The Bologna Business School Community met on Saturday, July 7th, at Villa Guastavillani to reflect on the main elements that are revolutionizing the industry, our approach to work and the interaction between people.
The writer and journalist Pier Luigi Celli opened the morning of workshops with an acute analysis about the contradictions of the present. “In times like these that we are experiencing now, nothing is more dangerous than the fact that people confuse opinion and conviction. Ideas do not improve from the contribution of the masses, but they flatten out.” Ideas are actually the common thread between the appointments designed for the XII Reunion of the BBS Alumni. Ideas that can improve the quality of the environment, support inclusion, amplify innovation and build new and unexplored dimensions. Rebel ideas, generated by rebel talents.
Power wants distance, difference. Too often, those in power in organizations perceive as their primary role that of maintaining their position and almost never worry about raising their successor. On the contrary, they tend to discourage the collaborators to have a voice of their own. An organization that creates distance and anonymity, however, generates suffering in the employees, thus nullifying its chances of growth.
Pier Luigi Celli shared with the Community of BBS a preview of his new book, The season of appointments (La stagione delle nomine). The appointment, intended as investiture of power, has a specific weight in organizations that directly affects the balance between people. “We must be very careful about the way in which the career improvement is made official,” continued Celli. “The way people make careers is also the way they will handle power when they get it. For example, fulminating careers do not generate attachment but foreign legionaries.”
A career is a personal journey that separates the individual from others who have worked with him. If career criteria are not clear, discomfort and homogeneity of behaviors are created, leading to a general sterility of ideas. However, a modern organization needs openness and all-round skills in order to grow and compete in the global world. Instead of protecting power it is necessary to start growing responsible people, giving them the right to speak and to have critical and personal thinking.
Also the second meeting of the day speaks about the independence of thought. Francesca Gino, Professor of the Harvard Business School, shared with the participants some conclusions drawn from her ten-year study on decision-making processes and organizational behavior. In her book Rebel Talent, to which the theme of the XII Reunion is inspired, Francesca Gino highlights the negative impact that a blind conformation of the employees to the rules can have on organizations. The rebellion, intended as a constructive questioning of the convictions and processes consolidated in the company, leads to greater commitment by employees, stimulating productivity, creativity and innovation.
Those in charge are called today to encourage their employees to nurture criticism, to guide their continuous learning and to give voice to the authenticity of individuals. Leadership should no longer be understood as a mere decision-making power and control over execution, but as a guide capable of developing the potential of individuals, in order to bring out their creative contribution to the group.
Sustainability, Diversity, Innovation and Digital. These are the titles of the four workshops dedicated to the topics of primary importance for the development of a modern society.
The meeting on sustainability was conducted by Andreco, PhD in Green Technologies for Urban Sustainability, who expresses his scientific research through art. Among his main works we find in Bologna The philosophical tree, a tree painted with paints designed to reduce environmental pollutants, capable of interacting with the environment almost like a living organism. Together with Eugenio Sidoli, CEO of Philip Morris Italy, Claudio Zanardo, CEO of Pirelli Italy and Matteo Mura, Director of the Global MBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses at BBS, was discussed the meaning of sustainability for individuals, companies and society in a broader sense. In addition to improving the living conditions of all, projects related to sustainability are also a key point for the development of geographical areas that are far from the main economic assets. Furthermore, sustainability is taking more and more space in the agendas of global companies, as a commitment to the community but also as a legitimation of their businesses.
From the relationship with the environment to the relationships between people. Francesca Vecchioni and Gabriella Crafa, respectively President and Vice President of Diversity, an association committed against all forms of discrimination, talked about diversity not only as a necessary theme for the development of a healthy and inclusive society, but as a focal point in the management of a company. “It has been always thought that Diversity was an ethical value, something to do, not a business and economic asset. Working on these issues also means producing value, investing. The data that struck companies the most is that by working well on the inclusion, the company’s actual revenue can increase by 16.7%,” explained Francesca Vecchioni. Also contributing to the debate were Gabriele Morandin, Director of the Master in HR & Organization of BBS and Donatella Isaia, Director of Human Resources and Organization at Vodafone Italia, who stated: “there is no way to take an interest in the theme of Diversity in the company if the leaders don’t. Aldo Bisio, CEO of Vodafone, helped me to give the topic the necessary importance.”
Tiziano Toschi, Vice President of Global R&D at Electrolux and Mario Nanni, President of Viabizzuno, ‘ignited’ the debate on innovation by telling the story of two opposing realities: the first, a big corporation, the second, an exceptional tailor’s shop. Two examples of international success achieved thanks to a strong tension towards innovation and adaptability. Through this stories have been identified and investigated the factors that make innovation possible: values, context, training and acceptance of failure. Furthermore, it has emerged the need to invest enough time in innovation processes, without compressing the necessary stages of ideas’ maturation. Riccardo Fini and Sara Valentini, Associate Deans of BBS, reiterated the importance of training in disseminating the culture of innovation, with the ultimate goal of generating economies of experience, stimulating creative processes of design thinking and problem solving, and thus producing progress.
Andrea Falleni, CEO of Capgemini Italy & Eastern Europe, led the workshop on digital transformation. A global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services, Capgemini creates and provides business, technology and digital solutions that enable organizations to achieve a high level of competitiveness through innovation. To benefit from digital technologies are not only the production processes of companies, but also their relationship with customers and the communities that are created around their products. An example of this has been brought to the discussion by Patrizia Cianetti, Ducati Marketing Director, explaining how digital tools have allowed the company to reach its community around the world, making it a participant in the most important events dedicated to Ducatisti. To enrich the debate Maurizio Gabbrielli, Director of the Master in Digital Technology Management and Riccardo Silvi, Director of the Executive Master in Digital Business at BBS.
A surprise workshop, that introduced by the Dean Max Bergami, which saw 30 participants commit themselves to imagine the new school building and generate ideas related to teaching, sustainability, innovation, crowdfunding and services for Alumni. Under the supervision of Maurizio Sobrero, BBS Senior Advisor for Next Production Revolution, practical proposals were developed related to transport and the design of spaces for students, as well as digital solutions to facilitate the circulation of information on campus and between the Alumni.
“This Reunion opens a very demanding year, more than the previous ones. The school is growing and the growth processes are usually not aligned, so it will be necessary to make a further leap in quality to become even more a point of reference in training. Not only on a national scale, but on a European scale. And not only for full-time Masters, but also for businesses,” Max Bergami affirms, leading to the conclusion of two intense days full of food for thought for all the participants. “The reason why this school exists is to give opportunities to people, but also to help companies make the necessary quality leap to face the transition to the global market.”
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