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San Sebastián shows commitment to innovation at WeekINN

 

The 4 th WeekINN-San Sebastián Innovation Week, organised by Fomento de San Sebastián for the Department of Economic Development and brought to a close yesterday, gave visibility to the city’s efforts in the area of innovation. Over 200 hours in activities taking place in 37 different venues, more than 70 collaborating organisations and about 3600 visitors to reach a wider audience, especially among school and university students. Mission accomplished.

 

This year, WeekINN took a qualitative leap, adding new activities, venues (like Dabadaba) and formats that proved highly successful. For instance, the 1 st TechTalks (a series of open dialogues about the impact of technology on a variety of fields), the 1 st Donostia Innovation League for schools or the development of an app to offer all the relevant information (access for registered users, news, etc.). Or the gazebo set up on the Boulevard, bringing technology closer to citizens in the form of games and robots for the little ones, among other activities.

 

‘We’ve been able to show that innovation goes beyond research centres and is ever-present in the city, in our daily life. In the context of WeekINN, we’ve carried out innovation-based activities in a variety of fields: education, fashion, agri-food, retail, catering and, of course, business, entrepreneurship and research itself,’ said Deputy Mayor Ernesto Gasco.

 

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WeekINN’s motto this year was ‘Connecting Talent: Connected Through People for Innovation’. It translated into the three modules used to structure the programme: education, business and international networks. On day 1, young talents were the stars at the crowded event at Kursaal, featuring branding expert Andy Stalman. It was a practical space for motivation, tips and workshops for youths ready to embark on a professional career.

 

On day 2, WeekINN focused on international cooperation. Delegations from foreign cities – Birmingham, Rome, Lisbon – came to get familiar with the local ecosystem and share experiences in innovation. The development of innovation and the use of new technologies for development in a variety of sectors were the central topics at TechTalks.

 

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On Wednesday, boys and girls from five local schools seized the Assembly Hall to introduce their innovative projects for the river Urumea area. It was the final of the Donostia Innovation League, a new initiative whose first edition drew entries from 600 schoolchildren. Talent House hosted a meeting with international professionals working in San Sebastián to think about the keys to engage talent in the city and the programmes that could be carried out.

 

Thursday was the day of the 2 nd DonostiaINN Award Gala. The awards were given to IKOR as Best Established Company and CounterCraft as Best Emerging Company. They brought Topagunea Business Strategy to a close after being held in Donostia for the first time and featured Emilio J. Castilla, from the MIT Sloan School of Management, who specialises in talent management policies.

 

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On the final day, the emphasis was laid on design as an area of expertise and a key skill for innovation in an event at the Miramar Palace. They also announced the establishment of a Design School to be housed in the Palace – a platform to boost the city’s innovation ecosystem by offering learning and other activities, and by engaging in international collaboration.

 

Berrikuntza Gerturatuz unfolded for the five days of WeekINN, offering some 1400 local schoolchildren and youths open-door events, lab testing sessions, talks by researchers, innovative project testimonials and social entrepreneurship workshops. This programme involved 30 technology and educational centres as well as businesses and entrepreneurs.

 

At the Boulevard Gazebo (the WeekINN venue open to the general public), there were robotics workshops for families that gathered high numbers of participants, a technology expo organised with technology centres and local companies, and an exhibition of innovative projects being carried out by local entrepreneurs, which drew lots of visitors.

 

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This year’s new WeekINN tools included an app offering all the information about the various events, an area for registered users, real-time graphics of talks and lectures and follow-up activities. In addition, the Fomento de San Sebastián website included a WeekINN blog.

 

Last but not least, the 4 th Innovation Week included activities for the promotion of the Basque language in business, start-up investment, the development of the Egia district, and the use of open data in companies. The choice of venues – Kursaal, Sala Keler, María Cristina Hotel, Talent House and new ones like Dabadaba, GU San Sebastián or the Assembly Hall at the San Sebastián Town Hall, alongside many local companies and centres – spread WeekINN across the city.

 

We are now getting ready for the 5 th Donostia WeekINN, working hard to transform it into a reference in the area of innovation and a showcase for the city’s innovation and talent management policies.

 

This year, WeekINN took a qualitative leap, adding new activities, venues (like

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