BUT YOU ALSO NEED THE RIGHT NETWORK.
The title of the conference was ‘Innovation AND Opportunities for SMEs’, but the first result of the event is that making innovation IS in itself the creation of opportunities, development and growth. This morning, in the Sala Consiliare of the Collegno Town Hall, Mesap (a development and cooperation partner for companies) and CDT (Club Dirigenti Tecnici) brought together companies and representatives of institutions, associations and the academic world to reflect on the… “opportunity” (understood as a possibility, but above all as a “necessity”) to create innovation. And not to do it alone, divided into watertight compartments. LMA, too, reported on the importance of a real, conscious connection between businesses, politics, universities and sectoral corporations: competence, synergies, young talent and cooperation were among the issues most analysed in the round table that followed the debate.
Moderated by ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’ journalist Filomena Greco, the event first saw the presentation of the institutions’ visions, from the mayor of Collegno, regional councillor Andrea Tronzano, deputy mayor and councillor Garruto, to the speech by CDT President Errichiello. Other speakers included Dr. Carbonato, CEO of Prima Industrie, SCANU of CDT, the vice-chancellor of the Turin Polytechnic, Giuliana Mattiazzo, and representatives of Liftt, Digital Innovation Hub Piemonte and, of course, Mesap.
Testimonials representing local companies came from our General Manager Fulvio Boscolo, as well as Cristina Tumiatti (SEA Marconi), Luca Cotterchio (Ascot) and Giuseppe Miretti (MECT).
Here, in summary, are the salient passages of Fulvio Boscolo LMA’s speech, together with all the other interventions, both during the debate and during the subsequent round table:
° a close relationship between businesses and institutions is fundamental: businesses must have the courage to “get into the field”, i.e. to identify the real needs of society and the regions, and then blend them with market requirements; institutions must support this “courage” with appropriate actions, decisions and interventions, especially in favour of SMEs, which are often less well endowed with resources than large companies, but are nevertheless always willing and eager to innovate and grow;
° the innovation of SMEs, with particular benefit also for local and surrounding communities, can pass through different activations or areas: energy sources, waste management, sustainable welfare in favour of human resources, joint projects with the academic world, sound management of equal opportunities (which is not only a question of ethics, but also has economic implications)… In particular, innovation according to LMA can be activated with investments in research and development, previously anticipated by careful market analysis: profit can also be generated by bringing common good, but only if the innovative and industrial activity is not self-referential. Production excellence must always go hand in hand with business sustainability (which also includes caring for the world, the planet, the territory and society). Following this governance process, the added values of industrial production are easy to guess (and now also measurable): increased skills, greater synergies, more space for young talents (already academically projected into the future) and care for human resources, complementarity between companies (especially SMEs), increasing accessibility to calls for tenders and funds;
° businesses must learn to cooperate, to create solid networks; at the same time, institutions must know how to coordinate these processes, incentivise them, and then go into dialogue to bring the right requests to the various political tables. Institutions must understand the dynamics of business; companies must express their visions and intentions accurately and constructively. At conferences like today’s, it is useful for everyone to make a little bit of themselves known, but even more necessary is that everyone sits at the round table with the intention of listening to the requests of others.
With regard to calls for tender, the NRP and funds, it must be made clear that small businesses in particular find it very difficult to overcome a very demanding bureaucracy and, therefore, directly or indirectly, large companies are increasingly favoured, which then exploit their privileged position on the market, often for interests that are not at all shared. In this dynamic, the intervention of the various Competence Centres is very decisive: certain economic and financial resources must be more accessible and, where this is not the case, sectoral aggregations must support the efforts of SMEs;
° innovation is feasible after having structured processes, after having trained and looked after human resources, after having obtained those certifications that can make official a vision, an operating condition, an objective. Market diversification is also a symptom of innovation: openness to the world (and its needs) determines the ability to invest in new projects and new markets. And this benefits the territory, as well as the company itself, with a virtuous circle that also involves the spheres of inclusion, integration, equal opportunities, sustainability and corporate social responsibility;
° institutions are inviting SMEs to increasingly consider the possibility of business combinations, because, by doing so, each SME will be a little less small and therefore less vulnerable or freer to dare new industrial initiatives;
° awareness of internationalisation criteria and activities is high, but in this process it must never be forgotten that SMEs still have little negotiating power;
° the investments decided by politics, especially in the Aerospace sector, and especially for Turin and its hinterland, are many: now it is a matter of creating an effective link between the business world and these new technological hubs that will change the face of our territory; this prospect of a new future for the Turin area is part of a study that still sees Piedmont as one of the regions that is seeing its companies grow the least. This is the field in which, all together and each with their own role, we must descend to win the game of tomorrow.
Events like today’s show that business culture starts with dialogue and confrontation.
And it continues through healthy entrepreneurial courage and adequate support from institutions and organisations in the sector.