Riccardo Paterni

The speed of change fuelled by innovation

No matter what kind change is happening around us, it is fuelled by many different sources: technological, business development, societal, overall economic and financial and certainly also regulatory. We need to become part of this flow of change by anticipating it, synchronising with it, stimulating it in order to benefit at best from the opportunities it generates (if we are able to look at it from many perspectives) and managing at best the solutions it requires.

change

The focus on innovation development and processes represents the power of the speed we need to reach. How to reach it depends from many of the different variables that fuel change itself, yet the a mindset shift and development often represents the key aspect to that speed of change we are  able to reach and handle. This article gives some interesting perspectives on these factors.

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Leveraging on Motorsport dynamics to better understand the ones of business today

When we talk about speed, change and complexities of business nowadays we are often puzzled by the many factors that affect the survival and development of small, midsize and large organisations. Technology, markets, finance, regulatory constraints, all of them represent at the same time challenges and opportunities for growth.

Motorsport, by its very nature, increasingly represents a powerful concentration and integrated mix of all of these aspects and variables: it requires a keen attention to how resources are managed in an effective and efficient way within constantly changing constraints. Motorsport is also a proper industry which turnover has been marking and marks billions of euros across the globe. In addition its research & development has a direct influence on many fields that go well beyond the intuitive one of the automotive: aerospace, energy, defence, medical, high-tech consumer goods represent additional sectors in which the applied research driven by companies directly related to Formula 1 such as McLaren Applied Technologies or Williams Advanced Engineering have an increasingly relevant influence.

Dr.Tim Angus, from University of Conventry, presenting at the University of Pisa International MBA

Dr.Tim Angus, from University of Conventry, presenting at the University of Pisa International MBA

Recently at the University of Pisa International MBA these aspects have been pointed out with a particular focus on the Motor Valley in the United Kingdom which represents a clustered and integrated source for such developing activities. I have invited Dr.Tim Angus, from the University of Covetry, to make a presentation on such topic and it has caught the attention of the MBA participants and Italian organisations alike operating in the field and related one. At this link an article from Motorsport.com reporting on such presentation (in Italian).

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Is innovation always incremental?

A recent study published on Organizational Science and pointed out on a Fast Company article by the title “Unexpected lessons about innovation from Formula One teams” stresses that even the fast paced changing Formula One world shows that effective innovation is the one implemented in an incremental way.

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There are many factors that influence directly innovation in Formula One: regulations, technologies, financials boundaries, yet the drive to performance needs to be focused and streamlined and a study points out that the incremental application of original know-how is the most effective one. When we think about innovation (products or services solving problems or being effectively embraced by markets) we need to observe that tracing back its roots we realise that truly it is always an incremental process, a process that at times can be accelerated by technologies or fast developing know-how, yet central key roots remain set in place.

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Indexes and most innovative countries…

Countreis

This is a well organised and meaningful infographic, yet, arguably one aspects could be missing within this tracking system (focusing on patents, trademarks and industrial design): there is a wide variety of innovation with concrete market relevance that is not tracked because of cultural and traditional traits that not focus on the formal parameters utilised. Is this the reason why there are countries that apparently should be much higher on this scale because of their evident history of creativity and are not? (Italy among some of them)

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The University of Pisa E-Team Squadra Corse & the International MBA

Within the Entrepreneurship module of the University of Pisa International MBA we have hosted the E-Team Squadra Corse presenting their path to development and growth of the project.

University of Pisa. The E-Team Squadra Corse and the International MBA

University of Pisa. The E-Team Squadra Corse and the International MBA

They are adopting a marked entrepreneurial approach to the development of the entire project. The project is by now featuring an organisational chart composed by more than 60 roles and this is quite unique in itself within the International Formula SAE  (Society of Automotive Engineers) program. The roles involve students belonging to technical, economics, organisational, marketing and communication fields . Their focus, competence and enthusiasm are contagious. INNOVATION is featured within many technical aspects as well as the organisational ones. Racing weekends are scheduled in July in Italy and August in Hungary. Stay tuned…

Posted in: Innovation, Talent Development

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Business and diversity… what do we have to still ponder about?…

A recent article on one of the major management magazines struck my attention “How to make a better business case for diversity. Diversity is good for business, but our supportive arguments need to better reflect the complexities of the benefits”

United we stand divided we don't

United we stand divided we don’t

In my opinion we continue ‘to ponder and debate’ over a business case for diversity because we are rooted into the false certainties of our own business realities. If we just embrace complexity and uncertainty (embrace them in order to progress and grow as individuals and – next step – in our business ventures) we realise that diversity is simply an opportunity of competitive advantage to speed-up the entire process. First of all we need to become aware of what diversity really means in its many forms; and this requires a tough skill: listening & observing with empathy…

Posted in: Talent Development

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New Global Business Models Enabled by Digital Technologies and Fresh Mindset. Introduction to an upcoming debate.

Digital technologies are multiplying the pace of change and the so called progress. Increasingly we talk about market disruptions, business models that have produced margins and sustainability for years now they keep getting replaced by new ones at a faster and faster pace. A key role that technology has within these dynamics is to boost the speed of the entire process influencing directly the way business models (from producer to user) are set. Interestingly within all of this people’s original ideas and visions still represent the essential sparks and foundations of it all: this is why arguably much before technology open visionary mindsets are relevant to progressive changes. We will debate about these topics from several perspectives during a debate held as part to the 2016 edition (the 7th one) of the University of Pisa International MBA.

depliant_workshop

This is an interesting article just published (March 2016) on McKinsey Quarterly “The essentials of digital strategy” , it points out in a clear way several new possibilities and opportunities shaped up by all of this.

The companies involved in the debate will introduce projects that are underway and that are leveraging upon both fresh mindsets with a global projection and the latest digital technologies enabling it all.

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Flexible working, now the real work for organisations begins

A recent relevant research by the Work Foundation predicted that by 2017 more than half of the employers in the UK will adopt flexible working practices by 2017  .

Salvado Dali

Salvador  Dali

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has been an advocate of this practice for years. He has recently pointed-out the research within his blog , underlining also that in some major companies people have shown that they would be happy to give trade part of their salary with more flexible hours (see for example a study within Samsung cited by Branson) .

In many ways Virgin Group cannot be considered a key reference to the trend because of its uniquely rooted culture: since the very beginning it has always featured a flair for aggressive business development and a zest for letting people express their personalities and interests “work hard, play hard” is no-doubt one of the Group’s mantra.

In 2013 some direct statements by Branson made headlines on many newspapers across the globe “Give the people the freedom of where to work” . Now it seems like this is set to become mainstream also within more traditional organisational cultures; the reason for that is that increasingly companies need to focus on actual effective and efficient results and those often do not have many rational links to the routine of ‘showing-up on the job’.

While this concept begins to make headways (if not for an actual focus on work – life balance, because of a pragmatic one on business development) the issue here is about the need for a suitable mindset and training to develop this novel way to work (even if, to many of us, entrepreneurs and professionals alike, this has not been novel at all for decades…) .

In fact, flexible working requires two essential factors: a) people need to become aware of their skills to work with little task supervision yet meet stringent quantitative and qualitative targets (awareness need to focused continuos improvement action); b) companies need to have clear ideas of what needs to be assigned to whom depending on the people level of know-how, talent and what is actually needed to reach a well identified target.

To me both issues can be quite troubling at least at the beginning of this trend. In particular it’s the organisational ‘homework’ that mostly concerns me: today how many organisations (large or small) are not only willing but also ready to organise work concrete targets that individuals (because of their talents and actual know-how) can handle swiftly and effectively working by themselves or in groups? Let’s talk about it…

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The FUN part of entrepreneurship…

Richard Branson, with his story and strong visionary projection towards the future, can be easily perceived as one-off sort of person and entrepreneur. Many of his projects have been and are so outlandish that truly seem an ongoing PR stunt as the ones so many times he was involved directly into. The project Virgin Galactic is one of them, with the actual SpaceShip Two recently present within a big Celebration even ‘Virgin Style’ (see article “Celebrating Unity” ).

Virgin Galactic Spaship Two

Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two

Yet, we need to realize that among successes and failures (that he openly admits and almost refreshingly seeks) there is one constant factor: truly empowering people (within his companies and outside of them) to aspire, inspire and give the very best while having FUN in the process. Fun is driven by a sense of unity, challenge, meaning and daring; characteristics that represent the essence of the Virgin Galactic project. The same kind of FUN can be built in any entrepreneurial project (relatively small or big) in any organisation. Its benefits will be manyfold as Virgin Group keeps on demonstrating. Are we up to dare enough for the challenge?

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Creativity, managing around barriers towards innovation

Increasingly we focus on why organisations fail to develop creativity and this article shows an interesting summary on the topic “How We Kill Creativity (And How We Can Rebuild It)” also represented by the image below:

creativity

There are two key aspects that emerge from the article and that need to be addressed.

1) Creativity regarding organisational processes and outcomes is never developed in a vacuum: it does’t happen because one single ‘genius’. It is rather a factor of many elements that come to integrate: people, technology, context, internal and external direct or indirect inputs;

2) Creativity turns into innovation only when concretely solves problems and/or creates value recognised by the market.

Because of this, in order to maximise their potential to create and mostly to innovate (that is what really counts for enterprises), organisations cannot afford vacuums dedicated to creativity and innovation has to be the target. This requires an overall aware and skilled cultural approach to develop creativity and concretely innovate. It is a cultural approach, involving the overall organisation considering its processes and people, that requires a central focus to develop innovation, a focus that is one of the key principles articulated in FAST TRACK INNOVATION fasttrackinnovation.it  by pointing out and elaborating over actual examples of Motorsport and automotive organisations.

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