Over the last few years, we have followed the work of our neighbours and we believe that they played a decisive role in Lisbon’s rise to one of the most active and sought-after capitals in the digital and technological landscape. We have witnessed its remarkable journey towards innovation and creativity, contributing significantly to transforming the eastern part of Lisbon into an important geography of the city, while at the same time converting it into an emerging cultural and artistic catalyst. We invited  imatch to share their journey.

 

Introduce yourselves. Who are you and what do you do?

Paulo Dias and Miguel Muñoz Duarte. We are two survivors of a corporate past contaminated by the force of entrepreneurship. We are founders of imatch, innovation collective. A collective of people from different areas of training and different professional paths, united by the motto of doing different to make a difference. We exist to bring the human side of innovation to life and it is with this premise that we help people, teams and organizations to transform the status-quo, build new relationships and always be one step ahead, making people and teams protagonists in the design of solutions that they will then implement.

We work together, bringing eyes, heads and hearts together. Because we believe that together we go further. Since 2008, we have co-created and co-implemented innovation projects, new organizational cultures, impact and sustainability solutions, and transformative and inspiring events.

In innovation, we work with innovation managers who want to incorporate external technologies into their value chain, or who want to develop new technologies and solutions internally. We worked with Clients such as Prio, Grupo Nabeiro, MINI, NOS, Fraunhofer, Ageas, Startup Madeira.

In culture, we work with internal teams to make organizational transformations. We have developed projects with BMW, McDonald’s, Capgemini, Universo, Leroy Merlin, Fnac, ISCTE Executive Education.

In Impact, our motto is to transform sustainability into sustainable with projects such as Casa do Impacto, Vodafone, Cascais City Council, Visão, Tese, Cozinha com Alma.

At events, we partner with the Clients’ internal teams, seeking to co-create transformative movements. We have examples such as Microsoft and all Building the Future partners, the NewCo Festival in partnership with MINI, or Ignite Portugal co-created with dozens of hosts of Ignite Portugal events spread across the country.

In addition to these dimensions, we also participate in the management of the NOW_Beato space, which is a coworking and innovation space next to the Hub Criativo do Beato.

Your project has a strong connection to technology, innovation and digital – do you want to explain how? 

As a company dedicated to innovation, this connection to technology and digital is inevitable. It is in this context that we developed Building the Future with Microsoft, an event that seeks to boost digital transformation and the innovation ecosystem that is linked to it, including the entire universe of entrepreneurship and startups.

Of course, trapped by COVID-19 we were, like many others, forced to digitally reinvent an event that already had an excellent impact when it happened physically. And we managed to grow from an audience of more than 5,000 people in person at the Carlos Lopes Pavilion to more than 20,000 people in the digital universe of Building The Future, with more than 2,000 meetings taking place digitally and more than 350 speakers. Without technology, this would not be possible, however, it is important to mention that technology is “only” the tool. It is in the design of the experience linked to the human side that (also) lies the secret.

We also have this connection, in the innovation projects we develop for and with our Clients. A concrete example of this was the approach we made between Stark Data, a startup linked to Artificial Intelligence and one of our Clients, to set up a Client management system using Artificial Intelligence with predictive algorithms.

Did this relationship with technology and the digital universe have any impact on the success of your project?

Technology and the Digital Universe were decisive for us to overcome the Pandemic and the successive confinements. We grew up during the Pandemic. We went from a team of 12 to a team of 20 spread across three continents. We increased and consolidated the business value. We managed to transform a value creation process based on group sessions, lectures, presentations, visits and face-to-face brainstorming, into a fully digital value creation process. And the extraordinary thing about this transformation was that the evaluation indexes of Customers and participants in the different programs (we use the NPS – Net Promoter Score methodology) remained or increased.

Why choose the western part of Lisbon to implement your workspace? How do you relate to the neighbourhood? Do you have or do you envision creating synergies with neighbours of Beato and Marvila?

It was also in 2013 that we began to look at various possibilities for developing this western part of the city. At that time we had an office at LX Factory and were looking for spaces to implement a startup acceleration program. We challenged Fernando Mendes and Ana Dias from Coworklisboa at the time at Lx Factory to join us in this process. This western area was at the forefront of several creators linked to the creative industries and signaled a future ecosystem of innovation and technology. Then, with the announcement of the implementation of the Hub Criativo do Beato, we had this confirmation. It was therefore natural to choose the location of NOW_Beato literally at the door of Hub Criativo do Beato, denoting our intention to be part of this community.

The actors present in the space already integrate a logic of value creation linked to innovation and impact. Jack the Maker‘s makers space on floor 0, the Manicómio and its atelier of visual artists on floor 2 or GRACE, an association of companies that promotes high-impact projects with its members (and of which we are part) on the floor 1, are concrete examples that we see linked to other actors that will certainly emerge in the area. In addition, several projects within NOW_ that have involved Parish Councils or other local and/or regional associations, such as Bicicultura, which has developed its meetings in space, or Swap Market Troca-te, among others.

We therefore see the NOW_Beato space and imatch as active parts of a whole, contributing so that the dynamics and relevance of this ecosystem can quickly approach the expectations generated in the greater context of the city of Lisbon and even of the country.