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Turin nominated ‘2024 Corporate Culture Capital’ – to relaunch industry and breed knowledge for the future

Culture is good for the life and development of cities, and even more so for enterprises, as a mainstay for new and improved competitiveness. As a matter of fact, a few years ago entrepreneurial association Confindustria launched an initiative to nominate, every year, a “Corporate Culture Capital” – 2024 sees Turin taking its turn after Genoa, Alba, the Padua-Treviso-Venice triangle and Pavia. The award was announced last week at the Confindustria’s Piccola Industria (Small Industry) Forum in Pavia and is a fitting reward for the city’s programme, aptly entitled: “Torino. Spazio al futuro” (“Turin: ushering in the future”). A meaningful project dedicated to enhancing business activities within a territory that, though historically at the productive heart of Italy – revolving as it was around the automotive industry – for some time now has had to deal with shifting manufacturing assets linked to the new directions taken by Stellantis (formerly Fiat), and as such has decided to look at other industrial avenues instead (which we’re about to see).

Of course, automotive continues to be a leading sector, but no longer retains the productive and cultural supremacy it used to enjoy (though it is vitally important that Turin remains an engineering, planning and production hub). A metropolis in evolution, then, with neither regrets nor the bitter after-taste left by amarcord, nostalgic memories.

Turin’s schedule comprises a number of initiatives linked to 24 events, especially designed to engage the new generations, as well as other Italian and European cities. Starting with the Piedmont region, for instance, we find Biella, famed for its quality textile manufacturing, and Ivrea, the birthplace of Olivetti, a company that made Italian industrial history and whose economic, social and cultural legacy still fuels Italian public debates (as recently evidenced by Adriano Olivetti. Un italiano del Novecento (Adriano Olivetti. An Italian Man from the 20th century), book written by Paolo Bricco and published by Rizzoli).

There’s another important aspect we mustn’t neglect, however: strengthening the connection between Milan and Genoa, so as to fully relaunch the industrial north-west as a European productive platform, including the Emilia-Romagna region’s ‘Motor Valley’ as well as the manufacturing chains in the north-east – an ambitious plan to boost Italy’s progressive industrial attitude.

Giorgio Marsiaj, president of Turin’s entrepreneurial association Unione Industriali, asserts that “our challenge is to help redesign the city, identifying sustainable solutions in environmental, economic and social terms and applying an approach focused on inclusion and care for local communities.” Objectives include “attractiveness, both in terms of investments and, especially, young people: making Turin appealing to fresh talent is the best way to combat the demographic decline and inject dynamism and new ideas into our economic and entrepreneurial system.”

Indeed, though Turin has always been renowned for its manufacturing nature, it can now also feel proud of its increasingly distinct “propensity for innovation, as it tackles our history’s latest critical evolution and shifts from an automotive monoculture to a structured range of activities – from aerospace to Artificial Intelligence, from the food industry to the tourism and sport sectors.” Activities that, as Marsiaj reiterates, represent sources of new energy; different perhaps than the previous ones, “yet sharing the same DNA: a solid industrial culture combined with a passion for things well made. And let’s not forget its international exposure, which turns this area into a global workshop, thanks to the presence of major multinationals and our enterprises’ natural predisposition to export.”

As the initiatives unfold – including traditional events such as the Salone del Libro book fair and the Salone del Gusto gastronomy fair – their connection to all facets of a genuine “polytechnic culture” will become more apparent: a unique blend of science, technology and humanities, quality and functionality, the appreciation for past expertise mingled with an attitude for process and product innovation.

Indeed, when territories and their own enterprises connect, a special kind of sensitivity arises, permeating all aspects of environmental and social sustainability, and translating into a strong desire for quality – not only quality of goods but also quality of the sites where such goods are produced and where people work, such as the so-called “beautiful factories”: well-designed, innovative, bright, welcoming, safe and, as mentioned, sustainable. A prime example is the Pirelli Industrial Hub in Settimo Torinese, designed by Renzo Piano, with its high-tech facilities located in a plant surrounded by 400 cherry trees.

Quality manufacturing – hands that conceive and innovate, productive intelligence that improves the quality of life for everyone.

After all, good enterprises are distinguished by far-reaching strategies linking culture to production processes and industrial narrative to products and production. This is what we learned from crane rigger Libertino Faussone, the protagonist of Primo Levi’s La chiave a stella (The wrench), a poetic tribute to mechanical engineering skills, published in the 1970s by Einaudi, yet another prestigious enterprise from Turin renowned at European level. And we should also continue to foster the relationships binding manufacturing, services, creativity and scientific research, as technology evolves and is narrated through the arts by writers, poets, architects, film directors and photographers, famous advertising illustrators and designers – a civilisation consisting of images and words, individuals and machines.

This is in fact what we can find in the archives of Italian companies – and Turin can boast of some illustrious examples – in point of fact, Museimpresa (the Italian Association of business archives and corporate museums) counts as many as 140 members and institutional supporters (of which 14 are well established in Turin and in the Piedmont region).

Underlying it all, is the belief – firmly entrenched by now – that enterprises, factories, financial services companies, commercial and cultural institutions, are all both physical and intellectual spaces where past and future meet, and in which corporate culture represents a key asset for competitiveness.

Indeed, corporate culture means Culture with a capital C – it encourages us to break free from the traditional framework confined by the phrase “enterprise and culture” and start instead a dialogical relation between different dimensions such as manufacturing and representation, production and narration, mechanical engineering and philosophy or poetry, leading us towards a more radical concept we should embrace: “enterprise is culture”. As a matter of fact, doing business means building culture and any enterprise will make clear cultural choices influenced by the above-mentioned criteria – criteria actually championed by Italian enterprises, especially manufacturing ones.

And culture encompasses science and technology, designing new materials, the development of employment contracts taking into account key cultural factors such as power relations, monitoring functions, individual opinions, salaries and corporate welfare. Culture entails the inception of marketing and communication languages. Culture implies governance processes managing the relations between company, shareholders, CEOs, employees and the whole wide range of stakeholders. Culture involves budgets, planning tools and settling accounts. Culture consists of open and well-regulated markets.

And further, culture necessitates corporate sponsorships and support for creative and artistic activities representing corporate culture, building it up in the imagination of both individuals and society at large (Turin’s Consulta organisation, whose aim is the enhancement of artistic and cultural wealth, is significant proof of this).

Corporate culture is, essentially, a choral and polyphonic narrative, an orchestral interplay always in flow.

Such corporate culture encapsulates a sense of beauty and téchne (the know-how of good factories) and the quality of products and production systems, creating a dialogue with research and education in polytechnic institutions and universities, illustrating how an entrepreneurial society will galvanise the development of factories (the Lingotto plant is a prime example of this), banks and insurance companies, stimulating the creativity of publishing houses and academic centres and, over time, also boosting the communication industry – cinema, radio and television – through a focus on cutting-edge technologies and content.

A culture that, moreover, comprises Nobel prize winner Giulio Natta and his chemical discoveries, which revolutionised the Italian industry and gave it worldwide appeal, and Primo Levi’s chemical and literary efforts at the Sava factory in Settimo Torinese (his Il sistema periodico – The periodic table – published by Einaudi in 1975 is a glaring instance of this).

Also culturally prominent is Adriano Olivetti‘s company – as mentioned above – distinguished by state-of-the-art research marked by beauty and quality, design and technology, appreciation of past local expertise combined with the most exciting international high-tech novelties. And we should include Pirelli’s “industrial humanism” and its groundbreaking tyre applications, too, as well as a long list of industrial and financial companies whose success continues to rest on quality and unique aesthetics as well as their engagement with contemporary art and design, allowing them to conquer the most prestigious high-added-value niches in the global markets.

The events scheduled by Turin, 2024 Capital of corporate culture, will thus help us get better acquainted with all this, bringing to light and life an exceptional contemporary civilisation founded on labour and creativity, whose dense and diverse fabric distinguishes the entrepreneurial history of Turin and, accordingly, of the whole country.

(foto: Getty Images)

Culture is good for the life and development of cities, and even more so for enterprises, as a mainstay for new and improved competitiveness. As a matter of fact, a few years ago entrepreneurial association Confindustria launched an initiative to nominate, every year, a “Corporate Culture Capital” – 2024 sees Turin taking its turn after Genoa, Alba, the Padua-Treviso-Venice triangle and Pavia. The award was announced last week at the Confindustria’s Piccola Industria (Small Industry) Forum in Pavia and is a fitting reward for the city’s programme, aptly entitled: “Torino. Spazio al futuro” (“Turin: ushering in the future”). A meaningful project dedicated to enhancing business activities within a territory that, though historically at the productive heart of Italy – revolving as it was around the automotive industry – for some time now has had to deal with shifting manufacturing assets linked to the new directions taken by Stellantis (formerly Fiat), and as such has decided to look at other industrial avenues instead (which we’re about to see).

Of course, automotive continues to be a leading sector, but no longer retains the productive and cultural supremacy it used to enjoy (though it is vitally important that Turin remains an engineering, planning and production hub). A metropolis in evolution, then, with neither regrets nor the bitter after-taste left by amarcord, nostalgic memories.

Turin’s schedule comprises a number of initiatives linked to 24 events, especially designed to engage the new generations, as well as other Italian and European cities. Starting with the Piedmont region, for instance, we find Biella, famed for its quality textile manufacturing, and Ivrea, the birthplace of Olivetti, a company that made Italian industrial history and whose economic, social and cultural legacy still fuels Italian public debates (as recently evidenced by Adriano Olivetti. Un italiano del Novecento (Adriano Olivetti. An Italian Man from the 20th century), book written by Paolo Bricco and published by Rizzoli).

There’s another important aspect we mustn’t neglect, however: strengthening the connection between Milan and Genoa, so as to fully relaunch the industrial north-west as a European productive platform, including the Emilia-Romagna region’s ‘Motor Valley’ as well as the manufacturing chains in the north-east – an ambitious plan to boost Italy’s progressive industrial attitude.

Giorgio Marsiaj, president of Turin’s entrepreneurial association Unione Industriali, asserts that “our challenge is to help redesign the city, identifying sustainable solutions in environmental, economic and social terms and applying an approach focused on inclusion and care for local communities.” Objectives include “attractiveness, both in terms of investments and, especially, young people: making Turin appealing to fresh talent is the best way to combat the demographic decline and inject dynamism and new ideas into our economic and entrepreneurial system.”

Indeed, though Turin has always been renowned for its manufacturing nature, it can now also feel proud of its increasingly distinct “propensity for innovation, as it tackles our history’s latest critical evolution and shifts from an automotive monoculture to a structured range of activities – from aerospace to Artificial Intelligence, from the food industry to the tourism and sport sectors.” Activities that, as Marsiaj reiterates, represent sources of new energy; different perhaps than the previous ones, “yet sharing the same DNA: a solid industrial culture combined with a passion for things well made. And let’s not forget its international exposure, which turns this area into a global workshop, thanks to the presence of major multinationals and our enterprises’ natural predisposition to export.”

As the initiatives unfold – including traditional events such as the Salone del Libro book fair and the Salone del Gusto gastronomy fair – their connection to all facets of a genuine “polytechnic culture” will become more apparent: a unique blend of science, technology and humanities, quality and functionality, the appreciation for past expertise mingled with an attitude for process and product innovation.

Indeed, when territories and their own enterprises connect, a special kind of sensitivity arises, permeating all aspects of environmental and social sustainability, and translating into a strong desire for quality – not only quality of goods but also quality of the sites where such goods are produced and where people work, such as the so-called “beautiful factories”: well-designed, innovative, bright, welcoming, safe and, as mentioned, sustainable. A prime example is the Pirelli Industrial Hub in Settimo Torinese, designed by Renzo Piano, with its high-tech facilities located in a plant surrounded by 400 cherry trees.

Quality manufacturing – hands that conceive and innovate, productive intelligence that improves the quality of life for everyone.

After all, good enterprises are distinguished by far-reaching strategies linking culture to production processes and industrial narrative to products and production. This is what we learned from crane rigger Libertino Faussone, the protagonist of Primo Levi’s La chiave a stella (The wrench), a poetic tribute to mechanical engineering skills, published in the 1970s by Einaudi, yet another prestigious enterprise from Turin renowned at European level. And we should also continue to foster the relationships binding manufacturing, services, creativity and scientific research, as technology evolves and is narrated through the arts by writers, poets, architects, film directors and photographers, famous advertising illustrators and designers – a civilisation consisting of images and words, individuals and machines.

This is in fact what we can find in the archives of Italian companies – and Turin can boast of some illustrious examples – in point of fact, Museimpresa (the Italian Association of business archives and corporate museums) counts as many as 140 members and institutional supporters (of which 14 are well established in Turin and in the Piedmont region).

Underlying it all, is the belief – firmly entrenched by now – that enterprises, factories, financial services companies, commercial and cultural institutions, are all both physical and intellectual spaces where past and future meet, and in which corporate culture represents a key asset for competitiveness.

Indeed, corporate culture means Culture with a capital C – it encourages us to break free from the traditional framework confined by the phrase “enterprise and culture” and start instead a dialogical relation between different dimensions such as manufacturing and representation, production and narration, mechanical engineering and philosophy or poetry, leading us towards a more radical concept we should embrace: “enterprise is culture”. As a matter of fact, doing business means building culture and any enterprise will make clear cultural choices influenced by the above-mentioned criteria – criteria actually championed by Italian enterprises, especially manufacturing ones.

And culture encompasses science and technology, designing new materials, the development of employment contracts taking into account key cultural factors such as power relations, monitoring functions, individual opinions, salaries and corporate welfare. Culture entails the inception of marketing and communication languages. Culture implies governance processes managing the relations between company, shareholders, CEOs, employees and the whole wide range of stakeholders. Culture involves budgets, planning tools and settling accounts. Culture consists of open and well-regulated markets.

And further, culture necessitates corporate sponsorships and support for creative and artistic activities representing corporate culture, building it up in the imagination of both individuals and society at large (Turin’s Consulta organisation, whose aim is the enhancement of artistic and cultural wealth, is significant proof of this).

Corporate culture is, essentially, a choral and polyphonic narrative, an orchestral interplay always in flow.

Such corporate culture encapsulates a sense of beauty and téchne (the know-how of good factories) and the quality of products and production systems, creating a dialogue with research and education in polytechnic institutions and universities, illustrating how an entrepreneurial society will galvanise the development of factories (the Lingotto plant is a prime example of this), banks and insurance companies, stimulating the creativity of publishing houses and academic centres and, over time, also boosting the communication industry – cinema, radio and television – through a focus on cutting-edge technologies and content.

A culture that, moreover, comprises Nobel prize winner Giulio Natta and his chemical discoveries, which revolutionised the Italian industry and gave it worldwide appeal, and Primo Levi’s chemical and literary efforts at the Sava factory in Settimo Torinese (his Il sistema periodico – The periodic table – published by Einaudi in 1975 is a glaring instance of this).

Also culturally prominent is Adriano Olivetti‘s company – as mentioned above – distinguished by state-of-the-art research marked by beauty and quality, design and technology, appreciation of past local expertise combined with the most exciting international high-tech novelties. And we should include Pirelli’s “industrial humanism” and its groundbreaking tyre applications, too, as well as a long list of industrial and financial companies whose success continues to rest on quality and unique aesthetics as well as their engagement with contemporary art and design, allowing them to conquer the most prestigious high-added-value niches in the global markets.

The events scheduled by Turin, 2024 Capital of corporate culture, will thus help us get better acquainted with all this, bringing to light and life an exceptional contemporary civilisation founded on labour and creativity, whose dense and diverse fabric distinguishes the entrepreneurial history of Turin and, accordingly, of the whole country.

(foto: Getty Images)