RING, RING, RING

Spain 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

MWCapital Barcelona wants to become the most dynamic and impactful event regarding technology and transformation. But it also wants to help create and innovate mobile technology that improves people's lives.

Carlos Grau
BIOGRAPHY

With an industrial engineering degree from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and a graduate of the Direct Development Program (PDD) by the IESE Business School, Carlos Grau has had a long career in the field of communication and information technologies, as well as in the development of digital business. After holding various sales and marketing management positions in companies in the ICT sector such as Hewlett-Packard and Telefonica, Grau joined Microsoft as general manager in Catalonia. In November 2017, Grau was appointed CEO of MWCapital.

Can you give us an introduction to the company?
We are a young foundation that started in 2014 as a public-private partnership (PPP) led by GSMA. On our board we have the three public-sector entities: the Spanish government, the Catalan government, and Barcelona City Hall. We also work with Fira de Barcelona, the entity that manages events and conferences in the city. We have also opened the foundation to private companies, with large telco carriers such as Telefonica, Vodafone, and Orange, in addition to Damm and CaixaBank being on our board. We have two major objectives. The first is to contribute to make MWCapital Barcelona the most dynamic and impactful event regarding technology and transformation. The event generates synergies and opportunities that contribute directly to the digital hub in Barcelona, acting as a vehicle to generate the conditions that attract senior executives from large to the city. Our second goal is to leave a legacy of mobile technology in our society that improves people's lives. To this end, MWCapital focuses on four areas: the acceleration of innovation through digital entrepreneurship, the transformation of industries through digital technology, the rise of digital talent among new generations and professionals, and the reflection on the impact of technology in our society. Collectively, our programs are positively transforming the economy, education, and society.

How do you work to foster technological talent in Barcelona?
We built Barcelona Digital Talent, an alliance with public and private entities that coordinates initiatives under a common strategy and promotes new projects to foster talent. The program ensures the alignment between the needs of companies and digital talent initiatives, helps citizens to develop new digital skills, and positions Barcelona as a global digital talent capital in Europe. This also means helping people from abroad to find great job opportunities in the new digital space in Barcelona. It is urgent to upskill people from other industries that generates less employment than the digital economy. The first aim is to reduce the gap between the demand for talent and our offerings today in universities, vocational training, academies, and so on. It is important that the public sector plays a key role here. One of the things we need to solve is the express visa for digital talent through simplifying the process, thus lowering the cost of attracting international talent.

How do you address the reluctance to change based on ethics and regulation concerns?
The only way is to bring about scenarios and agreements that give everyone security through the good use of technology. Technology is agnostic, and it must be seen as an acceleration tool that generates opportunities. The challenge is that the speed, deployment, and use of technology, especially in terms of disruption, is always faster than we estimate. That is why we created Digital Future Society, a program promoted by the Ministry of Economy and Business and MWCapital that analyzes the impact of technology on society and the economy.

What is your main objective for 2020?
We want to take a step forward to build conditions to ensure MWCapital is impactful. But our main objective is always to drive the digital advancement of society while helping improve people's lives globally. We will continue focusing on the acceleration of innovation, the transformation of industries through digital technology, the rise of digital talent, and the reflection on the impact of technology in our society. In 2020, we also have an ambitious project: Digital Future Society is preparing a world summit on technological governance to be held in Barcelona. Its goal is to analyze the major challenges raised by technological transformation, to establish recommendations, and to seek public and private commitment to promote better governance of the digital future and thus build a more inclusive, fair, and sustainable society.