Rimini Meeting 2017, building a future beyond the paradigms
Transforming the legacy of the past into opportunity, opening the mind and trusting in youth, encouraging them to believe in their ideas and in innovation to construct a better future. This, according to Ernesto Ciorra, Head of Innovation and Sustainability at Enel, is the approach that large Italian companies should be taking in order to maximize our country’s resources and support Italy’s economic recovery.
The theme was at the centre of the event “Economic Development: the Resources of Italy,” on 22 August as part of the 38th edition of Rimini Meeting, which included the participation of Carlo Calenda, Minister of Economic Development.
The debate, which was introduced by Bernhard Scholz, President of Compagnia delle Opere, touched on the major economic themes and current issues, focusing on those crucial to the capacity of the industrial and manufacturing system to innovate. For the Head of Innovation and sustainability at Enel, nowadays industry and medium-sized Italian firms have a big opportunity to “work together to create a better future, giving life to an environment that encourages innovation.”
Expanding on the slogan for the 2017 edition of the Meeting, “What you have inherited from your fathers, earn over again, or it will not be yours,” a quote by Goethe, Ciorra underlined that “young people today are not inheriting secure jobs nor an economy that is booming or the opportunity to save. This slogan rings true but we can do much more than what we have inherited. We can improve in terms of pollution, working for a society with lower levels of crime and more jobs. Within this context the role of companies is to create opportunities for development. We can make the most of our young talents, providing them with opportunities to create start-ups and to co-develop technology in Italy and beyond.”
This is the model of Open Innovation that Enel follows in order to involve those with new ideas in the work of advanced technological environments like those in Israel or Silicon Valley with the aim of obtaining economic resources and developing innovative businesses.
It is, therefore, fundamental to focus on the youngsters. “A large proportion of innovation that is considered hardly possible is not even attempted because mental barriers block its progress. Young people have the capacity to go beyond the established paradigms, however,” explains Ciorra. “It is important that large companies take action to bring complementary skills together,” but it is equally central to be innovative from within.
At Enel, Ciorra continued, initiatives have been set up such as “no more excuses”, that aims to change the old company culture, stimulating people at risk with their own ideas, attempting new ways to resolve the challenges linked to work and abolishing “the usual excuses” that inhibit innovation; excuses such as “that’s never been done before”, “we’ve tried but it didn’t work”, “we’ll do it later”.
Cooperating and sharing expertise is, therefore, the key to making networks and bringing the open innovation approach to the Italian business mentality.
“Creating a collaborative and connected environment in Italy and abroad to incentivize young minds and improve the world is what we are trying to do and what we call Open Italy: connecting start-ups and large Italian companies with international firms, start-ups, institutions, universities research centres, independent innovators and associations to create networks and opportunities to build a better world”
– Ernesto Ciorra, Head of Innovation and Sustainability, Enel
Following this approach over the last two years Enel has scouted 1600 start-ups and now has 80 active collaborations. This model has enabled us to support Italian start-uppers to develop and improve technology and products and to introduce them to venture capital investors in Italy and abroad, thus leading to the creation of new jobs in sectors of high technology and helping our young talents to remain, and in some cases, return to our country.
The speech by the Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, underlined the necessity to continue to support industrial policies capable of bringing the Italian productive system into the era of Industry 4.0. With reference to the recent positive data on the Italian economic recovery, Calenda advised those present not to lower their guard and to continue to work hard. “We have not overcome the crisis,” he observed, “the crisis will be overcome when we recover the GDP and we recover the jobs that have been lost.”
Also contributing to the debate on the future and resources of the Italian economy was Marco Ceresa, CEO of Randstad Italia, Paolo Pandozy, CEO of Engineering and Sergio Solero, President and CEO of BMW Italia.
Enel, the main partner of the event, is present at Rimini Meeting 2017 until Saturday 26 August with a significant exhibition space, where, amongst games and entertainment, visitors could learn about how the world of energy is changing and its key role for accessing the most innovative technology.