Juan Pedro Moreno

President of Accenture—Spain, Portugal & Israel

“Innovation has to be applied in those sectors where we are at the cutting edge. For a start, tourism, banking, and textiles”

Have we emerged from the crisis?

We have experienced many crises at the same time: the economic crisis, the financial crisis, a crisis of territory and state organization, and the current crisis of values. We have emerged from the financial crisis pretty well. We are currently making our way out of the economic crisis and it is likely we’ll do so with flying colours. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go to overcome the political crisis, the crisis of territorial organization of the state and, most probably, the crisis of values too.

What is the most important advice you give to your clients these days?

I tell them that, regardless of the political situation— which can generate uncertainty—they should focus on the three most robust elements of the current economy, which allow us to contribute to our country’s development. First, they have to be capable of fine-tuning their competitiveness, and adjusting operational models and cost structures to suit new needs. Second, companies must consolidate the international expansion that has been strengthening them in a tremendously positive way. Third, they must participate in a digital transformation that is not only to do with the internal operations of our clients but also with responding to the needs of new consumers.

How can we make the leap in innovation that this country needs, both in terms of companies and their people?

We talk a lot in Spain about whether the state should contribute money to innovation. But what it really has to do is increase flexibility when it comes to generating nodes and innovation capabilities. I see this happening in three different scenarios. First of all, given that we are in the twenty-first century, our university system’s structure is incomprehensible and must undergo a drastic transformation. Second, certain elements are required to ensure that these innovative companies can grow. Many people suggest that it comes down to money, but at this moment in time we are not short of either public or private funds. Innovating and creating a start-up isn’t that difficult: the really tricky thing is ensuring its sustainability over the long term. The third pillar of innovation is the creation of regional ecosystems in our country so that small and large companies, both public and private, can collaborate on joint initiatives and specializations that attract talent, creating communities of talent and innovation that work together. This is the secret to growth.

What sectors do you see as being the most promising in Spain?

Innovation has to be applied in sectors where we are at the cutting edge. Some of these sectors need to undergo a transformation—digital or otherwise—and undertake some significant innovation. They have formidable growth capacity and international projection. These sectors include tourism, as well as the financial sector, famous worldwide for its capacity to resist the crisis and reinvent itself. It is also known for the commercial management models it applies to high street banking, which we have been able to export to the rest of the world. Then there is the textiles sector, where Spain has always been strong and has demonstrated that innovation holds the answer to growth. Finally, the areas of transport and leisure management, strongly linked to tourism, are also significant. Of course, we also have to make efforts to compete in all other areas. No matter how much we might deny it, Spain has a cutting-edge health sector where innovations can also be put to good use.