Antoni Garrell: ‘The Technodiseño scheme contributes to regional innovation’

Antoni Garrell: ‘The Technodiseño scheme contributes to regional innovation’


Antoni Garrell is the Director General of the Foundation of Textile Design (FUNDIT) for ESDi and bears overall responsibility for Technodiseño, which is the third scheme of the ININVallès project (in Catalan). He’s an industrial engineer, has a master’s degree in Administration and Management, and pursued doctoral studies in Decision Support Systems. Since 1975, he has led an intense professional life, not just in organizational and strategic consultancy but also in the field of computational technology applied to production, management, marketing and content, which has seen him occupy a variety of positions at companies such as Arthur Andersen, Calfinsa, La Caixa and la Fundación Universidad y Tecnología La Salle, where he was Director General. In addition, he has combined his professional activity with substantial academic work, which has led him to be a member of the board of directors at several companies and recently, within the health sector too. In the following interview, Antoni Garrell explains the main inputs of the project through the lens of the scheme that he is in charge of.


How would you define your scheme in one sentence?

The TECNODISEÑO project aims to create a new concept called ‘Technodesign’, which is understood to be the perfect union of both worlds (technology and design) as complementary components. The main objective is to identify challenges (including for businesses) and innovative ideas for industrial and economic development in the region, through a new space for mobilizing knowledge and talent.

The project primarily seeks to facilitate innovation and consolidate the transformation of the regional production model in the Vallès, in accordance with the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and in a framework for sustainable development. Secondly, it wants to attract and retain talent to encourage competition through open collaborative processes with global influence and with criteria for collaboration across disciplines and sectors. A project which, together with other institutions in Sabadell, has allowed for the creation of a co-working space in the centre of the city, at the heart of the Creativity and Innovation Quarter.


Why is it being done in the ecosystem of the ININVallès project? How does your scheme contribute to the project?

The Vallès region is one of the productive motors of Catalonia, accounting for around 15% of Catalan GDP and an average of 25% of Catalonia’s industrial GVA (Gross Value Added). This is thanks to deep-rooted industries and their intensive technological knowledge and usage, such as in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, in the electrical hardware sector and in manufacturing, including iron, plastics and textiles. The Vallès sits in an advantageous geostrategic position, as illustrated by the B-30 highway, is industrially influential and is among the best in industrial production, with high levels of competition. At the same time, the region is home to a significant amount of universities, research facilities and start-ups, which are key to innovation and the dynamic economy of the future.

The Tecnodiseño scheme contributes to this regional innovation through a competitive and economic transformation of the area in order to spur sustainable economic activity and jobs. It was born out of the desire to position the Vallès as a driving force specialized in industrial systems design and innovation, to nurture innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, to support the discovery of new technologies, new products and services, and to encourage companies and job roles to make a move towards specializing in technodesign. The project grows out of a need to respond to the current challenges of a globalized world which is immersed in a real technological revolution that society is trying to adapt to. A new workspace in Sabadell, 4.0 co-working spaces, which provide an opportunity to meet, interact, collaborate, share with and learn from other professionals. This new reality in the world of work can lead us to be more productive, more competitive and more creative.


How will this scheme benefit local residents, businesses and centers of education?

The Tecnodiseño scheme is focused on the organization, promotion and consolidation of a globally-recognized ecosystem of innovation based on technology and design, in order to boost businesses and attract investment and talent. A ecosystem, a hub of innovation which will allow established businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs, tech hubs, universities, research facilities and investors to cooperate and collaborate. A symbiotic environment that engages governments, public/private organisations, and private enterprise in order to address the challenges of the future while focusing on sustainability, job creation, competition, technological sovereignity, digitalization and the evaluation of advances in science and technology.

Overall, a centre to first and foremost help to revive and recover/improve competition in the Valles’ productive industries in the short to medium term, especially in SMEs and micro-enterprises. Secondly, to accompany them in the medium to long term in the process of innovating, digitalizing and adopting sustainable development habits in the green economy.

How are you going to reach these companies and the whole region?

Through working collaboratively in a physical space with virtual complements; a shared task born out of working together with entrepreneurs, start-ups, businesses and recent graduates who share knowledge, foster corporate synergy, build a community to get results from their work and jointly promote networking. It is an ongoing process with the central goal of stimulating new ideas and helping society and the economy to face the challenges of the future, while at the same time allowing them to identify emerging knowledge and technological innovation everywhere. Subsequently, this creates self-knowledge, with a desire to share it altruistically as well as to promote economic activity to enable the initiative remains viable.

*Interview with Mr. Antoni Garrell for ININVALLÈS