CodeMob final conference in Barcelona

Peter Palvolgyi

On 4-5 October, over 150 participants representing 92 organisations from 26 countries gathered in the beautiful CaixaForum in Barcelona for the 2nd CodeMob multiplier event. The event entitled ‘Digital Skills for Social Innovation’ was hosted by El Teb, in collaboration with Telecentre-Europe, the Generalitat de Catalunya and Esplai Foundation. It was further supported (financially or in-kind) by laCaixa Foundation, City Council of Barcelona, GSMA Mobile World Capital, HP, and Telapolis.


Our participants came from various backgrounds – NGOs, education, public authorities, industry, policy makers and consequently had diverse interests, which we tried to satisfy in the numerous discussions and sessions. We attempted to vary the formats and show the different ways of working with the audience, during both the plenary and group sessions, striving to make the experience as engaging and interactive as possible.


Keynote speakers talked passionately about the power of digital skills to enable civic engagement and social harmony, and how digital social innovation needs to respond to societal needs and can present a wide array of solutions to the pressing problems that citizens face.


The interactive sessions asked delegates to consider how they could use new concepts, platforms and models to better engage or support citizens. Delegates were invited to provide feedback and contribute to developing these new models for digital skills support and delivery, while in networking sessions, new partnerships were conceived and evolved. 


After the plenary sessions the delegates had a chance to explore the different aspects of digital social innovation in the parallel group discussions. 

interactive sessions were followed by the How-to workshops to offer the practical knowledge in a particular topic from how to empower young e-facilitators and enable disadvantaged groups to become prosumers to brining coding to kids and using mobile technology.


On the 2nd day a panel discussion was organised to present and discuss the CodeMob project, where the four experts shared their experiences on the topic and discussed the approaches on how to improve the user engagement and practice. Bastian Pelka (Technical University of Dortmund) moderated the discussion, the four panellists were Esther Subias (Project Manager at El Teb), Zarko Ciszmar (Executive Director of Telecentar), Arthur Serra (Deputy Director of i2cat research center; Vice-President of European Network of Living Labs), and Roxana Rugina (Learning & Development Technology Expert, CEO and founder of Simplon Romania). 


The Project Lightning Talks session was very much appreciated by the participants. Not easy on the presenters, but captivating for the audience, eight different projects (including CodeMob) were showcased in the 5-minute lightning talks of a very strict format with automatically changing slides. The talks were followed by five minutes of questions and answers each, and the audience was quite active. In this session, honest lessons learned were shared and those projects successes celebrated.


All in all, there were two very intensive days of discussions, exploration, discovery, and networking. The second day was concluded with the Innovation tour of the Poblenou district to show how the abandoned dilapidated area turned into the vibrant tech neighbourhood.