About us

The term Open Innovation was first coined by Henry Chesbrough in 2003. It is a new inspiring strategy where firms uncover opportunities for pure innovation. To do so, enterprises go beyond their internal boundaries and cooperate with external professionals and entities. That is, it is how companies can successfully access external sources of innovation and likewise effectively commercialise their innovation capabilities, resources and outcomes.

Telefónica R&D has a department that actually looks at trends and how technology is supposed to develop in the future. All these trends insights identify possible partners for some of the innovation projects and, in this way, allow for an effective Open Innovation collaboration.

Telefónica R&D has been thoroughly engaged with Open Innovation. They acknowledged how it requires flexibility to deal with the challenges arising from cooperating with companies who have a different way of working and different way to approach innovation. Thus, in its effort to empower this commitment, Telefónica R&D began to look for opportunities in different backgrounds and areas, where Gastronomy appeared to be an outstanding opportunity in the creativity arena.

Ferran Adrià was already a Brand Ambassador of Telefónica´s, when an Open Innovation collaboration was started with Telefónica R&D.

Please, check this webinar for more details on the Open Innovation collaboration between ElBulliFoundation and Telefonica R&D.

This collaboration also generated enough interest in the Barcelona Business community, so as to invite David López (elBulliFoundation CTO) and Pere Obrador (Telefonica R&D Open Innovation Program Manager) to the BizBarcelona Conference, and present the experience of this Open Innovation initiative.

Telefónica R&D and Ferran Adrià, an Open Innovation partnership

elBulliFoundation was created when elBulli, awarded as the best restaurant in the world during multiple years in a row, closed down.

elBulliFoundation, in its origins, it had two goals:

  • To safeguard the legacy of elBulli restaurant which included the restaurant itself and the documentation generated during its lifetime
  • To craft a creative archive organizing and classifying the knowledge of modern western cuisine: BulliPedia.

This second goal seemed to fit perfectly with TEF’s purpose of entering deeply in their Open Innovation programme and, hence, they started working with el bulliFoundation in Nov 2011.

However, in order to avoid cultural and language misunderstandings, elBulliFoundation CTO collaborated as an Expert in Residence at Telefónica R&D during one full year. In this way, he got to know better how Telefónica R&D worked and was able to get in touch with its culture and language. At the same time the elBulliFoundation CTO taught Telefónica its language and approach to innovation of Haute cuisine.

Three months later, Ferran Adrià gave an inspirational speech at Telefónica R&D, and set forth 7 challenges that he thought would be worth while solving, from his Gastronomy point of view. Five different 10Fridays projects (20% off type projects) got started this way, a few of which evolved into the Bullipedia project, and another one into a Creativity Diary for Cooks.

Once it is finished, Bullipedia will be the most complete and structured gastronomical creative file in the history of western gastronomy. Bullipedia was one of elBullifoundation’s goals but, throughout time, it has widened its scope. Nowadays, it includes an extensive range of working areas:

  • Bullipedia, as mentioned
  • elBulli1846, an exhibition that shows how a simple restaurant became a gastronomical world leader
  • elBulliDNA, the exhaustive analysis of a gastronomical process

In 2014, Telefónica I+D developed Telefónica Digital Food Lab to be able to face all these challenges. Since then, a team of designers and programmers are developing projects, providing technology assistance and engaging in the creation of the digital future of gastronomy, co-located with elBulliLab, near the Plaza de España, in Barcelona, Spain.


Our technologies are developed at two main locations, namely:


elBulliLab is the location of elBulliFoundation in Barcelona. It includes a working area and an exhibition area, where elBulliFoundation shows the latest projects and objectives.

Telefónica R&D Lab

The lab is located on Telefonica headquarters in Torre Diagonal 00. More than 150 people from different disciplines, ranging from design, user experience, software development, operations, etc.

All around the world

Digital communications have enabled ubiquitous presence and new ways to be up-to-date on ongoing activities.