“Slow Dating for Innovation”
With Giuseppe De Nicola, Director of the Ampioraggio Foundation

With the Jazz’inn format, you were the first to launch the concept of slow dating. How did this idea come about?

“Jazz’Inn was born to save a Jazz Festival in 2017 in Pietrelcina. To save this Jazz Festival we came up with a dating format using the World Café methodology, thus based on working tables away from big cities, side by side with convivial moments. At the end of the first edition we discovered that having the participants stay for 24-48 hours, moving them from the sort of comfort zone that only allowed them to exchange a few notes, allowed them to be protagonists and put them in a position to confront each other and participate actively. This first edition brought out a whole series of needs, and an initiative born for other purposes turned out to be a perfect model of Open Innovation, an occasion in which people had a way to confront each other and overcome the barriers typical of events on startups and innovation innovation. The first collaborations and synergies began to emerge at that point. That’s when we coined the term “Slow Dating for Innovation.”

What is the current focus of the foundation?

Last year, in September, after seven years of activity we have obtained legal recognition as a participatory foundation and research organization from the Ministry this led us on the one hand to make a kind of stocktaking of what we have done in these years and on the other hand also to figure out what is the way forward. As a foundation we have focused on five thematic areas: hamlets and inland areas, as far as their regeneration is concerned; open innovation, with the goal of helping companies meet innovation; capacity building and the topic of skills training; Smart City and Smart Citizen, basically a topic related to transformation of cities and people; and then Innovation Consulting, also with acceleration projects like the one we have been carrying out with Accelerate Italy for a few years now. These five areas have become the focus of the foundation, and of course we are structuring ourselves to be able to address and manage this transformation process with a new transparent governance by separating the powers between boards of directors and boards of trustees. We are following several more or less small more or less large investments of both start-ups and enterprises and other areas of activity on the inland areas so the theme is quite diversified on those five assets indicated.

What is Made in Italy for you?

For me, Made in Italy is tourism, cultural heritage, an economy linked to the potential of territories, the agro-industry of handicrafts. Basically it is creativity, process and product innovation and problem solving typical of our entrepreneurs. However, I see a major risk factor arising from more than 30 years of failure of our productive and industrial fabric to renew itself, flanked also by a pulverization and undercapitalization of our enterprises. Let us say that Italian family capitalism is certainly not a guarantee, except in a few cases. The issue needs to be addressed with due attention. Made in Italy for me is not only what is produced in Italy and what is thought of in Italy but what is imagined Italy and it can be material or immaterial. It can be a bag, just as it can be a pair of shoes, a dress, or a cultural product such as a film or a book. We need all these things to be able to connect with each other, to connect with the emotions and emotionality of those who “buy Italy” and not just a brand. It is necessary to improve the ability of our system to attract to the country and to its own excellence. Innovation must be brought into the country so that it becomes a competitive tool and so that the combination of product and place of production becomes the true uniqueness of Made in Italy, a uniqueness that others do not have.

Ti consigliamo…