Chapter 1: Status Quo
David, a business consultant, passes the architectural eyesore each time he travels to lecture at the local faculty of engineering.
Now his university boss has challenged him to transform the site at Springfield, Wolverhampton, into a 21st century learning campus.
Chapter 2: Call to Adventure
Guided by specialists in technology, marketing and learning & development, it’s a mental as well as a physical journey and will take him outside his comfort zone and challenge his thinking.
He signs up for an introductory workshop.
Chapter 3: Assistance
From this 'co-creation' emerges a joint vision for the trip. We create a wish-list and start thinking about audiences and ways of communicating our insights to markets and teams back home. After a couple of weeks of research, using online collaborative tools, we come up with a schedule - with room for the unexpected.
Chapter 4: Commitment
Meanwhile, our media and learning crew assembles in Barcelona.
On the day of departure, someone gets stuck in traffic and nearly misses the plane.
Finally, everyone's heading for the destination.
Chapter 5: Trials
After an adventurous transition, our fellowship of intrepid urban researchers immediately sense there's something different about this 'smart' city. It's clear that this is a very holistic approach to development. At the same time, we're all beginning to learn that, despite the inspiring potentional, the concept of a smart city is still very much work in progress.
Keeping in touch is quite a challenge, in spite of the free street wifi points and an assortment of digital devices, international adapters, roaming bundles and local SIM cards. There's a daunting sense of a looming crisis as the group grapples with time differences, sketchy street maps and a dirth of power points. What time does that office take siesta? Hey, does anyone have pen and paper?
Chapter 6: The Oracle
At one of the world's top business schools, we compare with ESADE's director our creative approaches to encouraging new business; at Barcelona FC, the officials want to talk about international corporate responsibility and engagement with a family of fans.
We're learning that smart cities are much more than technology.
Barcelona's trying to tell us something very important here. It's about values.
Chapter 7: The Approach
It's full-on at the trade fair and world congress, splitting up to cover everyone we want to see. We record meetings on smart phones to share later.
David's on with the hard-hat for a tour of the acres of smart campus construction. There are whole buildings set aside for occupation by partner insitutions abroad.
The entire complex has been designed with the needs in mind of a local Romany estate, including apprenticeships.