Xavier Verdaguer, Founder and CEO of Imagine Creativity Center
What does the company specialize in?
Imagine is an innovation center based in California's Silicon Valley. It offers open innovation programs for companies in all sectors as well as programs to promote entrepreneurship among young people.
When did you start to work in this company?
I founded the company myself in San Francisco in July 2011, with the support of a group of entrepreneurs from Barcelona. Since then, we have undertaken more than 40 innovation journeys and run more than 100 entrepreneurship competitions, involving over 25,000 people.
What do you like most about your job?
Traveling, starting new projects, and learning together with a highly diverse range of people in a variety of different countries and continents.
And what do you like least?
Fundraising and sales. We don’t have a commercial department because we devote all our energy to running our projects.
What do you think makes your company special?
In Lombard's own innovation methodology of design doing, which allows for highly innovative solutions to be obtained to challenges of all kinds. The Lombard methodology is based on the principles of design thinking but with the incorporation of techniques and tools more typical of the world of entrepreneurship which is where we come from. Also noteworthy is the generation of radical entrepreneurial experiences through innovation trips with disciplinary teams, such as those that we make by travelling through Europe on a train converted into an innovation centre, or the programme that travels through Latin America by land, sea and air.
What is your main challenge?
Scaling up our business model without sacrificing personalized attention and close relationships with those involved.
Where is your company located? Do you know why this place was chosen?
Imagine has always had one foot in San Francisco and one in Barcelona. We have also built innovation and entrepreneurship bridges built between Barcelona and Medellin, Paris, Miami, Boston, Santiago de Chile, Nairobi, and Tokyo, amongst others.
What do you like most about the neighborhood in which you work?
Imagine's headquarters in Barcelona are located in the Gothic Quarter. We love the history of the neighborhood, the diversity of the people, and the creative spaces in which we work.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
Imagine is inconceivable without Barcelona. Barcelona brings us creativity and our wish is to bring innovation to Barcelona.
Which cities would you compare Barcelona to?
San Francisco. The two cities have a lot of features in common, and they are the cities in which Imagine does most of its business.
Which other cities should Barcelona model itself on?
Boston, because it has an entrepreneurial ecosystem nurtured by research that is largely focused on business and on making a difference in society.
Which practices in other cities could Barcelona learn from?
I’d like to see Barcelona adopt the audacity shown by the San Francisco authorities in promoting initiatives to foment the sharing and circular economies.
What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
I believe that Barcelona has the potential to become the world's leading hub for social innovation. I would urge Barcelona and all the organizations and people who are part of the city to be bold and to commit to a socially innovative Barcelona. This would position us as leaders in the resolution of social problems, which, apart from the fight against climate change, represent the most urgent challenges facing humanity.