Anticipatory Innovation Governance in Gipuzkoa

Written by Heather Buisman and Angela Hanson.

Over the past few months, we have been reminded that despite scenario planning and strategic foresight, it’s easy to be caught off guard off guard and unprepared in the face of crises and changing circumstances. Today’s policy context is one of complexity and uncertainty: an environment that requires more adaptive, anticipatory and systemic policy and governance approaches. This is challenging for many governments that hold dearly to clearly established processes and structures embedded in a history of careful deliberation and oversight. The emerging work in the area of anticipatory innovation governance responds to this context by using methods and tools that openly explore uncertainty and radical ideas, to help imagine plausible futures in order to shape and steer towards preferable futures. Our most recent project in the realm of anticipatory innovation highlights the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration, open-minded political leadership, and willingness to test and explore new tools and methods in uncertain and complex contexts.  

Applying Anticipatory Innovation Governance  

Over the past few weeks, we’ve launched a deep demonstration with the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council, a Basque-speaking sub-national entity in northern Spain. This province is home to 89 municipalities, many of which host a large industrial presence with a wide range of industrial, political and civil society stakeholders. While the region has successfully transformed its economy several times in recent decades, the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council has acknowledged that the complex challenges faced by the province, including the balance between industrial progression and “greening of the economy” requires a portfolio of governance and management approaches. Together with the council and a diversity of partners, including Climate KIC (focused on portfolio approaches to innovation and climate change), the Agirre Lehendakaria Center (an innovation laboratory established by the University of the Basque Country and Columbia University) and Mondragon Corporation (the world’s largest worker’s cooperative), we are exploring portfolio and anticipatory innovation approaches to meet current and future challenges.  

The Gipuzkoa Regional Council works with a network of public, private, and academic partners in the region. (Photo courtesy of Gorka Espiau).

Will and commitment for innovation  

Key to the success of any organisation’s innovation journey is a will and rigour from leadership to support innovation. The 10 Commitments of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council demonstrate a clear will for continuous innovation and improvement. These commitments are undoubtedly ambitious: what some might consider a “gold standard” of governance that balances economic interests with social justice and welfare considerations. These types of commitments are often seen as contradictory: promoting advanced industry often results in sacrifices in the social justice realm, similarly commitments to sustainability often contradict interests of industry.Commitments of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council

The above image lists the 10 commitments of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council.

The council’s decision to embark on this deep demonstration under their Etorkizuna Eraikiz – Building the Future Programme reflects the complexity of balancing these priorities, particularly in a time of global, economic and environmental uncertainty. They are dedicated to working with a range of stakeholders, including society, industry experts, academia and innovation thinkers to try new approaches that steer towards preferable futures and prepare for a range of circumstances in order to balance the needs of society. This strategy demonstrates that process and people matter: how decisions are made, who is at the table, what methods are used, and how futures are explored.  

Radical Democracy in Changing Contexts  

This region has a strong tradition of inclusiveness and participation; what would be considered radical democracy’ elsewhere is just normal here. –  Gorka Espiau Idoiaga, Senior Fellow at the Agirre Lehendakaria Center

The current context, shaped by the covid-19 crisis, environmental change and technological advancement is an opportunity for radical change: governments across the world are being forced to explore alternatives because the status quo longer suffices. The province is facing a time of economic hardship as the impacts of the covid-19 crisis are hitting the region, notably the car manufacturing industry. While this is certainly a financial challenge for individuals, industry and governments, it also presents an opportunity for change and a “fresh-start”, notably potential for a green transition aligned with the European Green Deal. This context is a chance to test tools and approaches to meet complex challenges and to shape a promising future for the region.   

The region is starting from a place of strength in terms of its inclusive practices with civil society groups and hopes to transform while maintaining equality as a core value. The Mondragon Valley´s Social Innovation Platform (D2030) is a network of local authorities (municipalities and regional governments), private sector (the Mondragon Corporation and others), civil society organisations and academia working to power the next “Just transformation” of the region by applying movement building and radical democracy principles developed by the cooperative movement in the area since 1956. The platform will be used for anticipatory innovation experiments in 2020 and 2021. 

An interconnected network of regional actors will support deep learning during this deep demonstration.

We need to shape a new way of thinking, to adapt to new times in which the value for respect and solidarity exists within an ecosystem that is more constructive and a system in which people and their subjectiveness and freedom are at the centre of everything we do, because none of this makes any sense unless people are happier within the system that we are making. –  Xabier Barandiaran, Head of the General Deputy’s Office at the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa 

For the Provincial Council, the commitment to citizen involvement and cross-sectoral collaboration is clear. Developing mechanisms and pilot projects to support this will be a key component of this deep demonstration as we test how different approaches can shape positive outcomes and lasting change in how the government supports society through successes and challenges.   

Exploring Alternative Governance Approaches 

A key starting point for applying anticipatory innovation governance is exploring which governance mechanisms are ripe for experimentation.  In a series of initial sensemaking workshops, OPSI, local partners, and ClimateKIC explored potential areas for experimentation and action research around different mechanisms of anticipatory innovation governance as well as upcoming windows of opportunity that can be test beds for these experiments.  Mechanisms of AIG

Above is a diagram of different governance mechanisms that can be tested and explored to build anticipatory innovation governance capacity

The team explored the capabilities already existing in Gipuzkoa’s governance system: where the opportunities and spaces are for experimentation, where the council would benefit from guidance and how various actors are involved in the system. One challenge faced by the council is that many initiatives are divided into projects lines that operate distinctly, despite sharing overlapping objectives and stakeholders with other projects. One of the objectives of this work will be to connect these projects to a large mapping and systemic overview of work in the region: to create learning and feedback loops, build connections and work towards system–wide strategic aims.  

Three key barriers were raised in this discussion: the challenge of involving politicians in the process when the focus is often on election priorities, working with the institutions themselves: the social and political structures that are hierarchical and bureaucratic, and the need for knowledge development.  

The team also conducted a preliminary scoping exercise with the Council and deep demonstration partners, to explore which governance mechanisms are already in existence, and where they see new opportunities. One of the key priorities of the Council is in the area of participatory and collaborative governance: which they consider to be fundamental to liberal democracy. Through this deep demonstration we hope to explore new mechanisms for citizen participation and collaborative governance while supporting alternatives exploration, creating learning loops and building new structures for networks and partnerships.  

The above image is a snapshot of a hybrid workshop which explored mechanisms and opportunities for alternatives exploration, participation, networks and partnerships in the region.

Undoubtedly, exploring alternatives, trialing new methods and opening the door to change is not easy: anticipatory innovation requires openness to the fact that the outcomes cannot always be controlled, and that failure may be needed to discover what works. Moreover, it often goes against the typical political logic which focuses on outcomes to emphasize process: it requires an openness to changing systems, willingness to deliberate and learn, and courage to reinvent the way that government interacts with stakeholders and society. 

As we launch this deep demonstration we are inspired by the political will and the network of people at the table. At the end of the day, following through on commitments, particularly for governance change requires not only knowledge partners, but also formal and informal mechanisms for collaboration, participation and engagement across entire systems. The roadmap of deep listening, system mapping, problem definition, portfolio design, innovation management and sensemaking is built with an awareness of the importance of how the system works together: actors, institutions, and mechanisms across not only government but civil society, industry and beyond are all crucial to the decision-making process and the future of the region.  

Learning from our peers and sharing experience  

Supporting anticipatory innovation governance projects is not only an opportunity for us to support capacity building in a specific country or regional context, but also a chance to connect innovation practitioners internationally to share best practices, lessons learned and competencies across what can otherwise feel like a lonely innovation environment. Colleagues from Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, a founding member of the Anticipatory Innovation Governance network, joined a Gipuzkoa workshop to share their experience stewarding an extensive innovation programme across the Swedish governance ecosystem. Similarly, working with partners from Climate KIC and the Agirre Lehendakaria Center allows us to join forces in applying new approaches in constantly evolving contexts to share the lessons learned, insights and successes with the global innovation community. We hope that this deep demonstration will be a successful trial of governance approaches that can be applied across country and regional contexts in response to uncertainty. 

Beyond Imagination. A Social Innovation Europe

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Social Innovation Community has organized a final event named “Beyond Imagination: A socially innovative Europe” that will be held on 12-13 November in Seville, Spain. Together, we will celebrate the achievements of the past decade, imagine the way a new future for a socially innovative Europe, and develop practical ways to achieve this new future together. Key questions to be explored including:

  • What does it take to design the future we want?
  • How can we use more experimentation and participatory learning approaches?
  • What is the role of research and technology in Social Innovation?
  • How the #SIDeclaration can influence future policy?
  • How do we need to work differently in order to tackle the challenges ahead?

This is the agenda for the second day, when I will be discussing with really interesting colleagues about the need for better impact:

 

0830 | Registration

0900 | Turning imagination into reality

  • Justyna Król, Urban Workshop, Poland
  • Martha Giannakopoulou Architect (Urban Design) / Urban Consultant Athens Municipality, Greece

0930 | Introducing the #SIDeclaration    Led by Nesta

  • Agnes Hubert, G5+, Belgium
  • Phil Martin, European Commission, Belgium
  • Marija Babovic, EAPN, Serbia
  • Luigi Martignetti, REVES, Belgium

1015 | Refreshment break

1045 | From reimagining the future to co-creating it

Parallel breakout sessions interrogating the #SIDeclaration

As part of Europe’s social innovation community, what role do participants have in realising the vision set out in the #SIDeclaration

  • Growing the visibility and impact of Europe’s social innovation community
  • Realising the power of social innovation in driving Local and Urban Development
  • Public sector as a key enabler of social innovation
  • Research as a critical driver of social innovation transformation
  • Funding and investing social innovation projects, services and products
  • Harnessing the digital revolution for social innovation

1215 | Refreshment break

1245 | Reconnecting the silos

1315 | Why are still not making the impact we need? What is getting in the way                       – Final provocation

1415 | SIC Final Remarks

1430 | Programme ends

 

GSEF 2018

Estos días se celebra la conferencia de ciudades que lideran experiencias y estrategias de Economía Social (GSEF 2018). Un gran oportunidad para conectar la experiencia vasca con Montreal, Seoul y Barcelona. Desgraciadamente, creo que el programa no presenta el verdadero valor y la dimensión de la experiencia vasca en este campo (ecosistema de innovación social, experiencias de larga escala, la conexión con la manufactura, la perspectiva de movimiento, etc, etc), pero hay muchas cosas interesantes. Estos son los paneles en los que vamos a participar el martes, 2 de octubre por la tarde.

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Innovación Social por la Inclusión

La “Red Europea de Innovación por la Inclusión” organizó este evento el míercoles día 3 de Octubre en Madrid. Fue un placer presentar nuestro trabajo en la creación de Plataformas Abiertas de Innovación Social. Este es un resumen de mi intervención.

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“Las sociedades, ciudades o regiones que permiten altos niveles de desigualdad y exclusión no pueden ser consideradas como desarrolladas desde un punto de vista humano, pero tampoco son ya competitivas en el mercado. Los espacios tradicionales de referencia en el ámbito de la innovación tecnológica y desarrollo empresarial como son el Silicon Valley en Estados Unidos, Londres en el Reino Unido o Singapur han permitido que sus niveles de exclusión y desigualdad alcancen cotas históricas y resulta evidente su impacto negativo en el conjunto de la sociedad(número de personas sin techo, precio de la vivienda, gastos de salud, incapacidad para contratar a personas que puedan cumplir con las funciones básicas de las empresas e instituciones, etc). Hoy en día podemos demostrar científicamente que a mayor nivel de inversión en tecnología sin inclusión, mayor nivel de desigualdad. Unas pocas personas y empresas siguen beneficiándose de ese modelo pero resulta contraproducente y muy poco competitivo  para el conjunto de la sociedad.
Ante esta situación, la respuesta no puede consistir en replicar las estrategias de estas sociedades entendidas como las más “desarrolladas”, es necesario construir nuevos modelos que combinen la innovación tecnológica con el desarrollo humano. Los restos de la desigualdad y la exclusión son fenómenos complejos que requieren acciones coordinadas en materia de políticas sociales, empleo, salud, etc. La intervención de Gorka Espiau presentará diversos ejemplos prácticos de como se están construyendo nuevas Plataformas de Innovación Social por la inclusión que combinen inversiones en tecnología y conocimiento con un enfoque de transformación social.

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Professorship of Practice at McGill University

This is a description of my work in Montreal at McGill University in 2018.

URBP 542 : New Social Innovation Dynamics

During the Winter 2018 semester, Gorka Espiau teaches a one-credit course in the School of Urban Planning at McGill University that demonstrates how social innovation, on the community level, contributes to the positive and systemic transformation of a community.Students are invited to challenge traditional approaches to innovation, which often rely on the myth of the “solo entrepreneur.” More specifically, they observe, through case studies and the studies of pilot projects carried out in Bilbao (Basque Country) and in Côte-des-Neiges (Montreal), the different ways in which community narratives are produced and captured, as well as reflect on how to co-create new initiatives or concrete actions likely to generate broad and inclusive benefits for communities based on story analysis. The course is thus designed to allow students to improve their ability to deconstruct the detrimental narrative that ordinary citizens are not perceived as “change-makers” or “innovators” and to explore various theories of change and innovative practices.

Lunch-seminars and conferences

The CIRM Professor of Practice continues his collaboration with Hoi Kong (Faculty of Law, McGill) to publish a collective based on the series Montreal Manifesto for Social Innovation, three workshops that took place in 2017. The volume will be published in 2019. On October 13th, 2017, Gorka Espiau participates in a discussion on the book, Les communautés d’innovation. De la liberté créatrice à l’innovation, led by Richard Shearmur (School of Urban Planning, McGill), with Rami Bebawi (KANVA), Diane de Courcy (Je fais Mtl/City of Montréal), Zoé Gagnon-Paquin (Magnéto), Pierre Emmanuel Moyse (Faculty of Law, McGill), and Julie Aurore Rijpens (SIIL, McGill), in the presence of Laurent Simon (HEC), who co-edited the work with Patrick Cohendet (HEC), and Benoit Sarazin.

He also speaks during the round table titled “From Big Data and Open Data to Community Actions and Impacts. Which Practices to implement?” on February 20th. The session is moderated by Jayne Engle(Program Director, Cities for People, McConnell Foundation and Adjunct Professor, School of Urban Planning, McGill) along with panelists Stéphan Guidoin (Director, Montréal, Smart City), Charles-Antoine Julien (Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, McGill), Jean-Noé Landry (Executive Director, Open North), Pierre Luc Bacon (PhD Student, School of Computer Science, Reasoning and Learning Laboratory, McGill), Geneviève Boisjoly (PhD Student, School of Urban Planning, McGill), and Vincent Thomas (Dean, Faculty of Law-Economics and Political Sciences, Dijon).

Shaping Neighborhoods Series

From April to June, CIRM and the Quartier de l’innovation (QI) are putting together a new kind of experiential meetings which address local innovative initiatives related to urban life. Shaping Neighborhoods: Experience and innovation is a series of “experience-conferences” that encourage communities in the city to (re)discover urban planning projects and to engage in conversations around community projects, university research, and municipal initiatives that are taking place there.

Gorka Espiau participates in the first of the three experience-conferences, Build, which takes place on April 17th and which focuses on the creation of shared spaces. This discussion, led by Richard Shearmur (School of Urban Planning, McGill), takes place at the Wellington Control Tower and at Project Young, with Philémon Gravel (Cofounder, Entremise), Pauline Butiaux (Development Director, Wellington Control Tower), Jonathan Cha (Lecturer,Département d’études urbaines et touristiques, UQAM), Carla Rangel (Development Director, Wellington Control Tower), and Marie-Philip Roy-Lasselle (Project Manager, Service des partenariats et du soutien à l’innovation, UQAM).

Collaboration with the McConnell Foundation

Amplifier Montréal

After having provided his expertise to the ethnographic work carried out by Amplifier CdN in the summer of 2017, Gorka Espiau is still contributing to the processes of innovation and social transformation underway in Côte-des-Neiges, due to to the commitment and vision of many neighbourhood actors, including the Table de quartier. In collaboration with Lyne Poitras and at the request of the McConnell Foundation, he has written a report that illustrates what concrete actions can be introduced into the neighbourhood ecosystem, stemming from ethnographic listening and responding to needs, challenges, and aspirations of the citizens.

The “Countless Rebellions” Series

The McConnell Foundation aims to share the acquired expertise on how social change is generated through the project Countless Rebellions, a series of interviews that explores social innovation and systemic change. Discover their interview with Gorka Espiau here.

The Observatory of Montreal’s Narratives

Gorka Espiau contributes to the conceptualization and creation of the Observatory of Montreal’s Narratives. It is a tool for analyzing, interpreting and visualizing narratives that can act as a positive lever for the social transformation for neighbourhoods and cities. The data will come from numerous collaborations established with the various community and municipal actors of the metropolis as well as the interdisciplinary research community. Gorka Espiau will participate in a series of Observatory design workshops during the academic year 2018-2019. He also continues to publicize the project abroad to build an international platform for learning about tools that could be useful for the transformation of cities.

Memorandum of Understanding: CIRM and the Agirre Lehendekaria Center

Through the work conducted at CIRM and at the Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies in the Basque Country, Gorka Espiau facilitated the creation of a memorandum of understanding between the two centres as well as the Etxepare Basque Institute. Theses agreements are signed on April 20th, 2018, aiming to foster collaboration and cooperation between these institutions and their social innovation projects, comparing the case of the Basque Country and to that of Montreal and the province of Quebec.

Signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding, April 20th, 2018. From left to right: Mr. Juan José Ibarretxe, Ms. Irene Larraza, Mr. Bingen Zupiria, and Mr. Philip Oxhorn, respectively the Director of the Agirre Lehendakaria Center, the Director-General of the Etxepare Basque Institute, the Basque Minister for Culture, and the Associate Provost (International) of McGill University.

La reinvención del modelo vasco

La transformación social, económica y cultural vivida por la sociedad vasca en las últimas décadas presenta una serie de indicadores excepcionales en un contexto de la máxima dificultad. Al colapso industrial, altísimas tasas de desempleo, el fin de la dictadura franquista y la construcción de un nuevo entramado institucional desde el año 78, se añadían constantes vulneraciones de los derechos humanos y violencia. La mayoría de sociedades que han vivido situaciones similares no han sido capaces de darle la vuelta a un contexto tan complejo y negativo.

Sin embargo, la sociedad vasca respondió de forma espectacular a casi todas estas amenazas y retos. En vez de seguir los consejos predominantes en la época (desindustrialización y políticas neoliberales), Euskal Herria optó por reinventar su estructura manufacturera, diseñar nuevos sistemas de cooperación público privada y nuevos modelos de competitividad basados en una distribución más equitativa de la riqueza como los impulsados por la economía social y cooperativa. En este mismo periodo histórico, la sociedad vasca fue capaz de detener el proceso de minorización de la lengua vasca y poner fin a la violencia de motivación política.

A pesar de las dificultades y retos a los que nos enfrentamos en el momento actual, estos indicadores demuestran la existencia de un modelo de desarrollo sostenible desde un punto de vista social, económico y medio-ambiental que puede ser proyectado hacia el futuro como marca país. Los cambios vividos en los países occidentales durante la última década demandan más que nunca modelos de desarrollo alternativos y con evidencia empírica que combinen la competitividad económica con el equilibrio social. En este contexto, y a pesar de nuestra dimensión y limitaciones institucionales, el pueblo vasco (su ciudadanía, organizaciones sociales, empresas e instituciones) tiene una oportunidad histórica de proyectarse internacionalmente como un modelo de desarrollo humano e innovación social que es plenamente competitivo en el mercado global.

Desde una perspectiva económica tradicional, podemos explicar fácilmente cómo se ha producido este proceso de innovación, cuáles fueron las decisiones estratégicas (inversión en educación y protección social, especialización inteligente, etc), pero sin el factor social y cultural no podemos responder a la pregunta del porqué se tomaron esas decisiones tan diferentes respecto a las que tomaron otros pueblos en situaciones similares. En cierta medida, conocemos lo cuantificable, los proyectos y las decisiones, pero desconocemos el funcionamiento de los elementos intangibles y lo cualitativo. Estos son los elementos diferenciales en cada realidad cultural.

Cuando hablamos del factor cultural, no hablamos “solamente” de las expresiones culturales, nos referimos al sistema de valores expresados en determinadas narrativas colectivas que utilizamos para definirnos como pueblo y que explican las decisiones que hemos ido tomando a lo largo de la historia. Es la forma en la que una sociedad se autodefine y se comporta ante determinadas situaciones. Si no existiese este factor cultural, todas las sociedades responderían de forma similar ante los mismos retos.fullsizeoutput_580

Es muy importante conocer y medir este factor cultural para comprender de una forma más profunda nuestro proceso de transformación social y económica y, sobre todo, para poder proyectar sus elementos estratégicos de cara al futuro. Los procesos de innovación y especialización inteligente más exitosos a nivel internacional (Finlandia, Baviera, Quebec, Estonia, etc.) son precisamente los que han sido capaces de incorporar su propia dimensión cultural.

El principal reto al que nos enfrentamos es que estas narrativas internas sobre la sociedad vasca están cambiando muy rápidamente. El ejemplo más importante es que por primera vez desde la recuperación del autogobierno, la desigualdad en Euskal Herria está creciendo de forma preocupante y una distribución más equitativa de la riqueza corre el riesgo de dejar de ser uno de los elementos fundacionales del denominado “modelo vasco”.

Todavía estamos a tiempo para reconectar con los elementos tractores que nos permitieron desarrollar la transformación de los años 80, pero esta reinvención de la sociedad vasca no vendrá de la mano de replicar miméticamente lo que hacen otras sociedades. Debemos reconectarnos con el sistema de valores y los comportamientos que han caracterizado al pueblo vasco a lo largo de la historia. El “nuevo modelo vasco” debe construirse sobre iniciativas que conecten con los valores de competitividad en solidaridad que nos han llevado hasta los niveles de desarrollo humano que hoy disfrutamos. Mirar la realidad desde nuestra propia identidad para ver un futuro diferente. Si aplicamos la misma mirada que los demás, no podremos ver nada propio y diferente.

Se trataría ahora de responder de la misma manera cuando las cosas están mejor. En el pasado utilizamos el espíritu de supervivencia como palanca de transformación. Ahora podemos utilizar otra, la lucha contra la desigualdad. Se nos abre una nueva oportunidad para mostrar lo mejor de nosotros mismos. Podemos aprovecharla o seguir la corriente que nos marcan otros hasta perder nuestra identidad como pueblo.

Ha llegado el momento de decidir cómo queremos ser recordados en el futuro. Podemos ser una sociedad que hizo lo más difícil, transformarse profundamente siguiendo un modelo diferente y solidario pero que luego acabó convirtiéndose en un barco a la deriva más, o podemos decidir afrontar una nueva transformación que debería llevarnos a liderar los rankings internacionales en desarrollo humano sostenible.

No es fácil, pero todas aquellas personas que lideraron la gran transformación de los años 80 y 90 saben que es posible. Todo depende de las decisiones que tomemos ahora. Si nos conformamos con hacer lo que hacen los demás, acabaremos siendo como los demás. Si decidimos colectivamente tomar un camino alternativo, encontraremos muchas dificultades, pero seguramente alcanzaremos mucho mejores resultados.

 

Plataformas de Innovación para el desarrollo Internacional

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La Obra Social ”la Caixa” te invita a la Jornada de INNOVACIÓN Y DESARROLLO INTERNACIONAL, enmarcada dentro del programa WORK 4 PROGRESS, que impulsa iniciativas para el fomento del empleo entre comunidades vulnerables de India, Perú y Mozambique.

En esta jornada dialogarán representantes de las plataformas Work 4 Progress de India, Perú y Mozambique con:

Jayne Engle, directora de Programas de Cities for People, McConnell Foundation
Gorka Espiau, profesor invitado en la McGill University y director de Investigación en Agirre Lehendakaria Center (Universidad del País Vasco)
Roger Warnock, co-fundador de Social Nybble Labs y director de Programas para Irlanda en The Young Foundation

Te esperamos el próximo miércoles 27 de junio, a las 18 h, en CaixaForum Barcelona (av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8). Plazas limitadas, se ruega confirmación.