to drive new business through ideas and initiative, but also through passion and joy. We must be motivated and excited about what we do”, Sese added.


San Sebastian’s commitment to the development and promotion of talent is channelled through various grants and subsidies programmes geared towards young people gaining professional experience abroad, and then returning to our city. At the same time, initiatives such as the Innovation League seek to foster creative capacity and innovation among children. All without forgetting Fomento de San Sebastián’s links with local businesses, which allows it to gain an understanding of which skills and professional capacities will be in demand in the future. Education, the employment market, businesses, international connections, and the attraction and retention of talent: these are the pillars of San Sebastian’s Connecting Talent programme.


lunes 23 contenido 2The first major name to take part in the Donostia WeekINN programme of events was Andy Stalman, better known as Mr. Branding. In a conference that lasted close to one hour, in a room at the Kursaal Convention Centre that struggled to cope with the huge audience turnout, Stalman gave a master class in how to generate a unique personal brand using online and offline tools. He stated that, through social media and other types of platforms, we leave a “digital footprint” of interactions, comments, reflections and images. That footprint gives shape and form to our online life. Our offline life is constructed in our day-to- day physical interactions with our friends, family, and with other people in general. “Branding is the difference between being recognised and going unnoticed. The key is action. Today is the day to create your personal brand”, declared Stalman. “We have to be brave when proposing ideas. Young people have the obligation to question what adults have done. Learning allows us to keep our brains moving. We cannot learn unless we are curious or ingenious”, were just some of his reflections. At the end, Andy Stalman invited the young audience members to hug another six people for eight seconds, in order to break down personal barriers, and the participants followed his instructions with enthusiasm.


The talk given by Mr. Branding was followed by a roundtable discussion at which representatives from three companies in San Sebastian talked about the types of professional profiles they are looking for. Moderated by journalist Enrique Rodal, Aitor Larruskain, director of Corporate R&D at Ikor, Sendoa Sola, Business Development Manager at Ikusi, and Iñigo Díaz de Cerio, founding partner of Piolet, offered their thoughts about some of the key aspects that any job-seeker should take into account. According to Sendoa Sola: “Technical knowledge is essential, but above all you must be willing to put your nose to the grindstone and have the right attitude. We are looking for people who are willing to give it their all, just as we do. We are looking for the capacity to work as part of a team, understood as the capacity to adapt to your surroundings”. For Díaz de Cerio: “The jobs that will be in demand in five years’ time do not yet exist. The most important thing is that the company should be the one to give you a professional training plan. Companies are looking to bring on board professionals who are productive right from the word go, but you have to invest in people through training”. As for attitudes that you should never show in a job interview, Aitor Larruskain stated: “We avoid people who do not seem to be motivated, or who are not able to convey that motivation. We are also not interested in people who do not know what we do as a company. That shows a lack of interest”.


Gazteekin Connecting Talent also included four workshops aimed at improving the skills and competencies of younger people. Iker ‘Creator of Adventures’ led a workshop about the Development of Attitudinal Capacities. Ainhoa G. Beltrán, a specialist in LinkedIn and 'Social Selling', revealed a few tricks about what we should and should not do on LinkedIn, the biggest online platform related with employment. Javier Miguel Garay, from Edu Motion, sketched out - definitely the right word in this case - the importance of creating value through Visual Thinking. And the journalist Enrique Rodal set out a few key elements to bear in mind when preparing for public speaking, and how to deal with nerves.


In the afternoon, the session was rounded off with an event aimed at companies and entrepreneurs held at Talent House, examining public instruments and funding available for innovation and technology projects. Luis Guerra, from CDTI, presented the new features offered by the SME Instrument, a funding programme promoted by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, offering subsidies of up to 2.5 million euros. The three stages of this programme will remain - market study, validation, and getting out to the market - but now the business model is becoming more important than the technology itself on which a project is based.


lunes 23 contenido 3


Alejandro Tosina, director of Digital Economics at Red.es, announced that public competitions would be launched to “incentivise digital development” among businesses and people, allowing them to obtain training that will improve their professional capabilities or allow them to enter the employment market. Carolina Rodríguez, head of Institutional Relations at ENISA, a public company that supports “viable innovation projects”, described the company’s “atypical” methods of finance aimed at SMEs, regardless of whether they are start-ups or whether they have a long track record in different sectors.


Following on from the presentation of these tools, participants heard about various success stories in terms of securing subsidies, presented by the companies Likuid Nanotek and Canard Drones. During this round-table discussion, moderated by Javier González, head of European Project Management at Zabala Innovation, a consultancy firm with a wealth of experience in the commissioning and development of innovation projects, Elena Meabe, from Likuid, stressed: “Without these kinds of funding options, such as the SME Instrument, we would not have been able to get our projects off the ground”. Likuid is a firm based in San Sebastian dedicated to the manufacture of ceramic water filters. In the opinion of Rafael Aguado, from Canard Drones, a company that specialises in the use of drones to assist flight navigation: “Thanks to the work we put in to secure funding, we have been able to think clearly about what it is that we were doing and how we could structure our business in order to move forwards”.


lunes 23 contenido 1Pasadas las cinco de la tarde Donostia WeekINN inauguraba un nuevo espacio que será protagonista durante toda la semana. En la Carpa del Boulevard, junto al Ayuntamiento, los amantes de las nuevas tecnologías tuvieron la oportunidad de montar y programar su propio robot. Sin duda se trata de una actividad dirigida a los más jóvenes, pero en la que no faltaron sus familiares y muchos curiosos que se acercaron a este nuevo espacio expositivo.


After 5pm, WeekINN opened up a new space, which will be firmly in the spotlight throughout the entire week. In the ‘Carpa del Boulevard’ marquee, right by City Hall, fans of new technologies had the opportunity to set up and programme their own robot. Although this activity was aimed at younger members of the public, their families and many other curious passers-by couldn’t resist getting a closer look at this new exhibition space.


This workshop to set up and programme robots is organised by DoPlay!, a company aimed at the education of children and teens aged 6 to 17 in areas such as robotics, videogame creation, programming, and the management of drones. Anyone interested in giving their children an introduction to the world of new technologies will have until Wednesday to do so, between the hours of 5:30pm and 7pm.


The first day of Donostia WeekINN drew to a close in Dabadaba with an innovative film-forum session, run in collaboration with ForoTech Deusto, analysing big data and its possibilities. The film used to spark debate was 'Moneyball’, directed by Bennet Miller in 2011. We won’t spoil the ending, but we would just advise you to watch it and draw your own conclusions about the use of data analytics in areas such as sport. What we can reveal is that the subsequent debate left us some extremely interesting reflections thanks to José Luis del Val, director of DeustoForum and Professor at the Engineering Faculty of Deusto University, and Anselmo del Moral, Professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. Discussions were moderated by Cristina Giménez Elorriaga, head of University-Business Relations at the Engineering Faculty of Deusto University.


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