Mara Balestrini is an accomplished Human Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher and practitioner, with 15 years of experience in spearheading digital transformation and innovation projects. She currently works at the Innovation Laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Lab, where she leads the digital transformation program and provides guidance on using disruptive technologies in operations. Prior to this, Mara served as an advisor to the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence in the Government of Spain and as the CEO of the innovation consultancy, Ideas for Change. She’s also a co-founder of SalusCoop, a pioneering Spanish cooperative dedicated to citizens’ health data.
Mara’s educational background includes a PhD in Computer Science from University College London (UCL), an MSc in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media from Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), and a BA in Audiovisual Communications. Beyond her professional roles, Mara is a member of the board of trustees at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and a research fellow at ESADE’s Center for Public Governance (EsadeGov). Her work has been recognized with awards from ACM CHI, ACM CSCW, and Ars Electronica, and has been featured in prominent media outlets, such as the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and El País