European cities and regions need to move forward and address issues related to smart innovation and the creation of the right framework and spaces to experiment with more innovation and digital transformation. Digital technologies also offer the opportunity to look for more agile ways to address urban challenges such as rapid prototyping.
Digitalisation as an enabler for diverse societies
The digitalization process operates as a lever, an enabler and a facilitator creating a solid contribution to all the types of societies that we have had and still HAVE today. Inspired about Professor Rolf A Jensen’s book, DREAM Society, we want to conclude that digitalization is a kind of perfect match for all types of “society”.
The digital advantages can be summarized as:
- Increasing density regarding the distribution of knowledge and innovation
- Increasing frequency through the acceleration of iterations for strategic learning in society
- Decreasing frictions in data transfer through speed and volume
Fab Lab Barcelona
The FabLab Barcelona is one of the leading laboratories of this worldwide network. It is currently developing projects in different scales, from smart devices for data collection by individuals, to the development of the new generation of Fab Labs in the Green Fab Lab project or to the new production models for cities with the Fab City project.
The role of Fab Labs
Fab Labs are spreading all across Europe. This makers’ revolution is growing the local innovation ecosystems. Fab Labs were initially created to hack the companies. Nowadays, companies are willing to discover the power of experimentation and are therefore starting to use the concept in companies, to reinvent themselvesand innovate faster. For instance, Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer launch its own Fab Lab called “BizLabs”. BizLabs constitute global aerospace business accelerators where SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs work in close collaboration with and Airbus intrapreneurs in order to turn ideas into innovations. Saint-Gobain, the global leader in the housing and construction markets recently launched its FabLab Factory.
Lack of interest in digital technologies from local businesses
The lack of interest of traditional businesses for digital technologies often results from their lack of awareness on the concrete benefits and opportunities stemming fromdigital transformation. For instance, in the French region Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur less than one SME out of two had a website in 2011. According to a survey, the low proportion of SMEs with a website could be due to the lack of interest of regional SMEs for the creationof awebsite.