Innovation Week in San Sebastián boosts participation thanks to a digital format

Over the seven days of Donostia WeekINN, more than 4,300 people followed the events scheduled on live WeekINN TV video, or afterwards on the videos set up on the channel. The figures show that Innovation Week, organised by the Department of Economic Promotion through Fomento de San Sebastián, succeeded in adapting to the circumstances created by the pandemic, and provided a comprehensive, varied programme as a space for reflection and debate on the major challenges and key criteria to address the superchanges, the watchword for this year’s event. After the event, Economic Promotion councillor Marisol Garmendia said “certain key issues for the city are being reinforced: putting people first, using technology and science as a tool to shape the future, driving enterprise and focusing on collaborative projects. The event with the largest repercussion was Female scientists of yesterday and today, with almost 700 viewers.

Economic Promotion councillor Marisol Garmendia added that “against such a complicated backdrop, it is most satisfying that we were able to hold the Innovation Week, and adapt both the contents and the actual format. In due consideration of the challenges our city faces, we felt it was important to provide a space for reflection, knowledge and connection, to make a contribution to the task of devising and developing new bases for our model of life and work, putting people first at all times. And we did so, implementing new digital formats to disseminate and produce experiences and encounters to share ideas and address the superchange now upon us. This WeekINN has definitely helped us make a start on clearing a path, with formats that will help us move closer to people, businesses and all agents, to learn and be capable of carrying out projects towards the future, in a change of paradigm such as we are experiencing at the present time. which is stepping up the pace of trends which were already upon us, such as gradual digitalisation, the main feature of this WeekINN”.

San Sebastián’s 7th Innovation Week was held between 24 and 30 October on the theme of ‘superchanges’, those historic moments marking a before-and-after in the history of humanity. This year’s event focused on furnishing a response to the ‘superchanges’ by means of three interconnected criteria: people, technology and collaboration. The WeekINN was a 95% online event, with 24 activities scheduled: talks, debates, conferences, games and exhibitions. The topics addressed covered various areas such as the challenges facing trade and the digitalisation of trade, the future of large events, climate change and the food and agriculture sector, or new ways of meeting up online.

Some WeekINN figures:

  • More than 1,000 students from 20 teaching centres in the city took part.
  • More than 1,000 people signed up for the games and challenges organised online:

Gymkhana, Escape Room and Minecraft.

  • Visits to the WeekINN website were up by 26%
  • New WeekINN website users rose by 64%
  • 40% of connections to the WeekINN website were via mobile phones

The first activities took place on the weekend of 24 and 25 October, with a gymkhana inviting participation by means of panels set up around the city. An online escape room was also set up, where participants had to various enigmas relating to the history of the city.

On Monday 26 October, WeekINN hosted talks by Alicia Pomares, managing partner at the Humannova Group, who helped us reflect on personal skills for the future, and Ana Aldea, who dwelt on new ways of meeting up online. On Tuesday, MIT doctor in artificial intelligence Nuria Oliver gave a talk interrelating technology and data in connection with smart cities and the superchange. A round table was held on the same day on the future of large events, with Iñigo Argomániz (Getin), Joxean Fernandez (San Sebastián Film Festival), Iñigo Ibarnegaray (VOCENTO) and Begoña Larzabal (Real Sociedad football club), to discuss the need for adaptation to the new context in order to avoid paralysis.

The hospitality and retail sectors also had a space for reflection, with the premise of sectoral transformation through digitalisation. Another focus of WeekINN was Europe, including conferences and group encounters with, among others, Román Arjona, chief economist of the DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission, in a bid to define the challenges and opportunities facing the old continent. We also learned from success stories in other countries such as Estonia, in order to draw conclusions that could also be applied to Donostia.

The event this year featured a new line to promote start-ups, StartUpINN, to be continued subsequently, by way of a demonstration of support for enterprise, to visibilise companies by giving them the resources to promote their business activities. Real Sociedad football club also got involved with the Real Sociedad Challenge, which is still ongoing and is looking for young people between the ages of 14 and 18 to design a space for the Reale Arena stadium to draw in fans.

One of the most successful events was ‘Female scientists of yesterday and today’, with talks at the Aquarium followed by almost 700 people. WeekINN also had a space for the challenge of designing the cities of the future in the wake of the pandemic, featuring a number of experts.

Innovation Week came to an end with the DonostiaINN Innovative Company Awards, taken this year by Bunt Planet in the consolidated companies category, and also Viralgen in the young companies category, in acknowledgement of innovation, a global approach, and links to the city. The Donostia International Physics Center took the annual award for people or organisations making significant contributions to the field of research or innovation in our city, in addition to activities with an impact on Donostia’s economy.

All the Innovation Week Videos are still available on its website, and on the YouTube channel WeekINN TV.

WeekINN featured 50 major agents, such as:

Real Sociedad football club, San Sebastián International Film Festival, HABIC, Deusto Forotech, Asociación de Hostelería, FNAC, Biodonostia, Ceit, CIC Biomagune, CIC Nanogune, Deusto Forotech, Donostia International Physics Center, Doplay, Educa Reality, Getin, Grupo Vocento, LAbsLand, Laia, Fisika Zentroa CFM (UPV/EHU CSIC), Opinno, Peritus, Zabala Innovation Consulting, and e-Estonia. Tecnun, Domotek, Easo Politeknikoa, Ekintza, Elhuyar, Eskibel, Fondo Formación Euskadi, Iametza, Ikor, Ikusi, Irisbond, KirolDNA, La Perla, Luana Games, Maraka Materiales, Naru Intelligence, Nazaret Fundazioa, Nuavis, Poymat, SelfCoaching 360, Sinnple, Skootik, St. Patrick’s English School, University of Deusto, UPV/EHU, Vicomtech and Zubiri Manteo.