The CESA, protagonist in the plan of the Innovation District for the Atlantic

The possibility of an Innovation Complex for the Atlantic, that enhances the socioeconomic capacities of the region, comes from the hand of the CESA to that department of the north coast of Colombia.

And it is that IXL Innovation Center, innovation platform that allows students and graduates to do consulting for companies and institutions, both national and international - also multinational -, distinguished CESA for its Turner Center project, which focuses on the creation of innovation district for the department.

Turner Center, formulated by the CESA graduate Jose Luis Kalil; Andres Venegas, a Master's student in Marketing Management and founder of the OMarketing company, and Nicolas Ortiz, a student of the last semester, ranked second in this innovation prize. The first place was for the project presented by the Federal University of Goiás (UFG), of Brazil.

Now, however, the Atlantic Governorate has the power to choose and give viability to any of the two projects submitted to IXL.

In this call, which poses different challenges, a total of 40 universities participated, both from Colombia and abroad. The Atlantic Governorate framed two challenges to be defined by Latin America and North America: for this case, a self-sustaining project that would bring people to the economic ecosystem of the region.

With the use of methodologies created by universities such as Harvard (to find powerful 'insight' and find the idea) and Stanford (for the ideation of the project), from OMarketing Andres, Jose Luis and Nicolas identified the consumer needs according to the potential of the zone.

For the qualifying jury, the innovation ecosystem proposed by the CESA group stands out for the integration of two components: the first, logistics (transportation of goods, raw materials, ports, etc.) and the Internet of Things (digital interconnection between objects that communicate and exchange information with each other - the basis is big data-). Thus, "we implemented a complex where we teach, train, attract investors to consolidate logistics projects, focused on the Internet of things," explained Nicolas.

The process and what is left

The IXL call was in January. In April, members of the group got ready for participation, and in June they began the training through interviews and evaluations. The last two months turned out to be a real marathon.

Every two weeks they presented advances in the process, made the necessary adjustments and improved them with the help of mentors. This time it was done with people who knew the region, their idiosyncrasy and their needs, so the group's mentorship was with Oswald Loewy, CEO of the Sempertex company, and one of the most recognized leaders in the country..

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“Loewy's role was key. It gave us hard, but without it it would not have been possible to finalize the project. He landed us," admitted Andres Venegas.

Although the implementation of the innovation model could exceed the year, according to the representatives of the CESA, the decision that one of the two be chosen would be formalized before the current administration ends. The innovation district would be located in Barranquilla.

'The analytical capacity, and above all the scope of thinking large and with magnitude, characteristic of the CESA, was articulated with the experience in this process of IXL', said Jose Luis Kalil.

For his part, Nicolas Ortiz highlighted aspects such as methodology and communication. About the first one, he underlined the way in which the Turner Center was gradually built. On the second, the importance for the corporate and business world of knowing how to handle a presentation and how to transmit ideas.

“A rigorous methodology, accompanied by people who manage real figures of a specific context, is invaluable, not only to understand a market but also to know how to project to long-term solutions, to five or ten years, and not short-term remedies”, pointed out Andres Venegas.

For this project, the CESA group received the corresponding certifications for advancing the process, issued by the Institute for the Global Management of Innovation (GMI).