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The second edition of ideas4all InnovationinnovationHUB, held last Friday in the Madrid headquarters of professional services firm EY, highlighted the fact that innovation is no longer a closed circuit or something cooked up internally in a shroud of secrecy.

Thanks to the comprehensive perspective and specific experience of the important participating companies at our annual ideas hub, the great take-away for the close to one hundred attendants was that today’s organizations are increasingly open to ideas and suggestions from their different stakeholders.

The technology not only allows it, it also encourages it. One of the main topics of conversation at innovationHUB were ecosystems—as well as being a current buzzword, the term is reflected in a model that, if there is direction and a guiding thread, can integrate everyone; employees and internal talent, startups and entrepreneurs.

But for that to be possible, as some of the attendants emphasized, there must be a new mentality in senior management, as it will hold the key to opening up the rest of the organization. As one of the speakers highlighted, we shouldn’t be surprised at seeing executives in ties at the same meeting as startup members in jeans and sneakers.

Another subject of much conversation was people, and how to take full advantage of their diversity and talent, celebrated in the 2nd edition of the ideas4all Innovation Innovation Awards, which recognized companies with outstanding open innovation programs that bring together those two variables: openness and people.

“What very innovative companies have in common today is that they see employees, clients or suppliers as sources of innovation; and if they are, it becomes essential to know how to listen, and to promote interaction and the transfer of knowledge and ideas among all the parts that make up the ecosystem”, as Pilar Roch, CEO of ideas4all Innovation, pointed out at the begin of the event.

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There was a first round table with Rubén Hernández, Director of the BS idea Project at Banco Sabadell; Eva Ivars, Managing Director of Alain Afflelou, and Javier Paniagua, Digital Office Director at Calidad Pascual, who showed how their respective organizations are committed to opening innovation to participation from different stakeholders.

In the case of optical group Alain Afflelou, the focus is on their clients through the co-creative community ideas4afflelou, which aside from opening the brand up to new business ideas, has also proven to be a great loyalty-creating tool with clients.

On the other hand, Calidad Pascual and Banco Sabadell stressed how they are taking advantage of open innovation and intrapreneurship from people within the organization, and are generating and evaluating new ideas that go on to a later cycle of development and interaction with other resources in the organization.

Precisely the way people fit into a digital culture, their role in today’s companies and the ability of those companies to attract and retain talent, were some of the stand-out issues discussed at the round table “Talent in search for companies”, moderated by Jesús V. Izquierdo, of the Worldgate Group.

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José Luis Risco, Human Resources Director of EY Spain; Juan Ignacio Marrón, Partner Responsible for Innovation at KPMG Spain, and Ángel Uzquiza, Director of Innovation at Seguros Santalucía, held a dialogue on the mantra thatcompanies are made up by people, and how it must be validated through internal actions that truly place value on people and give them center stage.

Collaborative innovation, the employee journey or employer branding were some of the concepts brought to light during a debate that also underlined factors like the urgent crisis affecting digital talent and skills in the work market, or the disconnection between that market and the education system.

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The innovationHUB addressed innovation in companies and professional fields, but also in institutions and among citizens; there was a three-way debate with Marieta del Rivero, author of the book “Smart cities, una visión para el ciudadano” (Smart Cities, a vision for citizens)Gema Igual, Mayor of Santander, and Regina Llopis, President of Grupo AIA.

They spoke of smart cities as a conjunction of people and data, and the current and future role of both factors in the development of initiatives that improve the quality of life and take citizens into consideration, whether through their involvement in municipal administration, as is the case in the Santander City Brain, the community for citizen participation in Santander; or the protection of their personal data.

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Lastly, the event also allowed different organizations to share their successful experiences with open innovation, including the University of Alcalá, whose future is being co-created through imaginalaUAH, a community open to participation from all of society; UnLtD Spain, which connects social entrepreneurs and private initiatives to solve challenges through Plantacción, or Grupo AIA, a group that specializes in managing data and uses ideas crowdsourcing to develop new projects with its employees.

innovationHUB again became trending topic in Twitter Spain, for the second consecutive year, and a day was dedicated to workshops before the event, with exclusive access for members of the Clients Club, on innovation and other related subjects.