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FEI: Front End of Innovation

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June 10-12, 2024
Omni Boston Hotel at the SeaportBoston
June 10-12, 2024
Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport,

20th Anniversary Interview Series

Mega Events Innovation

Seth Adler w/Oscar Liebana

The success of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar was a nod to the integrated technology and innovation behind the scenes. And according to Oscar Barranco Liebana, director of Integrated Operations Platform at Front End of Innovation (FEI), there’s value to be drawn from the success of such a high-profile event. In an interview with Seth in anticipation of Liebana’s keynote speech at this year’s Mega Events Innovation in May, Liebana shared his views on innovation disciplines, past and future. 

In fact, Liebana, who spearheaded event operations and intelligence in Qatar, says the renowned soccer event has left him with perspective on its potential innovation legacy. He says the centralized technology and advanced intelligence strategies used at FIFA will carry his team into the future. “So practically, I think I am also focusing on the integrated operations platform. This is an augmented intelligence and operational platform, where we have integrated all the key operational data from the National stakeholders. And we have brought all this information into one single centralized platform to run and to manage all the tournament operations.”Liebana says he believes the rapid advancements in technology and waves of innovation will be key to continued success in the industry. “So I think… the combination of different technologies, like, for example, artificial intelligence, AI, IOT, digital innovation, emerging technologies - it is going to help us to optimize.”

Liebana says city operators will be able to utilize these advancements to improve digital services. “When we are talking about cognitive cities as market mobility, smart governance, and so on, we are also optimizing the digital economy. We are finding new services and new ways to improve digital services in the country, as well as preparing for the next operations.” In fact, AI is bringing major change for the industry and is the most important advancement in innovation discipline management, according to Liebana. “...I think the combination of the AI when we are talking about, for example, robotics, quantum computing, mixed reality, even now, technology or imaging technologies, I think, is really going to change the world.”

However, it will be imperative for players in the innovation discipline to understand that the quality of the innovation process depends on the brains behind the computers. He says the integration of those diverse minds connecting with one another will improve the quality of the entire process. It will bring higher interactions and communication between them. “It's not the…strongest or the most intelligent species that survive; it’s the one who is adapting better to change,” says Liebana. 

Speed is also a big factor today for companies developing within the innovation discipline, he says. Liebana believes a more evidence-based approach in terms of insights and facts can push companies to infuse business value into the innovation process much faster than in years past. He points to the NLP technologies competition as an example of this strategy.

“In the competition that we are seeing - the NLP technologies competition for Chat GPT. And so I think those companies, they are investing a huge amount of money in the NLP area. However, they tend to market and… leverage on the competitive advantages…they can create first-mover advantages. They can create more loyal customers, and it could create a more important impact in the bottom line.” Artificial Intelligence is no longer just for science fiction movies. It is taking over innovative technology for so many industries including the sports world. With that comes new windows of opportunity for a multitude of companies across the globe.