Tenth anniversary FPdGi, FPdGi Awards

The Princess of Girona Foundation consolidates its talent community

More than 800 young people and professionals took part in the second day of the Foundation’s tenth anniversary commemorative events


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The Princess of Girona Foundation today held the second day of activities to mark its 10th anniversary with a workshop especially designed for young people which aimed to consolidate and promote a large and important talent community. Workshops, talks and presentations in different formats, with renowned national and international experts, filled the morning at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya under the title ‘Talent attracts talent’. The day’s activities were once again presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen, in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Princess of Asturias and of Girona and Infanta Sofía.

After this year’s Awards ceremony yesterday evening, at a gala attended by almost 1,500 people, today’s sessions kicked off with a speech by the president of the Foundation, Francisco Belil, who reiterated the Foundation’s firm belief in the “vital role of young people in driving innovation and the transformation of society”. He also reminded the audience that the FPdGi offers “a space of opportunities for young people to lead the small and great improvements that will bring about this transformation”.

The day’s activities focused on fostering and promoting talent through debate and reflection. Role models, leadership, social values and critical thinking were the recurring themes of this celebration. The event included various talks, workshopsand meetings attended by almost 800 young people and professionals from the companies and other organisations that work with the Foundation. The goal was to provide young people with the tools and knowledge that will allow them to strengthen their professional and individual capacity, as well as foster values in them that will help to improve the society we live in.

After the initial plenary session in which some of the trustees, award winners and young people involved in the Foundation’s programmes discussed the biggest challenges facing the youth of today in a debate led by Julia Otero, the attendees chose from a varied selection of talks and workshopsdelivered by Pilar Jericó, Manuel Campo Vidal, Alberto Cairo, Beatriz Martín Padura, Julio Montes, Álex López, Javier Cañada, José Conejos, Marta Romo, Ana Torres andXavier Verdaguer, offering three hours of training and networking.

Intergenerational meeting of talent with Julia Otero
Participating in ‘Generations on stage: Experience and courage’, led by journalist Julia Otero, were Josep Oliu from Banc Sabadell, Ángel Simón from Agbar Group, Ana Vallés from the Sorigué Foundation, Concha Yoldi from the Persán Foundation and Juan Pedro Moreno from Accenture —all of them Foundation trustees—; Borja Ibáñez (2010 FPdGi Scientific Research Award), Javier Agüera (2012 Business Award), Samuel Sánchez (2015 Scientific Research Award), Héctor Colunga (2015 Social Award) and Elena Medel (2016 Arts and Literature Award) and young people Ming-ya Wang, Alejandra Acosta, Juan A. González, Lucía González and Alejandro Briceño.

The 15 participants discussed forward-looking ideas concerning some of the pressing issues facing today’s society: education for young people, employment, climate change, sustainability, social engagement, culture... Each participant contributed recipes for triggering future change: university education should be more focused on the job market for young people; it is enriching for talent to travel outside of Spain, but we must also be capable of importing foreign talent; each individual is a product that must be developed to its highest potential; empathy, creativity and imagination are essential for success; talent matures with time and effort; we all share a responsibility to give the best of ourselves so that we can live in a better world; critical thinking is the best culture and we are not going to move forward without cooperation. As Alejandra Acosta concluded: "Commitment to real, strategic change must be intergenerational, by everyone, not just young people".

Entrepreneurial challenge: innovative ideas to tackle climate change
The entrepreneurship workshop led by entrepreneur Xavier Verdaguer —creator of the Imagine Creativity Center— set the challenge for the more than 60 participants of coming up with “feasible proposals” to reverse the climate crisis affecting the world and its consequences. The participants, working in teams and using Verdaguer’s Lombard problem-solving methodology, thought up various innovative projects to provide solutions and stop climate change.

The Royal family joined two of the teams, generating ideas together with the other participants. The jury then chose the most innovative proposal, which was suggested by the educational expert from Barcelona Montserrat Martin and strategic consultant from Madrid Ignacio Álvarez. Their project consisted of creating a folding shopping trolley with various different compartments that could be used to buy products ‘loose’, thereby eliminating the need for plastic packaging and containers.

Nurturing networks as an “incredible investment” against the digitisation of emotions
In the workshop‘How to manage your brand better on social networks by dedicating just the right amount of time’, Álex López stressed the importance of social networks for building our own brand. It is undeniable that social platforms as a communication channel are demonstrably more effective than others, a fact that more than 3.2 billion people all over the world would attest to. But many of us believe that we need to dedicate a lot of time to managing this resource.

“The brand that will accompany you in the coming years is an incredible investment”, explained López, a top-ten global influencer on social selling. Along the same lines, and focusing on the social community LinkedIn —where he manages two communities with more than 14,000 users in each—, he encouraged the participants to “persevere and change their mindset” as “if we don’t use social networks, we have a problem”. Therefore, it is essential to have a strategy, an action plan that allows us to manage and optimise our time on digital media.

In turn, designer Javier Cañada is now dedicated to finding the way to evoke our emotions and memories digitally, by reproducing perceptions. This pioneer in digital projects delivered the workshop ‘Designing to evoke memories and emotions’, in which he asked “What emotion did you feel when smelling a pencil? Where did that feeling take you? What did you remember? “The word ‘remember’ in Latin means ‘return to the heart’”. Cañada emphasised that we should recall our emotions, and not just the good ones, saying: “Smelling aviation fuel could provoke an uncomfortable feeling”.

Javier Cañada is the director and founder of the Tramontana Institute and believes that it is possible to create evocative products. He has worked on strategic projects for global organisations and start-upsand has trained some of Spain’s leading designers.

Communication and the information perspective
Another three workshops encouraged young people to look beyond publications to apply critical thinking and avoid misinformation. The sessions entitled ‘How graphics lie to us’, ‘Critical thought and information’ and ‘Practical steps towards a more critical youth’ discussed the validity and verification of the information published in the media and on social networks.

The impact of maps, statistical graphics and infographics was explained by Alberto Cairo, educator, designer and consultant in the field of infographics and data visualisation, and Xaquín G. V., a journalist who is an expert in data visualisation and journalism as well as new digital formats. According to Cairo, “This type of information has a dark side because it makes the message more persuasive, even though it is not well understood. We unconsciously believe that numbers are objective and present reality”.

The ‘Critical thought and information’ workshop dealt with media literacy competences and how to develop critical thinking through interventions by Beatriz Martín Padura, general manager of FAD; Hernán Zin, war correspondent, writer and short-film director; Andrés Jiménez, journalist for Maldita.es, and Antonio Vargas, Public Policy manager for Google Spain and Portugal.

“This generation has access to more information than ever before, but we must use it responsibly. All the messages that try to cause division have to be ignored”, said Hernán Zin. The workshop also provided practical advice on fact checkingto separate useful and correct information from fake news.

In another similar workshop, ‘Practical steps towards a more critical youth’, Beatriz Martín Padura, Antonio Vargas and televisionpresenter Carlos Beltrán talked about the “contamination of information: we are more sensitive to hoaxes”. Through the (In)fórmate project, an initiative launched by Google, FAD and the Spanish government, these experts teach young people that “intelligence is the key to critical thinking and it is important to have a healthy curiosity about things”.

In addition, Manuel Campo Vidal and Daniel Rodríguez gave a talk entitled ‘You are what you communicate’. These two communication professionals explained that we do not give this area the importance it deserves and it is worth learning how to formulate our messages in simpler, more effective ways. Campo Vidal believes that “communication is a gift and gifts have to be wrapped up neatly at the beginning and the end”, referring to public speaking. This talk also covered the “deadly sins committed by public speakers” who do not know how to use tempo, voice and order in their messages, and offered practical advice on how to communicate effectively.

How to influence people: leaders of the future
Knowing how to lead oneself is the key to leading others. This basic concept of leadership was emphasised in two more of this morning’s activities. The ‘Junior leadership campus’ programme, with chemical engineer Alejandro Briceño, industrial engineer Juan Antonio González, and Ana Torres Damases, promoted the principles of leadership and presented tools to help us take responsibility for change, such as appreciative inquiry.

In turn, coach José Conejos, with more than 25 years’ experience in HR management and leadership positions, led the workshop ‘Strengthen your ability to influence others’. Conejos believes that the ability to have a positive impact on others is not something that just a few lucky people are born with: it is a skill that we can all develop if we are given the keys to acquiring it.

‘Boost your talent’ with Pilar Jericó
Pilar Jericó, president of Be-Up, writer and recognised as one of the Top Female Leaders in Spain, urged the participants in this workshop to accept their mistakes, channel negative emotions caused by rejection, failure, loss of influence… In other words, to overcome their fears.

Jericó has shared her experience in several books, such as the bestseller No Miedo (‘No Fear’), and inspired the attendees with her scientific essays demonstrating that “effort is more valuable than intelligence”, which means that everyone can make their dreams come true if they really work hard and know how to define exactly what they want and focus on achieving that goal.

Jess Wade: “You can change the world, but you must want to change it”
A magical conversation between illusionist Jorge Luengo and British physicist Jess Wade brought the Foundation’s 10th anniversary celebrations to a close. Wade, international award winner and one of today’s most unique scientists who is firmly committed to inclusion and diversity in the sciences, emphasised the power of each individual to change their environment. “I believe that everybody can have a huge impact, even those who do not feel very powerful”.

Summing up at the end of the interview, engineer and illusionist Jorge Luengo reminded the audience that Wade’s message is categorical: “You can change the world, but you must want to change it, and have clear objectives”. To conclude, both highlighted the importance of the Princess of Girona Foundation’s Awards and of young people to build a better future for everyone.

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