News: Speaking at 7th Workshop Cultural Heritage + Digitalization, Gdansk (Poland)


I have recently presented key findings from Economía Creativa research Project ‘Cultural Heritage Innovative Audience Development best practices’ – with focus on Baltic context at 7th Strategic Development Workshop – focus on Cultural Heritage & Digitalization organized by Ministry of Culture – Poland and EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in cooperation with the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat  and the Baltic Region Heritage Committee, that has been held in Gdansk, Poland, 8-9 March 2018.

The workshop has been especially dedicated for existing and emerging projects and project managers who are interested in developing their project’s ideas, acquiring new project partners, connecting projects with similar ideas and/or gaining the flagship status as it defined in the Action Plan for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Región.

I have presented Twelve best practices from twelve European countries, including project from Baltic Sea Region (Poland, Sweden and Germany) and projects from other European Countries that can provide insight and inspiration for the cultural heritage in the Baltic context (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, UK, Romania, Czech Republic, Greece and Hungary). On the following teaser video created by Justyna Molendowska-Ruiz are summarized the 12 best practices:

The best practices identified provide a rich insight into how cultural heritage can empower endogenous development, community and territory integration, generate employment and harness entrepreneurship opportunities, once being a source for non-formal and informal learning and enhancing intergenerational exchange and dialogue between local citizens and tourists. The best practices identified provide a rich insight into how cultural heritage can empower endogenous development, community and territory integration, generate employment and harness entrepreneurship opportunities, once being a source for non-formal and informal learning and enhancing intergenerational exchange and dialogue between local citizens and tourists.




Interactive Innovation for Tourism & Sustainable Development

EU Industry Day Tourism

On 22nd February I took part in the workshop “Investing in the European Tourism of Tomorrow” organized by NECSTouR which gathered at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels, the Digitalisation and Safety for Tourism partnership and some of the main Tourism stakeholders in the framework of the European Industry Day.

Mr Patrick Torrent, President of NECSTouR, reflected on what are the 3 key elements of the Tourism of Tomorrow? On the view of NECSTour he pointed out three key future areas: resilience, digitalization and sustainability.

During the workshop and also in social networks (particularly Twitter) took place an intense debate on building public-private investment to boost tourism business resilience, harnessing skills development in the sector and entrepreneurship. Digitalization is seen as the key driver of the investment linked to cross-cutting research & innovation to solve tourism challenges.

On my view, the opportunity for coming years for Tourism investment resides on enhancing synergies with cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder perspective making partnerships with technology sector, creative industries and startups.

The Tourism sector is in a ‘cross-road’ and in order to tackle the challenges that is already facing (the future is now) has to undertake an open innovation process and focus on rediscovering the very idea of ‘travel’ for the XXI century tourist.

This process requires innovation brokers to make possible an interactive innovation and effective cooperation among multiple stakeholders (Tourism Boards, City Halls, Tourism Associations, Local Citizens Associations, Creative Industries, Startup Hubs, etc.), citizens and tourists and capacity building facilitators for the skill development needed (particularly on digitalization, audience development and destination branding, experience design) to co-build ‘creative tourism’ strategies able to deliver sustainable and inclusive development for local economies and for its people.

Economía Creativa has a key expertise (impact studies, research and capacity building) on creative tourism, audience development and storytelling applied to culturla and creative tourism

In praise of a Pan-European Ecosystem for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Declaration Jan

On this year’s World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, the WEF’s Digital Leaders of Europe –a network of digital experts and start-up ecosystem buildiers from the public and private sector across Europe has published a Declaration on a pan-European Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (work in progress, to be further discussed and refined during the Startup Europe Week 2018. The full declaration can be accessed on:

The Declaration, which I fully support, contains the following 9 points:

1. Switch from a local to a pan-European approach

2. Increase collaboration between start-ups and corporates

3. Foster European venture capital markets

4. Encourage the public sector to be an innovation role model

5. Support maximum access to data, protecting only what needs to be protected

6. Build a world-class talent pool, foster mobility, and attract international talent

7. Boost digital education and upskilling

8. Build on inclusivity and leverage diversity in Europe’s innovation landscape

9. Address shortcomings in Europe’s infrastructure and boost interoperability

The nine points cover comprehensively the key barriers, challenges and opportunities to harness the development of a pan-European innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Indeed it is essential to switch from a local perspective to a pan-European approach; even more, to a global approach. The Declaration states that “Entrepreneurs often start in a local context, but need to move to develop their capabilities” and also on point 6 emphasizes the need to foster mobility and attract international talent. Despite the importance of entrepreneurs mobility for improving their capabilities, it is essential to develop a pan-European/Global mindset among entrepreneurs and start-up founders that will enable them to conceive pan-European business models, to identify needs, to have a regular exchange in a daily basis at pan-European level.

There are already many entrepreneurs and startups who have this vision; I am, modestly, among them; since the moment I have startup Economía Creativa I chosen the domain .eu; on a regular week I have interaction by email, video-conference, Facebook, etc. with colleagues from around Europe and beyond for co-creating projects and developing partnerships; I have delivered field work, workshops, conferences and labs in many European countries.

However the lack of a pan-European legal framework, together with the not real existence of a EU Single Market in terms of banking and venture capital are important barriers to overcome. In order to develop a pan-European innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem is a necessary condition to create a pan-European framework for entrepreneurs and startups that will provide a social security, equality in terms of taxation (at the moment, a freelance from Spain pays considerably more taxes than a freelance from the UK or Slovenia), and be inclusive in terms of gender and social background, creating an ecosystem in which the driver would be the talent and not just the social class of origin or the contacts.

The declaration also highlights the need of Increasing collaboration between start-ups and corporates ‘establish European funds or tax incentives for pilots between startups and corporates’. I have already written about the need of increasing collaboration between startups and corporates on my post in July 2017 ‘Harnessing innovation culture at corporations’ However, I suggest that the Declaration should also include on this point more accessibility of European Funds for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial projects (not only for start-ups); and similar for the tax incentives, which should be extensive also to Corporations and SMEs who hire entrepreneurs/freelancers on innovative projects.

This Declaration of the WEF’s Digital Leaders of Europe represents a great step towards a pan-European innovation and entreprenearship ecosystem. Since it is a work in progress it would be a great opportunity to open a call for proposals / recommendations from entrepreneurs, startups and public sector involve in the promotion of entrepreneurial ecosystem from across Europe. I look forward to it!

News: Economía Creativa 2017 journey – Happy New Year 2018!

We have just released a video with Economía Creativa Highlights on 2017 and to thank you for your support and co-creating with us an amazing year! We wish you a happy and creative 2017 full of successful projects!!

Economia Creativa 2017 journey

News: Taking part at European Creative Industries Summit and EU Social Investment High level meeting in Brussels 

On 27 November I have had an intensive amd fruitful Agenda in Brussels. In the morning I have attended the High Level Conference on “the EU Investment Plan: investing in social care and support” organized by European Policy Centre (EPC) and European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), bringing together investors, social services, public authorities and policy-makers. The Conference aimed to address the current underinvestment into social care and support infrastructure throughout the European Union. 

Opening the Conference, Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council and President of EPC, stated that “Europe is poorly prepared to face the investment gap in social care and support” and called for “collective solutions to be developed”. In response, Jim Crowe, President of EASPD, highlited the need for the “creation of a European Strategy for Quality Social Infrastructure”.

In the afternoon I joined the 7th European Creative Industries Summit in which I represented Economía Creativa. The Summit which has comgregated leaders from EU Institutions, Creative Agencies and Hubs, Entrepreneurs and Policy makers from Germany, Austria, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Spain, amomg other EU countries, focused on the trends and opportunities for cooperation both cross-countries and across fields. 

News: Speaking at Cultour+ International Conference on Cultural & Tourism Management in Italy


Cultour Conference Antonio Carlos Ruiz Jusytna Molendowska-Ruiz Economia Creativa.jpgI have presented the scientific contribution ‘Creative storytelling for European Pilgrimage Routes’ Audience Development’ at Cultour International Conference Cultural Management and Governance for European Pilgrimage Routes and Heritage Tourism held in Cori, Italy, 3-4 November 2017 in the framework of a cross-countries Eurasmus Plus Project, co-funded by European Commission.

European Pilgrimage routes are a unique intangible cultural heritage; a source of territorial cohesion; a bridge for mutual understanding and self-discovery; they represent an asset for sustainable tourism and preserving the environment. They have multiple significances (religious, cultural, historical) and impacts on economic, social and cultural development.
On this context, regions, tourism boards and other stakeholders involved in the promotion and preservation of pilgrimage routes have the opportunity of developing pilgrimage routes’ audience, communicating and engaging with pilgrims and wider audience to promote them as sustainable tourism and development catalyst.
This contribution aims to present a model to apply audience development methodology for European pilgrimage routes audience development, drawing on the literature on storytelling as well as theory on creative economy, platform and transformation economy. This methodology is based on establishing a Route/Destination Storytelling Stakeholders Network (DSSN) in which stakeholders from tourism sector involved on the promotion/management of the European Pilgrimage route, both public and private, are to be represented together with actors from creative industries, ICT, researchers, scientific, artists and local inhabitants. The DSSN will consits on a web 3.0 platform and will combine both offline and online activities