Cristina Colom, head of Mobile Week at Mobile World Capital Barcelona
This year’s Mobile Week Barcelona edition, the sixth, was the most participative and collaborative so far, gathering more than 40 local social, economic and academic institutions in a context of big societal challenges with technology playing an increasingly relevant role: from the global pandemic to the terrible war in Ukraine, extraordinary situations have highlighted the great challenges that define the digital emergency in which we live. Hence Mobile Week’s drive to become the space where citizens and technology connect, which has been achieved thanks to plus 4,500 Barcelona residents which took part in the sixty activities carried out in this edition. 200 hours of learning, debate, reflection, workshops and games by 80 speakers and 40 collaborating local institutions, in a decentralized programming, free and for all ages.
It has been six years since the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation launched this event together with the Barcelona City Council, with the purpose of building a bridge between MWC Barcelona and the people living in the city. Inspiring, debating and experimenting were the means to raise awareness and to first-hand understand the forms, advantages and challenges that technology poses to our lives. Mobile Week has proven essential in order to provide citizens with the necessary tools for acquiring digital literacy skills, learn and raise awareness about the risks involved, as well as developing the critical thinking that allows to safe and independently navigate the digital environment. For we are all citizens and we must promote an inclusive and accessible future for each and all of us; especially for those affected by digital gaps, which end up excluded not just in the digital world but in society as a whole as the latter becomes increasingly digital. For that, we need to attack the root causes and train citizens in digital skills in suitable ways so that we can prepare society for a digital and hyperconnected future. A future that will require from citizens the digital skills to communicate, interact, commute and carry out administrative tasks, among others. Hence the importance of initiatives such as Mobile Week, where citizens and technology connect and where bridges are built.
This edition has focused on three areas aligned with the above mentioned that are becoming increasingly relevant: the protection and promotion of digital rights as well as how to guarantee digital professional skilling -with special emphasis on STEAM in adolescence (Science, Technology, Engineering, Graphic Arts and Mathematics); the link between misinformation and culture; and creativity and entertainment with new digital media such as augmented reality or the metaverse. In addition, this year an special effort has been made in order to reach SMEs and self-employed professionals, with the celebration of an SME’s Day in which personalized advice and tools were provided in order to design a digitization and a digital inclusion plan or asses the risks of going online.
In times of accelerated technological transformation, highlighting the benefits of public-private collaboration is key; this edition of Mobile Week Barcelona saw different institutions, companies, universities, academic and research centers, foundations and other city key actors join and share knowledge and experiences. Thanks to all those involved Mobile Week is a bigger, more enriching, more powerful space with a bigger scope. Trustees such as CaixaBank, Damm and Fundación Vodafone, who share the values and objectives of Mobile week, have once again shown their commitment and supported the initiative.
Mobile Week Barcelona was the kickoff event in a year where the Mobile Week project expects to consolidate and grow. Over the coming weeks and until the end of May, the Generalitat de Catalunya and16 municipalities and territories will take over with the celebration of Mobile Week Catalunya.
Now is the time to join forces and promote cooperation; we must continue to strive for and train leaders and professionals in a more humanistic vision of their activities, instilling a people centered business culture in this technological revolution and promoting values such as knowledge, trust, and transparency.
Mobile Week is a call for action and involvement to all meaningful actors, a call to contribute in the field of technology and society. This is a fundamental step in order to be able to reach citizens amidst all the diverse lines of thought and work that currently exist. Working together is essential to move forward towards a more fair, equitable and inclusive society, engaging the true protagonists of the future of the digital age: the people.