Individual residencies / Andorra


From Thursday, 12 October 2023 to Thursday, 26 October 2023

Professor de Negoci Digital a la DCU Business School


Theo Lynn is Professor of Digital Business at DCU Business School. He specializes in the role of digital technologies in transforming business and society. His main teaching areas are strategy and digital marketing. He has been published widely and is the Series Editor on the Palgrave Studies in Digital Business & Enabling Technologies. Previously, he has led three research centers and has held several senior academic positions within DCU. He has won over 250 grants representing over €25m in total project funding. He was a PI on the H2020-CloudLightning Project (2015-2017) and H2020-RECAP Project (2017-2019) and is currently a Co-PI on H2020-MENAPreneurs (2022-2024) and AHRC-TOHIF (2021-2023). Professor Lynn received a Bachelor in Business and Legal Studies, an MBS (Management Information Systems) and a PhD (Law), all from University College Dublin. He is an Expert Evaluator for the European Commission and an International Research Fellow at the Information Society Law Center (ISLC) at the Università degli Studi di Milan.


A longitudinal study of organizational adoption of Internet technology in European microstates pre- and post-COVID-19 While at Faber, I propose to work on a study of Internet technology access, use, and outcomes by organizations in the six European microstates – Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City – using an organization’s decision to use a website (and associated technologies) as a proxy for its degree of digitization. By using websites, one can explore a wider range of organizations representing different sectors and size and can explore marketing outcomes using website traffic data sourced from Tranco, Cisco and Majestic, and where possible financial information sourced from commercial databases. This provides us with evidence regarding potential determinants of organizational digital divides amongst the smaller European nations over time and accordingly informs policy interventions. As both grey literature and emerging empirical research suggests an acceleration of digital adoption by organizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I will examine Internet technology adoption longitudinally and thus measure the impact of COVID-19 in the acceleration of website technology adoption in these microstates.

“If you don’t know the way, walk slowly” – Irish proverb.

I have had the great fortune of spending just under two weeks in Andorra on a research residency facilitated by Faberlull Andorra. Nominally, the focus of my residency was to focus on research on digitalisation on microstates however it was also an opportunity to take time out and explore somewhere new. I won’t bore you with the research.

I had been to Andorra with my wife 18 years ago when we were expecting my daughter. It was the summer. It was hot. Not ideal for an expectant mother and naïve future dad.

It was still sunny when I arrived in Andorra la Vella in early October. Well, sunny in Irish terms. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect from my residency. I only knew one Andorran, Meritxell Blanco, but only via e-mail. What did I know about Andorra? It was small, located entirely on a mountain (or maybe more correctly several mountains), and I remember being overwhelmed by duty free shops. 18 years ago, they were redeveloping the city centre in Andorra La Vella, and I was under the impression maybe that Andorra only had two seasons, winter and construction!

An so what did I find? I found a country not unlike Ireland where everyone was friendly and who were might randomly speak to you in Catalan, Spanish or French, Spanish but in the end nearly always had great English. I couldn’t have been treated better. I was picked up at the bus station by Meritxell, driven to a fully-fitted apartment in La Massana, north of Andorra la Vella, and given a bus card and a free pass for any of the Andorran’s museums. Meritxell was always available via WhatsApp to answer any questions and frankly organised all my meetings for me. Everyone I met was welcoming and listened patiently while I talked too fast and too much!

What did I do for two weeks? To be honest, the weather for an Irishman was lovely so I quickly got into a routine of working on my research for 10-12 hours per day interspersed with exploring the many trails (‘cami’) that surround La Massana. I walked north and explored the quaint folksy hill town of Ordino and up into the hills to Sornas, Ansalonga, and beyond. On Sundays, I walked down to Andorra via the Cami Ral de la Massana, a well presented trail that brings you along the river all the way down into Andorra la Vella city centre. Along that walk, you caught a glimpse of all the activities Andorrans probably take for granted and what I probably missed out on – horseriding, rockclimbing, mountainbiking, jogging, to name but a few. Trails in Andorra are incredibly well managed with regular heritage sites and signs including QR codes. A nice surprise for me (and my family at home) were the so-called ‘selfie pals’ dotted around Andorra’s most iconic spots – you just place your smartphone on the stand, set the timer, and strike a pose. There are apparently 35. I only found a few but no doubt it will be a challenge for the more compulsive visitor! If you do visit, make sure you get a selfie at the Bridge of St. Antoni de la Grella and, of course, the Placa de la Rotonda. You’ll have the find the others yourself. If you like public art and street art, you will much to like about Andorra, it pops up in places you least expect. The original bronze sculpture of Salavador Dali’s ‘La Noblesse du temps’ is in the city centre and is worth checking out, but there is so much more. I particularly like Jaume Plensa’s ‘Seven Poets’.

I won’t lie. I rarely walked back up the mountain to La Massana – the buses are just too convenient and will drop you right to the door. My one regret is that I probably should have been more organised and saw some of the towns and iconic sites slightly further away. So take my advice, plan your stay and rent a bike or take a bus and venture slightly further afield than I did.

Some days it did rain. These were the opportunities to explore some of the many museums in Andorra and even La Massana. For example, the Comic Museum is near by the Faberlull Andorra apartment. More than often, I would head out to explore different stores along the Shopping Mile, buy some local foods for dinner, or work in one of the many coffee shops in La Massana and Andorra la Vella. I highly recommend Granier and Grupetta on the main street in La Massana, not least for the free wi-fi and ambience. You’ll find the one thing you’ll miss being outside the EU is no roaming charges. Learn to value free wi-fi, roaming fees kick in very quickly in Andorra every day! Take Meritxell’s advice and get a SIM card for your stay!

Would I recommend doing a Faberlull residency? Absolutely. Any last advice? Bring your walking shoes!

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