Ca’ Foscari University of Venice has published a collection of studies on how the meaning of production is interwoven with the way in which it is portrayed
Doing business; designing and creating something that has a purpose, an importance, a meaning. ‘Doing business’ may be synonymous with economic action, but it also applies to other areas of activity, as in every-day speech, and it has its own story to tell. ‘Imprese letterarie’ (‘Literary business’), a collection of essays edited by Alessandro Cinquegrani and published in the Studi e Ricerche series by Ca’ Foscari, revolves around this set of concepts. It is not necessarily an easy read, but it is certainly a useful one.
‘The title is deliberately ambiguous,’ explains the editor at the beginning of the work. ‘Everything is centred on the meaning of the word “imprese” [“business”]’. According to the first definition in the Treccani dictionary, it “generally refers to actions, either individual or collective, of a certain importance and difficulty.” These actions may be focused on the creation of a literary work, as the adjective [in the title] suggests, but can also be to an economic end. Both require a great investment of energy and time, and both benefit society and individuals.’ The inspiration for this collection of research, however, is found elsewhere, because ‘”Imprese letterarie” is a work that should also be read from a different perspective, and is an attempt to come up with a new approach to doing business, an approach that takes into account the potential contributions that literature can make.’
And that is the true meaning of this series of investigations into the parallels between business in the economic sense and literary business, and into the way these two approaches to doing business are interwoven.
The six essays that Cinquegrani has put together in this collection thus each address one aspect of this interweaving. Indeed, the links between business and literature constitute the subject of the first investigation, and this is followed by two more in-depth studies; the first of these focuses on the relationship between business and personal myth, and the second on the role of generations and the way in which this is linked to the life of businesses. Subsequently, two other essays look at the various ways in which we can tell the story of doing business, and the specifics of the business story in Italy. Furthermore, special attention is paid to the concept (and the practical realisation) of a ‘meaningful business’, which in this instance refers to a business that ‘creates a large amount of value for customers and for society’, and that, by ‘creating this meaningful value, focuses on the most effective ways to distribute most of it, because it believes that the real solution is to multiply this value. This drives a virtuous circle that leads to even more value being created for customers and for society. In this sense, a “meaningful” business is just that; a creator of new jobs that are closely linked to the exclusive area in which it operates, but also a creator of new concepts that are not restricted by the local area, and that are communicated to customers and society through its products, processes and the way in which it relates to others.’
As mentioned above, this collection of essays edited by Alessandro Cinquegrani is certainly not always an easy read, and it may also contain passages that not everyone will agree with, but despite this, it is a useful step in the journey towards building and curating a prudent and conscious business culture.
Alessandro Cinquegrani (editor)
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Studi e Ricerche, 19, 2019