Marc Saura: "Andorra has an ecosystem that can quickly adapt to the needs of startups"

Marc Saura: "Andorra has an ecosystem that can quickly adapt to the needs of startups"

Interview with the Secretary of State for Business, Economic Diversification and Innovation on the second anniversary of the launch of Andorra Living Lab


The Andorran Secretary of State for Business, Economic Diversification and Innovation, Marc Saura, assesses the two years of Andorra Living Lab, the country-wide open innovation ecosystem piloted by Andorra Research and Innovation, as a member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).

What is the most valuable use of the Andorra Living Lab?
Andorra Living Lab is the first open innovation ecosystem on a country-scale that promotes coordination, research, design and validation of products and innovation projects. Many companies from all over the continent have been interested and have come to test their innovative products. During these last few years, we have already worked with more than 10 startups or companies that take advantage of the Andorran environment to experiment and develop new services, products and infrastructures, in real environments connected to virtual communities.

What is this environment you are referring to?
It is clear that, in terms of size and resources, Andorra has a lot of challenges in innovation themes with the neighboring countries. For this reason, since the beginning of the Andorra Living Lab, we have sought to focus on those areas in which we can become world leaders, such as sports and the mountains. The main areas explored are mainly those of technology applied to sports, health, and meteorology in high mountain environments. Above all, the collection of data helps to improve the focus of the policies that are applied there.

In the term of Living Labs we talk about quadruple helix, which encompasses the different sectors of the country, public, private, academic and society to provide solutions to the user and the citizen, this academic term, in Andorra we carry it out in our day to day, so we have an agility and adaptability that differentiates us from other actors.

How is it possible to have an impact in these areas with the competence that there must be in these sectors?
Mainly by raising awareness of Andorra Living Lab and the networking services it can offer, bearing in mind that Andorra has an ecosystem that can adapt quickly to the needs of startups. International challenges have been promoted and a network has been established with strategic partners from around the world that help to provide visibility, such as the City Science - Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) or the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP).

How do you value the two years of Andorra Living Lab's collaboration with ENoLL?
Since Andorra Living Lab was certified as a member of the ENoLL network, two years ago, the flow of communication with other organizations has increased, and we have received about twenty project requests and have promoted about ten of them. ENoLL through its trainings, annual summits, matchmake between projects and actors and a wide network of living labs where synergies can be created and gives a differential added value and position in the ecosystem as a Living Lab.

What opportunities has it represented for Andorra to become part of this network?
In Andorra's case, it has been a success to become part of the network, it's been a few years since Andorra has been talked about as a space for co-creation, exploration, testing and experimentation, but being part of the network has allowed us to take a step forward and position ourselves as a national and international reference.