Emerging Economic and Innovation Trends in Spain

It’s an exciting time to do business in Spain, with the country showing incredible resilience after the recession. But how has the economy changed, will it last and how can business leaders position their companies in the new era?

This was was the focus of a live Twitter chat hosted by YPO that highlighted Spain’s economic growth, innovation and opportunities for business leaders. Participating in the one-hour, online Q&A were Spanish business leaders Enrique Quemada, Chairman of ONEtoONE Corporate Finance, and Juan Carlos Fouz, Founder of IZO and Managing Partner of CIONET. Both are YPO members based in Madrid, Spain.

Search #YPOLeadership on Twitter to see the full discussion with @Enrique Quemada, @JuanCarlosFouz and @YPO.

Learn more about YPO in Europe.

*Editor’s note: Some of the responses have been edited for clarity and do not reflect Twitter’s 140-character limit.


Spain’s economy is near pre-2008 levels. Where do you see economic recovery the most?

Enrique Quemada: The foreign investment in Spain, an entrepreneurial movement in young people, the employment is growing and the confidence of consumers.
Juan Carlos Fouz: Exports, tourism and consumption are driving an economy that is growing more than three percent.

How confident are you in the economic prospects in the next year?

EQ: The reform of the labor market has made the economy more competitive, also Spain exports 35 percent of its GDP.
JCF: I’m optimistic Spain is more competitive, there is credit for companies and consumers, and SME opened new markets during last year.

How will global demand affect the overall economy?

EQ: Global demand will be critical: The Spanish economy today relies heavily (35 percent of GDP) on exports.
JCF: Recovery in global demand will help economic stabilization but tech innovation in global markets will also help to grow companies.

How have Spain’s current conditions impacted economic confidence?

EQ: Less unemployment invites to more consumption, which leads to more investments feeding a virtuous circle.
JCF: Political stability and the flexibility in market conditions with new laws has improved the conditions and confidence.

How can Spain create a more expansionary environment for business?

EQ: Lowering taxes for businesses.
JCF: Helping to invest in innovation, transforming education to new business needs and moving people to digital skills.


What innovation will drive the most change in the next 2 years?

EQ: Spanish companies have learnt during the crisis about their frailty and are immerse in consolidation process.
JCF: Tech innovation changes the relationship between company, employees and consumers. Artificial intelligence, robots, 3D printing and the Internet of Things move us to new era.

How do you connect innovation, strategy and leadership?

EQ: Leaders define good strategy and a good strategy requires leaders to be different, to innovate.
JCF: The new big strategy for business leadership is how to attract tech innovation to your company to make it yours.

How do you build a culture that supports continuous innovation?

EQ: You support continuous innovation giving the power to the employees, letting them make mistakes.
JCF: Paying people for taking risk, and empowering the CIO/CTO for innovation and attracting startups/early-growth techs inside.

What role should senior executives play in innovation?

EQ: Senior executives should draft the company mission and vision, and let their teams innovate to achieve both.
JCF: C-level executives must be open and have a curious mind for new types of agreements and alliances. Become exponential or disappear.

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