Portuguese entrepreneur André Marquet takes part in Expo’s Innovation Talks

Innovation must create value or inspire change if it is to help solve humanity’s greatest challenges, and its commercialisation through greater collaboration between governments and businesses is crucial, according to panel experts at ‘Innovation Nation’ hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai’s World Majlis. Portugal was once again represented in this Expo event by André Marquet, Founder & CEO of Productized.


Organised with the Spain Pavilion, the panel discussion featured experts from various sectors, including Huda AlHashimi, UAE’s Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs; Albert Efimov, Vice President and Director of Sber Innovation & Research; Hadyah Mohammed Fathalla, Director of Strategic Projects, Humanitarian Works and Youth Affairs for the Government of Bahrain; Nishita Henry, US Consulting Chief Innovation Officer for Deloitte; Luis Martin, President at Barrabes.biz in Spain; Mihkel Tammo, Head of Trade and Innovation Center for Enterprise Estonia; and Professor Ted Fuller, UNESCO Chair on Responsible Foresight for Sustainable Development.


The debate was moderated by Saeed Al Saeed, Science and Technology Advisor for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.


Speakers offered different perspectives on how innovation could benefit development, including how to learn through the innovation process and the value of making mistakes.


André Marquet, founder and CEO of Productized, an innovation consulting company based in Lisbon, shared his view on how public entities and private companies should work together to drive innovation and come up with new solutions.


“For many years, we had this vision that there was a dichotomy between private innovation and public-led innovation and, in many ways, what the UAE, Estonia and so many others have taught us […] is that governments should not step away from providing vision […]”. Rather, governments should “play in consortium with private players” to produce an ecosystem that works towards end goals. “The market by itself will find it very difficult to achieve certain directions”, he added.


Panellists also agreed that innovation was the result of humanity’s innate desire to make something better.


The Portuguese entrepreneur said we should all take inspiration from smaller countries, and offered Portugal’s example in its green energy transition – “Portugal just shut down its last remaining coal plant, so it has fully transitioned to renewables in 2022”, he noted.


The World Majlis is a series of conversations inspired by the theme of Expo 2020 Dubai. ‘Innovation Nation’ was held across two sessions on 4 and 15 February at the Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion.