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“Without dialogue between all parties and without empathy, major transformations cannot be achieved”
Adrian Jofre Bosch, UPF Economics Alumni, partner and president of beBartlet, among the 100 most creative people in the business world in 2022 according to Forbes España.
Adrian Jofre Bosch, a graduate in Economics from Pompeu Fabra University (class of 2015), is currently a partner and president of beBartlet, the first public advocacy firm in Spain that he founded together with Nacho Corredor, also a UPF graduate, in Political and Administration Sciences.
Last September, the magazine Forbes España included him in its list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2022, “100 men and women from a multitude of sectors, who demonstrate inventiveness, adaptation and experience to face the challenges posed by an increasingly competitive and uncertain environment”.
An adjunct lecturer at the IE University, ESADE and the Diplomatic School of Spain, he is president of PYMEC Jóvenes, the Catalan employers’ representative of young entrepreneurs in Madrid; a member of the Advisory Board of Blum - Venture Building for Social Impact, and of 1Planet4All of the NGO Ayuda en Acción.
He has been a business consultant in the field of digitization, M&A and new business models, and has also worked as a political analyst for CNN en Español and in various media, in addition to being a collaborating researcher at the Elcano Royal Institute.
After his time at UPF, he studied a master of Science (MSc) in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School; and he recently participated in the Georgetown Leadership Seminar (GLS) at Georgetown University.
—A few months ago, the magazine Forbes España chose you to appear in the list of the 100 most creative people in business in 2022. How do you appraise this recognition?
I take this distinction as acknowledgement of beBartlet and the work of the whole team. To be considered creative by offering professional consulting services is not easy; it is a highly specialized sector with many players. At beBartlet we have managed to develop a differential model based on public advocacy, our high social sensitivity and an intergenerational logic. We combine a millennial leadership layer made up of professionals who have held positions of responsibility since very early on, with a circle of advisors with decades of experience. We have reversed the usual dynamics.
—Forbes highlights that beBartlet is the first public advocacy firm to incorporate the Anglo-Saxon model of advocacy. Can you tell us what this model that defines you consists of and how it differs from the traditional one?
The advocacy model combines the ability to communicate with the necessary sensitivity to read the context in which we are moving, not just in terms of market or consumption, but also of values, windows of opportunity, political, social and economic context. Nowadays, it is crucial to adapt to the context to develop any strategy and, at the same time, contribute responsibly to shaping public debate. These values have become our credentials to become a leading firm within the communication and public affairs sector in Spain.
—Is the fact that the people leading beBartlet are young, members of generation Y, one of the keys to this success?
Undoubtedly, beBartlet’s success is partly because we are a transversal team; there are economists, journalists, political scientists, jurists, internationalists and even an engineer. What unites us all is that we are people with a high degree of social sensitivity as a result of all of our experiences in the media, university, non-governmental organizations and institutions. We know the foundations of organized civil society and the public and private sectors first-hand. This, together with the knowledge and experience of our consultants, enhances our capabilities in building relations between companies, public institutions, and their alliances, ties and relationship with society.
"At beBartlet, we have identified the need for emerging political, media and business leaders to embrace the importance of their role in society"
—To interpret the reality and influence society is it essential to get to know the younger generations in depth? Does the Observatorio de #NuevosLiderazgosbB (new leadership observatory), your project that identifies new emerging talents, go along these lines?
At beBartlet, we have identified the need for emerging political, media and business leaders to embrace the importance of their role in society. The Observatorio de #NuevosLiderazgosbB is a space for intragenerational and plural dialogue between institutions and civil society. We have managed to involve various representatives of society in our activities: senior government officials, MPs, MEPs, mayors, councillors, as well as opinion leaders, entrepreneurs and leaders of companies and non-governmental organizations. Without dialogue between all parties and without empathy, major transformations cannot be achieved.
—Is a new, more creative and innovative vision needed to mobilize and engage public opinion? What role do new technologies play in this process?
Social networks such as Twitter or Instagram have increased the information available and made it easier for citizens to participate in public debate in a decentralized manner. In addition, new forms of communication have emerged that have influenced the way companies or social entities relate to society, and more recently, they have reached politics and public institutions. Also, these new media and formats have made a lot of noise, and it is difficult to distinguish what is information and what is fake news. Hence the importance not only of mastering the new formats of communication and public advocacy, but also of fostering quality public debate, based on data and evidence.
—Do gaps like the digital, generation, gender or territorial make it more complicated to achieve this goal?
The current context is one of great complexity, where numerous gaps coexist that affect and mobilize citizens in multiple directions. These gaps represent an opportunity to generate new debates and involve different social and collective environments in shaping public opinion, beyond the traditional elites that are usually present. At beBartlet we are working to build transversal and plural spaces for the exchange of experiences and reflection, one of the most important contributions that can be made from the private sector to society as a whole. We also advise our clients to develop self-regulation policies, in which the corporate and social leaders themselves proactively and constructively propose solutions for these gaps.
"If we actively practised negotiation, we would surely live in societies with better coexistence and understanding"
—Are these gaps one of the main causes of the difficulties in resolving conflicts in our society and reaching agreements in negotiation processes? In this sense, the current political scene is hardly a good reflection…
We are living in a highly polarized context. There are many actors on the political and social scene who see an opportunity to gain from these divisions and are actively working to break the major consensuses. In this regard, it is important to negotiate as a philosophy of life. To sit down at a table to discuss solutions that can meet citizens’ real needs, instead of constantly arguing in the most superficial layer of the cultural battle. If we actively practised negotiation, we would surely live in societies with better coexistence and understanding. In a better democracy.
—While you were at UPF you were vice-president of the association deb-t.org, and you’ve been linked to the NGO Ayuda en Acción for years. Does this kind of involvement provide tools to better understand the problems of society?
Participation in organized civil society is something I have always enjoyed. It has made me sensitive to unfamiliar environments, opened paths for me and has allowed me to meet people from different fields, as well as to understand other visions, approaches and ways of doing and thinking that are different from mine. My time at deb-t.org allowed me to meet Nacho Corredor, whom I consider a good friend since then and with whom, years later, I founded beBartlet. In fact, beBartlet exists thanks to UPF and its ecosystem of associations.
"beBartlet exists thanks to UPF and its ecosystem of associations"
Currently, parallel to my work at beBartlet, I chair PYMEC Jóvenes Madrid, where we represent young entrepreneurs and SMEs. And I continue to volunteer for the NGO Ayuda en Acción, now as a member of the Advisory Board of 1Planet4All, an initiative to fight the climate crisis. Through my interactions with young activists, I know the views of younger generations concerning climate change and learn from them. I am also vice-president of the Columbia Alumni Association, where we promote equitable access to education of excellence.
— What memories do you have of your time spent at UPF?
Even if it is not very glamorous to acknowledge it, I remember studying a lot and taking it very seriously. But what I remember most about uni is everything that happened outside the actual Economics degree. All the activities and talks by guests and speakers, organized by the various faculties and student associations. Debate leagues, United Nations models, courses and supplementary training… These extracurricular activities were truly transformative and made the difference for me, as well as all the people I met when participating in them, many of whom I am still in touch with today.
"The great value of negotiation and conflict resolution is collective decision-making"
—Do you think that the public university deals sufficiently with conflict resolution and negotiation? Should they be given more weight in the curricula?
Since the emergence of international markets and trade and the scaling-up of technology, we human beings are increasingly interconnected with each other and are more interdependent. The great value of negotiation and conflict resolution is collective decision-making. If we want to find solutions to the major challenges facing us as a country and reach a consensus, young people must develop these skills as part of their training.
Soft skills should have more weight in the academic curriculum. Even pre-university, at high school or college. Therefore, the public university in Spain must strengthen its curricula by introducing more training in skills, starting with negotiation and conflict resolution. And it should be cross-cutting, applicable to any university degree course. I am sure that we would then live in more peaceful, tolerant and less polarized societies.