In the South, innovation and work become harmonious
The future of work is already present, with these words Francesco Cicione introduces himself , a visionary manager and expert in active and inclusive policies who managed to do what many had never imagined… to convince private individuals (including the Infrastructure Fund for Growth of Azimut) to invest millions of euros in Calabria to create an innovation center for businesses and startups that is unique in Europe. innovation.
It’s called the Harmonic Innovation Hub: inspired by the fascinating concept of Harmonic Innovation, it will be much more than an incubator, but a real fertile ecosystem for the birth and growth of companies aimed at the entire MEDA area (Europe and the Mediterranean). To understand how Harmony can be applied to innovation and work transformation, we talked about it with its creator.
What is the Harmonic Innovation Hub and how was this project born?
“Harmonic Innovation Hub is a total platform for innovation that aims to accompany companies, territories and public administrations in the challenges of the digital, environmental and socio-economic transition through the involvement of the most important players, research centers, startups and investment funds. investment, for the affirmation of concrete and virtuous paths of sustainable growth with a strong impact.
The project was born from the counterintuitive, unlikely and possible intuition of creating in Southern Italy, in Calabria, in the heart of the Mediterranean, a large campus for innovation on the model of the most advanced world benchmarks, with an eye to the Mediterranean, more in general to the EUMENA Region, and to the geo-political and geo-strategic role that, in the wake of Braudel and La Pira,
How many companies are participating in the Innovation Hub, from which sectors? And what do they find in the hub?
“To date we have formalized more than 150 expressions of interest from large national and international players, SMEs and startups operating mainly in the areas of the circular economy, manufacturing, life sciences, intelligent society and technological finance.
In the hub, which will be fully operational from the second half of 2023, you will have the opportunity to be supported throughout the innovation chain: from R&D and technology transfer activities to scale-up activities, passing through incubation processes, acceleration, venture building, R&D valorization, venture capital, training etc. Ours will be one of the very few hubs in which all these aspects can be managed in a single and organic physical context “.
What are the objectives of the hub based in Calabria will be able to cross the borders of the territory?
«The objective is to concretely place itself at the service of the sustainable growth needs of the territories of the Mediterranean area. We pursue this perspective with determination and awareness. In the meantime, it is already an important fact that important national and international players are part of the project ».
You often talk about harmonic innovation, what does it mean?
«The paradigm of harmonic innovation, the result of an original research work developed within our ecosystem which is now establishing itself in the international reference community, is a further evolutionary stage of the concept of innovation. For many centuries, in fact, innovation has been characterized by a closed model based on the idea of competition.
In the last twenty years, then, the advent of globalization and the network have marked the transition to the era of open innovation, characterized by a strong collaborative tension. Today, in our opinion, the time has come to take another step forward. From our point of view, we need a harmonious innovation, capable, in the communion of talents, of guaranteeing a sustainable, equitable, inclusive, cohesive and generative growth.
An innovation at the service of the framework of the most important global policies: UN Agenda 2030, Green New Deal, Next Generation EU, National Recovery and Resilience Plan. And why not, also with the magisterium expressed by the encyclicals Laudato Be and Brothers all of Pope Francis, which in a prophetic way have introduced the powerful perspective of integral ecology “.
And what does harmony have to do with it?
«Many times, in the past, the concept of“ harmony ”has been used in different cultures and disciplines: in mythology (daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, as well as wife of Cadmus) with the ensuing meanings; in mathematics and physics with the equilibria it implies; in music with the resulting ecstasy; in the social sciences with the aspirations and utopias it has nurtured; in oriental culture.
Ours is a new and original way, at the same time strong with many roots. In our perspective, in fact, the reference to the concept of “harmony” takes on a more “essential” and “constitutive” dimension. In the frame of harmony, the concept of innovation takes on new light in the Pythagorean perspective, which is both aesthetic and moral, logical-mathematical and philosophical-humanistic at the same time.
The culture of harmony, understood as a “method”, can, in fact, valuing different thoughts, at the same time overcoming both the tendency to exasperate politically correct relativism and the habit of the intransigent radicalization of absolutist dogmatism, in this perennial push towards the ever new novelty that moves humanity, emancipating it from the risk of single thought ( or unique and mutually exclusive thoughts).
This is why it is called Harmonic Innovation. The goal is to reiterate the ontological urgency that the reference to the concept of innovation as a solution or policy of reaction to the Covid-19 emergency and, more generally, to the construction of a “fragment of the future”, has value and stigma of concrete practicability only if able to recover a “heart”,
What innovation to facilitate the exit from the Covid-19 emergency?
«We need a courageous and cognitively dissonant innovation, capable of enabling a tangible paradigmatic shift in the consolidated development model that has revealed all its limits, its contradictions, its unacceptable inequalities and injustices. The next will be the decades that humanity will transition into a new dimension. From the analog economy to the digital and knowledge economy, from classic monetarism to impact finance, from fossil fuels to renewable sources. These are momentous challenges. Precisely for this reason we need, at the same time, an innovation capable of meaning.
An ethically based innovation that knows how to synthesize science and wisdom, between technique and humanism, between rationality and spirituality. An innovation that is not afraid of confronting the concept of limit. Ultimately, we need an innovation that is friendly to man and that always has in mind the first origin, the becoming and the ultimate goal of life, in order to always be at the service of an integral development of the person. This, in fact, is what we call harmonic innovation ».
What role can and should innovation play in job transformation? What will tomorrow’s work be like?
«Innovation is at the same time cause and effect of the profound transformative process that is affecting the world of work. Various and highly authoritative scenario studies tell us that about 30% of the jobs that will be established already in 2025, do not even exist today.
Furthermore, in a world that is evolving at the speed of light, the “skill mismatch”, or the inefficient allocation of human resources, has become a global scourge and at the same time one of the most powerful indicators of system inefficiency or delay. In fact, consider that the misalignment between the skills required by companies and those possessed by workers actually affects 1.3 billion people in the world, reducing labor productivity by 6% globally and generating every year, always on a global scale, about 5 trillion dollars of lost productivity.
If we zoom in on Italy, our country’s delays are evident: we are last in computer skills, next to last in terms of graduates, third in the world for the misalignment between the study disciplines chosen by young people and the needs of the labor market. What does all this depend on? Probably from an educational, training, organizational, productive and regulatory system forged on the needs of an industrial society, made up of standardized social and legal productions and behaviors.
These are obsolete models in a world of work that evolves at the speed of light. Who need innovation to produce innovation. We need to encourage, also in terms of legislation, the propensity for innovation and related experimentation. We need collaborative and non-repressive state apparatuses. It is about that “leap in efficiency and status” which is no longer derogable to which President Mattarella referred in his inauguration speech ».
To achieve all this, launch startups, make them last and make profits, to innovate and allow SMEs to collaborate online, don’t you think we need more management?
«Management is fundamental. Our times require new ownerships and unprecedented, open, creative managers who, in the key of open innovation, promote and favor the transition from vertical knowledge to horizontal integration of the widespread domains of intervention, through an interdisciplinary, fluid and multilevel, integrated and organic, combining socio-economic and humanistic disciplines with scientific and technological ones, to be able to dominate dispersed knowledge, while preserving its sense, direction and centrality of the person and of the reference values.
This need is a priority both in startups, where young and often inexperienced teams need the necessary solidity to balance their strong creative propensity, as well as in the most established societies and organizations (including public ones) where resistance to change and the strong tendency to conservation become, on the other hand, a barrier to the future. “The future is living in the possibility” wrote Emily Dickinson, in an extraordinary and powerful verse of her. The manager is one of the most powerful enablers of any potential still unexpressed or to be expressed ».
Can the concept of temporary management or horizontal management, managers who lend their skills to several companies work?
«I would say that today it is almost a necessity. In the era of society and the fluid enterprise, an equally fluid manageriality cannot fail to exist which, in an effort of continuous trespassing of domain and context, acts as an enabler of extended collaborative dynamics of contamination and cross-fertilization. Provided, however, that a strong culture of result orientation is cultivated.
And that every contribution is made functional to the creation of stable, lasting and increasingly aware company organizations. The recourse to the temporary manager must be a support and not a substitute for a healthy, efficient, effective and effective internal structure “.
copyright by: Francesco Cicione