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Students from ESADE, Oxford, MIT, Aalto and CBS apply chef Ferran Adrià's creative process auditing technique to Barça Innovation Hub

The C4Bi is a student competition designed to transfer chef Ferran Adrià’s creative process auditing technique to the business world

Acting as a consulting firm and sharing big data, building a discipline of innovation and analysis, making information available through audiovisual channels such as Netflix, legitimising the hub internally and externally, and systematising the innovation process: these were just a few of the proposals submitted by participants in the fourth edition of the Creativity for Business Innovation Challenge (C4Bi) for the Barça Innovation Hub, FC Barcelona’s platform for knowledge and innovation in sports.

The C4Bi is a student competition that promotes the use of creative process auditing, a tool developed by chef Ferran Adrià to assess innovation processes at his famed restaurant elBulli. This year, the C4Bi was once again an international competition: students from ESADE were joined by their peers from Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), Aalto University (Finland), MIT Sloan School of Management (USA) and Oxford Saïd Business School (UK). The challenge posed to this year’s participants was to apply the creative process auditing to the innovation strategy of the Barça Innovation Hub.

This year’s edition of the C4Bi featured the participation of students from the Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Master of Science (MSc) programmes, the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and the Double Degree in Business and Law. The first stage of the C4Bi drew applications from a total of 204 students comprising 68 teams and representing 41 different nationalities.

The aim of this pioneering collaboration between elBullifoundation and ESADE is to transfer this auditing technique developed at elBulli to creativity and innovation processes in companies and institutions. 

A hackathon to round out the audit

The final stage of the C4Bi took the form of a three-day hackathon. The finalists visited elBulliLab, where Ferran Adrià taught a master class and presented the Sapiens methodology. The teams also made a site visit to FC Barcelona, where executives from Barça Innovation Hub shared their strategies and innovation programmes. Finally, the student teams were given 12 hours to conduct a creative process audit of the Barça Innovation Hub and write up their conclusions and initiatives, which they then presented to an international panel of judges that included Ferran Adrià, representing the elBullifoundation; Albert Mundet, Head of the Knowledge Department at the Barça Innovation Hub; and Josep Franch, Dean of ESADE Business School.

“We are very happy to be able to participate in this creative process auditing project with ESADE and the elBullifoundation,” commented Albert Mundet. “Everyone wants to innovate, but the differential factor is to have an implementation methodology that makes it possible to generate value for organisations, in this case a sports organisation. Our vision is based on sharing knowledge to build an ecosystem that helps not only FC Barcelona but the entire sports industry. We believe that we have many points in common with what Ferran Adrià is developing in this new stage in the culinary world through the elBullifoundation and his outreach. We are very grateful for all the ideas that the students have contributed in this audit. We consider their work to be very valuable.”

Ferran Adrià commented: “Creative process auditing is a tool for making your innovation as efficient as possible and, most importantly, making that efficiency last for a long time.” He also noted, as he had on other occasions, that “creative process auditing is novel concept in the world of business and management”. A group of ESADE Business School faculty members has been working with an elBullifoundation team to apply creative process auditing in the business world and to develop a new tool for auditing the creative processes of companies that wish to innovate.

Background and recognition

The C4Bi forms part of ESADE’s Student First educational model, which focuses on learning through experiences and through direct contact with companies. The competition provides a unique opportunity for students interested in innovation processes, the development of creative capacities and entrepreneurship to experiment with a new methodology.

In the first edition of the C4Bi, participants carried out a creative process audit of the Roca Group’s “W+W” project, relying on secondary data sources and expert opinions. In the second edition of the competition, held in 2016, participants applied the auditing technique to Hospital Sant Joan de Déu de Barcelona – specifically, the hospital’s Darwin Medical Simulation Centre, which has pioneered the use of simulation as a teaching tool. In last year’s edition of the C4Bi, students analysed the large-format printing technology developed by HP Latex for interior design and decoration.

The C4Bi has been chosen by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the world’s largest education alliance, for one of the organisation’s “Innovations that Inspire” awards, which recognise the essential work carried out by business schools to improve their communities and society in general. The C4Bi has also received the Educational Innovation Award, which recognises initiatives that promote educational quality and innovation within the ESADE community.

About the Barça Innovation Hub

The Barça Innovation Hub is a platform created by FC Barcelona to manage the club’s innovation and knowledge projects. Our activities are divided into seven areas: team sports, sports performance, analysis and sports technology, health and wellness, fan engagement and big data, smart facilities, and social impact. In all seven of these areas, we carry out research projects, teach training courses, and organise conferences and seminars to spread the acquired knowledge. Our aim is to cultivate an ecosystem that fosters knowledge and innovation. This ecosystem is based on a model that promotes a culture of excellence and collaboration with prestigious brands, universities, research centres, startups, entrepreneurs, students, athletes, investors and visionaries from all over the world.