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Innovating is possible

It’s easy to say it will take innovation for businesses, and for the economy in general, to change their fate. But these words need to be followed by action. We need the capacity to innovate and, above all, to think outside the box. This is also true in business management, in creating, day by day, that manufacturing culture that has made countless Italian organisations great and that now, if not actually against the ropes, is at least starting to breathe heavy. Businesses do continue to innovate, but at times they don’t even realise it.

The how, when and why is what we need to try to understand. This is what Riccardo Luna, a journalist and avid Internet user, has sought to do in his enjoyable book, Cambiamo tutto! La rivoluzione degli innovatori (Let’s change everything! The innovators’ revolution). This recently published work gives us an idea how innovation is still taking place both in Italy and around the world, starting with the Internet and through to the actual production of goods and services.

It’s a page-turner of 150 pages packed with examples right up to current times. There’s Apple, of course, the rest of the Silicon Valley, Olivetti, and even a few businesses that are virtually unheard of – the dreams of people who have tried and succeeded, but also those missed opportunities that teach us where we went wrong.

This exploration of the innovator’s world starts with a prologue, then takes six leaps forward towards an epilogue that wraps it all up in the common sense of good old Italian industry. Along the way, we read of “startuppers”, “makers”, “dreamers” and “civic hackers”, of “biopunk” and “iSchools”, to describe the various aspects of innovation – who started, who made it, who had a dream, who works for society, science or education – before delivering a forward-looking message: Change, like innovation, is possible, even in business and even in Italy.

All it takes is to be grounded in the present while looking forward to the future. The entire work closes, as mentioned above, with the wise words of an Italian businessman: “This is what the future is. Making things, producing, inventing solutions to problems. And never giving up.”

Cambiamo tutto! La rivoluzione degli innovatori

Riccardo Luna

Laterza, 2013