An innovation ecosystem specialized in sustainability, tourism, entrepreneurship, AI, and cross-continental African development
In an era defined by technological advancements and evolving social, economic, and environmental needs, the Porto Business School has just introduced the Innovation eXploration Hub (Innovation X Hub – IXH), a dynamic and collaborative hub that embodies a vision of transformative innovation, interdisciplinary co-creation, and positive impact.
This new unit will be centered around five “Impact Centers,” specializing in key areas of sustainability, tourism, entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence (AI), and cross-continental African development. It should be noted that each center will have a management and funding model aligned with businesses, aiming to secure approximately one million euros annually.
Comprising the Sustainable Futures Center, Tourism Futures Center, Entrepreneurship Center, AI for Business Center, and Africa Futures Center, the Innovation X Hub emerges as a response to the pressing need to grasp future global trends and bolster the links between organizations, individuals, entrepreneurs, industry, and academia. It addresses the challenges faced in this new era and guides them towards a promising, impactful, and sustainable future. With a foundation in business needs, it will encompass knowledge creation, project development and implementation, applied research, cutting-edge educational program design, innovative solution co-creation for organizations and individuals, advisory services, support and expertise, and the formation of knowledge sharing and dissemination communities.
The Innovation X Hub will be led and strategically guided by recognized elements, both nationally and internationally. Among the prominent members are Ana Jogo Mendes, director of the innovation and entrepreneurship area of Porto Business School; André Rocha, executive director of Grupo Casais and professor at Porto Business School; Rita Marques, former Secretary of State for Tourism and co-director of the Executive Master in Tourism Management at Porto Business School; Cândida Santos, professor at Porto Business School in the area of People Management and Organizational Culture; and João Barros, professor in the area of Artificial Intelligence at Porto Business School.
José Esteves, dean of the Porto Business School, emphasizes: “The Innovation X Hub aims to strengthen Porto Business School's integration into business ecosystems, reinforcing our impact role on the various stakeholders in the economy and society. In this way, we provide a facilitating platform for leaders and technicians to unite professors, companies, and students in the name of innovation." He adds, “We recognize that global progress doesn’t happen in isolation, and we understand the complexities of teaching for industries. By overcoming these barriers and fostering collaboration, we aspire to a more sustainable and promising future.”
Innovation X Hub
The Sustainable Futures Center will focus on sustainability as a driver of value and impact in a new economic order, where social innovation and equity, environmental management, and economic prosperity mirror the corporate and institutional identity. Its priorities include food security, energy transition, biodiversity, urbanization, mobility, green finance, and the emergence of technologies as enablers of new business models that blend social and environmental spheres with the economic.
The Tourism Futures Center aims to address the main challenges and opportunities in the tourism sector, outlining a path towards a more resilient, digital, sustainable, and inclusive future. The center's objective is to spur innovation in the tourism sector, exploring new areas of development, technologies, and agendas based on national and international partnerships involving the public sector, industry, and academia.
In turn, the Entrepreneurship Center aims to play a crucial role in supporting entrepreneurs by promoting an acceleration culture through activities like training, mentoring, start-up incubation, and facilitating access to financing. Moreover, it will contribute to research by assuming thought leadership in the entrepreneurship sector while building robust networking platforms.
Centered on the power of artificial intelligence for organizations, the AI for Business Center will be a world-class innovation hub for AI, aiming to equip individuals, businesses, and organizations with the knowledge and methodologies needed to transform and expedite their businesses and industries.
Lastly, the Africa Futures Center seeks to establish a cross-continental relationship with Africa through innovative partnerships, knowledge exchange, and inclusive leadership. The strategy will be based on the implementation of bilateral knowledge-sharing mechanisms and the co-creation of solutions for the continent's challenges in talent development, economic advancement, social inclusion, and sustainability.