Lecture by Enric Renau at event for 15 years of DEP

15 June 2010

Good afternoon

Today we celebrate 15 years of DEP and I wish to thank you on behalf of our team, for attending this event.

I have to say that it makes us very glad to see so many friends, clients, and providers here, both former and current professionals at DEP. We also received many greetings from people who were unable to attend. Many thanks to them.

There is one person, a client, who would have probably joined us today but, unfortunately, is unable to because he has been deprived of his freedom. His name is Albert Vilalta and he’s been held captive in Africa for the past six months. I wish to ask you to give him a hand, to give him strength.

DEP is a business group in the social and educational sphere, consisting of 35 highly-qualified professionals of various disciplines, set up into two companies: DEP Institute and Educaweb.com. We have generated about two million euros, and in 15 years we have worked for more than 200 clients in sociological research and strategic consultancy, and for over 700 clients in academic and professional orientation and in educational advertising.

Through the years, over 100 people have worked on a stable basis at DEP and each one of them has taught us something. It is also likely that many of them also learned about the professional world at DEP.

Today, in spite of the crisis and budgetary cuts, we have been doing well and continue to persevere, as we grow in certain sectors that have proven to go against the cycle as of now. It could surely be said that we are engaged in an enterprise that is entrepreneurial and successful, and that, after 15 years, has been consolidated and holds an important capacity for expansion.

I do not wish to ignore what we have gone through, the moments of difficulty and doubt, as occurs in all business projects.

Today, nonetheless, we celebrate “15 years of social innovation”, and I wish to explain to you the reason behind this idea.

We consider DEP to be a tool for transformation of social reality.

DEP socially innovates because it puts the citizen, the person, as the central focus.

People are important to us, as users of public or private services, the citizens that may be students, infirm, consumers, associates, electors, etc. The citizen, that has doubts, certainties, illusions or worries, modes of conduct or lack or knowledge, attitudes, opinions and behaviours.

Sociology, psychology, political science, academic orientation, demography and marketing are social disciplines that we dominate, the tools that help us to understand what is happening in society and to project that might happen in the future. And, in this way, improve dynamic organisations, be they businesses, administrations or entities of other sectors.
Someone could say: Oh, of course! They do surveys and have focus groups. They compile statistics and prepare tests. They interview people and draw tables and graphs that are published in newspapers and in some Power Point reports.

Of course, we use the best methods to auscultating society. But technique and research are at the service of a higher objective: to transform social, political and business realities and to help bring progress to the people.

In reality, we hold a radical idea about democracy: society, politics, and the economy transform if we the people wish it to do so.

In the context of a crisis in the economy, confidence and traditional values, what occurs to the people must be understood now more than ever. The people must be allowed to speak up, and they must be heard, and those who have the ability to make decisions to benefit the common good must be influenced.

As we say, we have been innovating socially for 15 years.

DEP has been able to innovate for fifteen years because we have had clients that want us to. Since they know that expert knowledge and social information helps them to improve their professional activities and directives, normally entailing enormous responsibilities and public repercussions. Presidents, Counsellors, Mayors, Politicians, General Directors, Marketing or Communications Directors, and Technicians are our spokespeople. A good part of what we are is thanks to you.

In this fifteen year period we have been able to see the complexity of many situations and the presence of many opportunities. We have tried to facilitate the decision-making of our clients, limiting their margin of error and contributing a sincere and impartial vision in the face of doubts and uncertainty.

We have contributed strategic thinking and executive ability in the creation and consolidation of projects.

Perhaps it is this because of this innovative vocation that we have been able to secure such a great future. What is certain is that we are not afraid of future. On the contrary, we believe that for many years now, the great social and economic changes that have been taking place have favoured our professional activity as well as the business model that we created in 1995.

The knowledge economy is an opportunity and a challenge for DEP and likely for developed economies as well. As with the internet, social networks, technology; globalisation and the European Space, the resurgence of national and cultural identities, the renewed commitment to training and education; sustainability, the worry over a greater balance between rich countries and poor countries, the issue of productive activities getting moved abroad and the growth of unemployment.

Through our social research activity and collection of information, order, management and dissemination of information, on the one hand, and strategic consultancy on the other, we see ourselves as strong enough to continue providing support in an efficient, concrete and constant way for a few more years to those people and organisations that ask it of us.

Thank you very much