In a world that continues to evolve thanks to digital technologies, is fundamental to invest in those talents that are able to accommodate digital transformation and in possession of the entrepreneurial spirit that allow to promote the technological changes that are taking place.
For this to happen, special spaces where these talented people can come together, exchange ideas and promote technological change in the local area are emerging.
Let’s discover the inspiring world of innovation hubs.
What are Innovation Hubs?
They can be defined as talent aggregators with a strong presence in the territory that develop with the aim of promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, research and development by fostering the synergy among research centers, local authorities, universities, companies and investors and by activating training paths that allow to help all those who are interested to keep up with the times, from students to established entrepreneurs.
These are therefore stimulating places where it is possible to activate a contamination of ideas that allow to develop new business opportunities. According to research conducted by Eurostat, only one in five companies in Europe is highly digitised. These centers, dedicated to innovation, put their full potential at stake with the aim to reduce this gap.
Their field of action can also cover all the changes needed to transform their city into a smart city: an intelligent city able to develop sustainably thanks to the use of technological and digital innovations.
Another universe of reference is that of startups. Many innovation hubs provide startuppers with physical spaces to outline their innovative projects and, in some cases, they act as a point of contact between the companies that are willing to grow and the possible investors, acting as incubators.
The importance of relationships in promoting innovation
The innovation hubs welcome all those who have an entrepreneurial mindset oriented to the future and always up to date on the latest news in research and development. One of the main goals of these places is to promote an idea of a sustainable digital innovation.
The synergy and collaboration between the parties is essential to achieve a positive impact in the territory (and beyond). It can be said that this set of networks, links and connections reflects the structure of the web, with the advantage of enhancing even more a fundamental component: that of the relationship, which is undertaken and consolidated through collaboration, meetings and exchanges of ideas of the various actors in the field. In an ever-changing world, in fact, relationships are a reference point to rely on and they are acquiring more and more value.
Big cities have a strong attractive power, and it is easy to understand why:
Places like San Francisco, New York and Stockholm offer exemplary insights. Let’s find out why.
San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is extremely active in the innovation field. Silicon Valley, headquarters of tech giants such as Alphabet (Google), Uber and AirBnb, is full of research and development (R&D) laboratories specialised in technology. Tech-driven business opportunities are very high. Examples include the San Francisco innovation hub and Enel’s Hub Silicon Valley.
On the other side of the United States, in what has been called “Silicon Alley”, New York is the leader in blockchain, favored in the implementation of new technologies by its intellectual identity and its extensive wireless connectivity, present in every corner of the city. It is in New York that there are places like EDC, whose main goals are to help disadvantaged people to achieve job success and to promote technological innovation.
In Europe and second only to Silicon Valley, Stockholm is the city that has produced successful examples such as Spotify and Skype and that continues to invest in emerging startup realities. Stockholm’s success is due to the national government’s support for both entrepreneurship and young people (and beyond), making the access to the University free for all.
The ones just mentioned are successful examples that have brought positive changes within their field of action, creating jobs, fostering dialogue between universities, businesses, investors and more, and implementing new technologies to improve people’s lives.
IHCT: how to promote entrepreneurship, research and development in Sicily
Following the example of San Francisco, New York and Stockholm, similar realities are also beginning to develop in cities such as Milan, Turin and Rome. What can be said about Sicily?
The Innovation Hub Catania, or IHCT, it is a non-profit organisation that operates on two sides: that one in the south of Mount Etna and that one related to the promotion of digital innovation in the island. The ecosystem around which the IHCT revolves has allowed to carry out several projects, that have different points in common: pro-European sentiment, the promotion of youth entrepreneurship and the use of digital technologies. The projects carried out by the IHCT aim to strengthen the synergy between universities and businesses by encouraging the employment of young people who, as digital natives, can offer their potential to help companies and local authorities to address digital transformation.
In addition to projects, IHCT often organises events to promote digital innovation and contamination of ideas.
The innovation hubs allow to connect different realities and they deal mainly with:
Paradigmatic in Sicily is the IHCT, the center dedicated to innovation based in Catania. Similar places are finally taking hold in Europe and throughout Italy and they will have, for sure, a positive impact on the territory.