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This community of experts took part in various activities within the framework of Zigurat Student Week 2022, from 25 to 29 July, at the Zigurat headquarters and at the Instituto de Formación Continua IL3 of Barcelona.

Between the 25th and 29th of July 2022, 150 professionals of more than 50 nationalities attended the Zigurat Student Week 2022 in Barcelona. They were students, graduates and professors of Zigurat Global Institute of Technology, who went beyond the screens and met face to face to get to know each other, exchange ideas, nurture their networking and participate in various activities throughout the week.

The event kicked off with a motivational talk by Jürgen Salenbacher, an international consultant and coach with extensive experience in education, design and business. The expert inspired attendees with a powerful speech on how to catalyse change and transformation in today’s times, emphasising the habits we can cultivate to break through distractions and achieve true transformation on a personal and professional level. For example: focusing on people, learning to decentralise authority, investing in continuous learning and paying attention to the design of physical space and its impact on our mental performance.

Attendees also participated in Design Thinking workshops developed in conjunction with the [email protected] BCN, where they devised innovative solutions to address the main challenges in Innovation and Sustainability in the [email protected] district, a thriving technology hub in the city. Under the guidance of Pere Juárez Vives, professor of Quantum Science and Technology at the University of Barcelona and expert facilitator of these group dynamics, they tackled the following urban challenges: 

  • Evolve or Dissolve. What can the public sector, the private sector and citizens do to adopt circularity and mitigate the impact of climate change in cities?
  • Match & Play. How can we find the formula for large companies and startups to meet (Match) and generate some kind of collaboration (Play), outside the classic commercial customer-supplier relationship?
  • Sustainable & Connected Mobility. How can we develop connected mobility solutions that address the challenges of rapid urbanisation and overpopulation in today’s cities?

For this, they used different creative tools (Empathy Map, Crazy 8s, SCAMPER, etc.) to brainstorm ideas and collect the most innovative solutions.

At the end of the workshops, a jury made up of [email protected] BCN professionals selected a winning team for each challenge. Isabel Sabadí, Managing Director of [email protected] BCN, explained during the awards ceremony that “the [email protected] challenges summarise the main difficulties faced today by urban projects, whose central objective is the search for a balance between economic activity and the environment in which it takes place”.

Later, the participants had the opportunity to visit the most innovative companies in the city that are stimulating the economic growth of Barcelona in a sustainable way and in line with the proposed challenges, such as BAC Engineering – SOCOTEC Group, CBcat, Supercomputing Center, Tech City, and the Wittywood building by the Colonial real estate company.

  • BAC Engineering Consultancy Group – SOCOTEC conducted a guided tour, exclusively for our students, in the works of the future La Sagrera station, the most important railway underground project in Europe comprising 38 hectares. Agustí Obiols gave a presentation on the station project and the state of progress of the works executed, as well as the structural challenges that are being solved.
  • At the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain’s national supercomputing centre specialising in high-performance computing (HPC), visitors were able to see the impressive MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, located inside a chapel!
  • At Tech Barcelona, the innovative hub that is boosting the digital & tech ecosystem of Barcelona, the Alumni had the opportunity to visit the offices of the most disruptive companies in the technology sector, as well as to learn in detail about the actions carried out by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona from its director, Oscar Sala.
  • At the offices of CBcat, the Blockchain Centre of Catalonia, relevant blockchain solutions were presented, ones carried out by local companies, such as inlea and Hashing DNA.
  • Wittywood by Colonial, a 100% wood building, amazed visitors with its perfect combination of sustainability and elegance.

In addition, the guests took part in a Walking Tour of Barcelona, guided by Carles Romea, who showed them the emblematic areas of a cosmopolitan, vibrant and innovative city.

Near the end of the event, there were panel discussions on current hot topics, in English and Spanish, with interdisciplinary specialists sharing their views and professional experiences:

  • Prospects for professional growth in the New Era (EN):  Jesus Perucho Alcalde (Professor at Zigurat and Senior BIM Digital Consultant at AECOM), Atif Ali (Professor at Zigurat and Mechatronics Engineer specialized in IIoT & Robotics), Jon Blasby (Director of Castiel Consultants and Board Member of RICS Spain) and James Basha (Professor at Zigurat and motivational coach), moderated by Rodrigo Manuel Ferreiro Cannataro (Corporate Services at Zigurat).
  • Prospects for professional growth in the New Era (ES):  Juan Felipe Pons (Master Director at Zigurat and Managing Partner of Think In Lean), Gonzalo Cuatrecasas (Professor at Zigurat and expert in IT Risk Management and Cyber Security Manager at Axel Johnson International AB), Juan Carlos Gutiérrez (Professor at Zigurat and CTO at SETESCA), Guillermo Corral Comeras (Urban Architect at MCORM Architects and Profesor of Zigurat) and Isabel Gutiérrez, (Master Director at Zigurat and BIM Implementation, Coordinator at Ferrovial), moderated by Rodrigo Manuel Ferreiro Cannataro (Corporate Services at Zigurat).
  • Demystifying Circularity in Construction (ES): Guillem Baraut (Master Director at Zigurat and CEO at BAC Engineering – SOCOTEC Group), Xavier Aguiló i Arán (Professor at Zigurat and UK Manager at BAC Engineering – SOCOTEC Group), Luna Cara (Professor at Zigurat and architect at Exegit S.r.l.) and Óscar Agüera Martínez (Head of the Technical Office at Mapei Spain, S.A), moderated by Marta León (Product Area Manager at Zigurat). 
  • Digitalization in the construction industry: strategies and challenges (EN): José Carlos Coya Piñeiro (Master Director at Zigurat and consultant in building structures and foundations), Chris Dymond (Master Director at Zigurat and Founder of Unfolding) and Angela Salom Sarasqueta (Senior Technical Lead at Barcelona Supercomputing Center), moderated by Bruno Mota (Master Director at Zigurat and main consultant at LogiKal).
  • Digitalization in the construction industry: strategies and challenges (ES): Óscar Liébana (Master Director at Zigurat and project coordinator at FCC Construcción), Evélio Sanchez (Professor at Zigurat and consultant in ediliciaBIM), María Mendez (Professor at Zigurat and coordinator at FCC Construcción), Ignacio Barra (Co-founder at IngeBIM), moderated by Yaosca Bautista (Program Area Specialist at Zigurat).

Finally, in the closing session, diplomas and awards were presented to the most outstanding students and professors of the editions that started in November 2020 and May 2021.

Pau Farré, CEO of Zigurat, said the following in his speech that closed the event:  Cooperation is the great revolution. Proof of this has been the activities you have carried out during the week, but also the programmes you have successfully completed and finished. During these days you have had the opportunity to strengthen ties and to see that responding to today’s challenges requires the commitment of everyone. Only in this way will it be possible to reach optimal, inclusive and sustainable solutions”.

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