Collaborating Towards Tomorrow’s Digital Economy

Conference on the Digital Economy of Tomorrow during Luxembourg’s economic mission to Portgual (Photo © Silicon Luxembourg)

The Portugal – Luxembourg Economic Forum took place on the third day of the mission. Silicon Luxembourg visited the event Digital Economy of Tomorrow and learnt about how businesses in both countries are helping their countries in this transition.

Determined to send the right message at the conference on the Digital Economy of Tomorrow, Tom Theves, chief of cabinet at the economy ministry, started off the event by dazzling the audience with his fluent Portuguese.

Highlighting the importance of having a well developed startup ecosystem which complements the national strategies, he said: “The large startup sector we built up is definitely an essential element of the digitalization of the economy. And these digital developments have always been based on our national strategies.”

“Open For Collaboration”

On a very similar path as Luxembourg, Portugal has also turned its focus to becoming a digital nation. Its high quality of life for expats, beautiful nature and open culture have certainly helped it attract and retain talent. As put it Nuno Martin Cavaco, coordinator of the government initiative Portugal Digital: “one of the key issues for the digital transition of Portugal is talent – which we also have in Portugal”.

With more than 25% of higher education students enrolled in STEM courses, 158 incubators and 17 digital innovation hubs, Portugal is well equipped to take on the challenge of digitalisation. Furthermore, there are plans for 5 high performance computing competency centers as well as 30 test beds for free zones for technology.

Nevertheless, there are more hurdles left to overcome, but “our willingness to learn, connect the dots and be open for collaboration will help us in this process,” concluded Nuno.

From Coideation To Collaboration

Around the world, businesses are dealing with the dual challenge of a digital and ecological transition, all while trying to turn a profit. Few can talk on this topic with as much experience as Rui Miguel Nabeiro, CEO of the famous coffee corporation Grupo Nabeiro.

“For us innovation and sustainability go hand in hand. However, it is important to realise that sustainability includes economic sustainability, without which a business cannot survive,” he said. With the world constantly changing and businesses having to adapt, he recommends working with the principles of “co-ideation, co-operation and co-creation,” all of which emphasise the importance of turning towards your employees and giving them the flexibility and capital to try out new ideas.

Roman Entinger, managing director of Losch Digital Lab, is another authority on this topic. Where Rui Miguel Nabeiro recommends following the three C’s, Entinger recommends “not being afraid to adjust the sails to the blowing winds”. Previously very much a pure automotive company, Losch has successfully navigated the digital transition with a suite of new solutions.

Asked by David Foy, head of Luxinnovation’s international business development, what the urgency for businesses was in the next two years, no one put it more succinctly than Rui Miguel Nabeiro: “We need peace, we need peace to work.”

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