BOTIGA TESTER – The Tester shop and the spiral of innovation

Miquel Àngel Julià Hierro, design and marketing director at Grup Idea, has participated as a collaborator in the book ‘Botiga Tester’, an initiative led by Creu Coberta, in collaboration with Barcelona City Council. The project consists of creating a ‘tester shop’ or ‘trial shop’ that would be owned by the municipality and would be rented at affordable prices to new commercial initiatives, but for a short period of time. The project, already implemented in some districts of the city of Paris, aims to support new business initiatives, promote the revival of a local economy, improve social links and local employment.

In the article ‘La Botiga Tester i l’Espiral de la Innovació’, Miquel Àngel reflects on innovation in retail, the strategy prior to design and the importance of having professionals in the creation and launch of a business:

Creu Coberta, together with Barcelona City Council, is initiating and leading the ‘Botiga Tester’ project, an innovative and disruptive project compared to what has been done so far in other European cities such as Paris. The project consists of creating a ‘tester shop’ that would be owned by the municipality and would be rented at affordable prices to new commercial initiatives, but for a short period of time.

This project goes much further and can help us to define a broader city and territorial strategy.Before implementing any business, it is necessary to design it, not only the physical space but also the digital space, the services it will offer and the whole universe that revolves around the trader, the consumer and the product it will offer. Prior to this design, a strategy is needed that specifies the conceptualisation of what is called the business model.


The role of the architect in the conceptualisation of the business model


Although it may seem a good idea to think about the Botiga Tester from the inside as an interior design project, what is necessary is to have a transversal view from other points of view in addition to that of architects, interior designers or decorators.

It is necessary for the architect to think “out of the box”. Because an architect not only designs buildings and interior spaces, but the first thing he or she does is to design strategies that will later allow spaces to be designed. The architect acts as a hinge between the business world and the Design world and must act as a guiding thread so that business ideas can finally become tangible and are not lost along the way.

So, when we start the process we are divergent, we have more ideas and more questions than answers. After this first work there is a turning point and it is time to choose and discard. In the last phase of the project we must prototype and test before launching it definitively on the market.

It is in this last phase where the Botiga Tester is located and makes sense. And once we open a shop, it is not the end of the line, it is where the commercial activity begins and the necessary dynamisation of the point of sale appears. Through methodologies such as the Spiral of Innovation, it is possible to understand the creative process of a commercial space, not as a closed design cycle but as an open spiral, which never stops growing and which enriches future projects as you evolve (or revolutionise).

Consult the original publication on the Botiga Tester website (in Catalan).