Tobias Haug: 'Barcelona is ready for future challenges'
Tobias Haug, Chief Happiness Officer de SAP
Tobias Haug is a 48-year-old half Northamerican - half German, who was born and raised in the US and who moved to Germany 17 years ago. He is married and has been living now for almost the past couple of years in Barcelona. He is Chief Happiness Officer for SAP, responsible for the location & cultural transformation strategy of SAP Barcelona. Leading the "Humanizing Business" initiative which supports a culture of engaged, empowered, and inspired employees based on "New Work" principles of autonomy, networked organizations, and human connection.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
On a personal level, I think Barcelona is an incredible place to live - international, cultural, and open-minded - it has welcomed us with open arms. Professionally, Barcelona is considered Europe´s innovation hub, and provides a unique location to attract, retain, and grow international talent.
What do you like most about the city?
There is a vibrant collaboration between many segments & dimensions across the city - social, industrial, creative, and governmental - which brings innovation and a feeling of new possibilities. Additionally, Barcelona is moving forward as a "smart & sustainable" city - where the infrastructure is modern, reliable, and increasingly environmentally friendly.
What aspects of the city must be improved? How?
Political stability is needed to drive continued investment in the region, while a strong social network is needed to increase the psychological safety needed for innovation. Barcelona needs to find more stable ways to ensure that the entire population - not just the privileged classes - benefit from its successes.
Which are the city's strengths that will allow it to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
The city has many advocates who are collaborating remarkably well under such extreme circumstances - and this shows the power available to Barcelona to tackle future challenges, given that the spirit of collaboration & unity of focus can be maintained. It is inspiring to see true "network thinking" at play - and it shows that Barcelona can make it happen!
What other challenges do you think the city will face once the health crisis is over?
Barcelona needs a renewed focus on creating socially equitable stability plans to manage the (hopefully) short-term impact on the tourism sector - which not only has been hit hard by the crisis but also provides an important basis for Barcelona´s attraction. I hope that Barcelona uses the crisis to re-shift priorities towards a more environmental and socially balanced future, creating job opportunities and infrastructures that are future proof.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
Barcelona must be a role model for inclusion in the coming years, smart internationalization, and striking a balance between environmental & economic priorities. The Covid-19 crisis can be used as a pivot point to make needed adjustments in a social, sustainable, and collaborative way.
Which city do you feel is "your" city? What do you miss most?
Barcelona is definitely "our city”, and my wife and I cannot imagine being happier somewhere else. What I miss are supportive structures around sustainability - encouraging investment in solar energy, better insulation, and modern building codes. Other than that - I do miss some good southern BBQ!