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Innovation And You


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Innovation And You

  1. 1. Innovation and You Reflexions on the relationship between innovation and change and the urgent need to tackle the real problems of Italian small and medium enterprises through a new paradigm that puts collaboration and cooperation at the heart of the process of innovation. by Maureen Kelsey Contribution of Italian ISTAT data by Paola De Vecchi GalbiatiWe live in accelerated times when innovations like youtube, facebook and twitter insomething like the blink of the eyes revolutionized the way we communicate andbehave, made an unknown woman an overnight international singing sensation andgenerated 21,000 RSVPs to a 15th birthday party using facebook invitations.At the same time we face diminishing resources, overcrowded markets, an economicsystem in the throes of change, to some as yet undetermined new form, massive jobloss, declining standards of living within the traditional industrial powers andincreased racial tensions that destabilize society.Usually, we think about what we want to do and then how can we fund it when reallythe most important question is: how do we maximize our efforts and expand ourimpact to convert good intentions into real positive change for the better?A powerful example is the American national project “Stand Up to Cancer” (SU2C)that has dramatically changed the scientists from competition to collaboration and hastransformed attitudes and behaviors from the labs to the patient within 2 years.“The manifesto —This is where the end of cancer begins. When together we become aforce unmistakable. A movement undeniable. A light that cannot dim. When we takeour wild impossible dreams and make them possible. Make them true when togetherwe rise as one when we stand up. When we Stand Up To Cancer.SU2C engaged and energized the public and key stakeholders using these cancer-related statistics: 1
  2. 2. Ending cancer would be worth $50 trillion to the US economy.One out of two men and one out of three women will be diagnosed with cancer.1,500 Americans die from cancer every day.One American dies of cancer every minute.There are nearly 11 million cancer survivors in America right now.” (link should beunderneath “Stand Up to Cancer”)This is an example of how it is possible to deeply change and in a brief timeframe alarge health care system approach to cancer in which operates an infinity of diverseinterests. Starting from a strong motivation for change, people coming from variousbackgrounds took part in this endeavor, and because of their common strong desirefor improvement participated in process innovation, redesigning roles andrelationships between doctor and patient and between scientific research andapplication in the field.The collaboration and cooperation were fundamental pillars on which the innovationand improved health system approach to cancer were based. The individuals of variedbackgrounds involved in this project (family, patients, survivors, oncologists,financiers, etc) had and still have a common interest that prevails over personal or aparticular special interest.Therefore, one can see that the collaborative approach, the research and definition ofcommon interests have been given recognition as a priority with a respect toindividual interests. This approach could be extended to the observation of otherrealities and other resolutions of other problems.Lets look at the macro economic data on small and medium Italian enterprises—thebackbone and engine of our economy—to their employees, their customers andsuppliers and the social eco-fabric in which they work.“In Italy there are about 4.5 million of these companies: 95% have fewer than 10employees representing 46% of all workers, while only 0.08% have more than 250employees and absorb another 20% of total employment (2009 data).The unemployment rate rose 8.5% in the second quarter of 2010, an increase of morethan 1% over the same period in 2009, and is the highest unemployment level since2003. People seeking employment reached 2,136,000 units.In 2009 families in relative poverty were 2,657,000, accounting for 10.8% of all 2
  3. 3. families; 7,810,000 persons are living in poverty or 13.1% of the population. In 2009the relative poverty line was at 930 Euros, which is about 17 Euros less than 2008”.(see ISTAT for national statistics ).This signifies that our economic model requires rethinking in our PMI operations andour local practices and then measuring the effects on a global scale.In our hyper-rational Western world, more than ever we need to engage our heartsand imagination to solve our common challenges. Ask yourself; is there any othercountry in the world that has so much heart, imagination and creativity? Let’s unboxourselves and leverage what we have in common with the abundant and right mix ofavailable resources.The improvement of business performance for Italian SMEs in both the national andglobal arenas passes through a change of perspective—we use our brain powerunited with passion and the imagination that has always distinguished us in the world,and to it we add the ingredient of collaboration engaging our best resources focusingourselves on our national priority.Let’s use a laser-like, cooperative, collaborative approach and create an initiative, anational task force with the strategic goal of innovating our markets and increasingour international trade unleashing ourselves from the chains of our past with our best-in-world class—fashion, textile, food and beverage, mobile technology, interior design,tourism, artisanship.To get to the highest levels of quality and performance, one must go through the doorof culture. McKinsey Quarterly currently reports the majority of companies are seekinginnovation through the organization, which is culture, and remains focused on corebusiness. (url for words McKinsey Quarterly)From one side technological innovation has allowed a free flow of information andconsequently a broadening of the labor market at a global level, from the other side itbrings attention to the scarce capacity of the world economy to guarantee workproductivity and talent management .A lowered birth rate and a workforce that is no longer young in most developedeconomies makes it difficult for companies to obtain constant growth without theirimplementing concrete improvements in productivity. The developing economies mustbecome more innovative in finding and keeping talented employees and improvingneeded skills, the largest skill deficits are in three functions: management, researchand development and strategy. 3
  4. 4. We are hungry for a cultural transformation guided by a holistic vision that operates inthe real world which is made up of living organisms; people are not machines. We arehungry to change for the better which means cooperation that achieves improvedprosperity and quality of life that is all inclusive.An agile, flexible environment of collaboration and cooperation of stakeholders —SMEs, Confindustria, Government and Academia — is essential to develop a strategicnational initiative and deploy our best quantified and qualified professional humanresources to carry out the mission using accessible at no cost physical infrastructures.We have given life to a new initiative: Call to Change, an observatory and a laboratorythat brings together Italian and foreigners, ideas and examples that aid in opening themind and broaden our horizons having as the aim to innovate our markets anddeveloping our international trade.It is in everyones interest to find common ground; we turn to the artisans, small andmedium size business owners, professionals, university and high education studentsand their teachers.This will allow us to address the topic of innovation and change like a product—toanalyze, improve and redesign.Which innovations to implement—strategy planning and execution; which innovationsto introduce and incorporate in relationship between the problems and their possiblesolutions and in the organization of the work; and which innovations to propose to theinstitutions to redesign together with the value of work and creativity. Call to Changeis for everyone who desires to participate in building a society open to change.Call to Change has a page on Facebook ( that lets you share ideas, discussions, initiatives andconcrete examples that help us to explore the theme of innovation and to define howwe can (because you should) affect change. 4