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International business development. Is there a common enlightening and empowering trait?

On April 1st, our University of Pisa International MBA is going to feature an event titled “Entrepreneurship and managerial experiences in an international context”. Top representatives from five very different companies (from the start-up to the corporation) belonging to several international economic fields, will debate with the participants to the VI edition of the MBA.

The poster to the event

The poster to the event

This edition, the 24 participants are come from 20 different countries that are well representing the opportunities and problems present nowadays on a global scale. The MBA participants themselves have academic and affirmed professional backgrounds belonging to several organisational areas and economic fields.

I look forward to moderate the debate and in particular I will try to focus the attention on finding and outlining a common powerful denominator in order to project an enlightened perspective regarding the opportunities present and ahead within the current fast changing global economic and social complexities.

What can this common power force be? What can be the driving force forward for any project that unavoidably will run into barriers, shifting unpredictable contexts and at times outright chaos?

On the topic I found quite enlightening and intriguing a recent interview to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook published by Fast Company. The key focus of the interview was, a matter of fact, centred on the challenges that no doubt are having an impact on the present and foreseeable future of the giant corporation. The title chosen for the interview is revealing of the CEO perspective “Tim Cook on Apple’s future: everything can change except values.” (http://www.fastcompany.com/3042435/steves-legacy-tim-looks-ahead) and it will be interesting to stimulate this kind of topic within April 1st debate.

Participate to the debate to have your saying on these perspectives.

The debate will be held at:

University of Pisa   Department of Economics and Management

Aula Magna – April 1st 2015 – from 2.30pm to 5.30 pm

See you there!

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Achieving success through focus, awareness and action. In F1 a potentially winning ‘black notebooking’ technique is in the making

During the recent Formula 1 tests in Jerez Sebastian Vettel, the new Ferrari driver, has been noticed walking around with a large black notebook, a sort of an oversized classic Moleskine. This has been pointed out as quite unusual for a Formula 1, and overall Motorsport, context. He is utilising the notebook intensively, apparently making notes about everything that he is going through during the time on track and off track, in pits and paddock, spent with engineers and mechanics. Reportedly at the end of the day he transcribes all of the data, information, observations on his personal computer.

Vettel and his notebook

Vettel and his notebook

It is a systematic approach potentially overshadowing the work of track engineers and causing friction within the teamwork roles; more likely showing everyone the kind of determined meticulous approach he is choosing to bring back not only Ferrari to success but also himself after a surprising (after four consecutive world championship titles) somewhat dismal season he has had with Red Bull Renault last season.

A notebook and a pencil are also the trademark of Adrian Newey, the top technical mastermind Vettel has spent many years with at Red Bull. Pencil and paper are powerful tools in terms of their perception impact; they are no doubt noticed when they are utilised instead of all the mobile technology most of us feel nowadays bound to use even just to fit-in within a work method and keep up to pace with times.

Beyond the actual content of the notebook (we will be able to tell as the racing season progresses if those notes are contributing to the improvement and success of the team) what really counts from the get  go is the visual impact it has in stimulating the driver and the entire team to focus and ponder upon every single detail. It has also been pointed out that Vettel has spent a lot of time with engineers and mechanics while the new car has been totally disassembled and reassembled, side by side focusing and contributing to develop rapidly a mutual welcoming feeling within the team.

Vettel and some Scuderia Ferrari team members

Vettel and some Scuderia Ferrari team members

In the past we have had a few other quite evident and successful examples of meticulous approaches to the role of a Formula 1 driver. The late Ayrton Senna developed through the years his legendary career also because of his intense approach to racing. It has been reported by many engineers that worked with him that after testing he was able to communicate corner by corner, almost computer like, all of the reactions and settings of the car, back in his time telemetry was almost not present. He used to spend many hours side by side with the mechanics while they were working in making changes himself had been meticulously marked down on a one page sheet (to note that it all had to be on one page). Intense, focused and side by side work with the team.

The same kind of approach that Michael Schumacher always had in methodically reading, interpreting and making sense of every single detail coming from telemetry data. Schumacher himself used to spend a lot of time side by side with mechanics while they were working to fully understand what was happening and strengthen the comrade spirit. It is a matter of fact Schumacher throughout his career always managed to form around him a strong focused team that markedly contributed to overcome tough and complex times towards achieving top and consistent success.

It is often said that any process of change and improvement begins with actual awareness of reality and a sheer determination to improve it through focused appropriate actions. Vettel appears to take this by heart and no doubt, given also the size of the notebook, he is also making other people to pay attention to it. Time will tell whether this will contribute not only to consistent success but also to a winning overall team spirit.

Posted in: Innovation, Talent Development

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India, time for a definitive new course to real progress?

During the first two weeks of the year I have been travelling extensively across India with my friends and colleagues Samit Naik and Walter Sciacca (co-authors with me of the upcoming book ‘Fast Track Innovation’ www.fasttrackinnovation.it ; lots of the traveling was relevant to interviews and meetings that will be featured in the book itself ). We have spent time in several cities and we have had the opportunity to observe many things that are currently happening in India perceiving clearly a momentum for change in progress. Prime Minister Modi has coined a slogan “Make in India” focusing on the fact that manufacturing needs to get back to actually boosting a concrete economic growth. For example, companies as Mahindra (automotive) point out that this is actually happening by advertising on main national newspapers the production record that they achieved amounting to 5.000.000 units.

January 2015. Mahindra celebrating its 5 million vehicles manufactured

January 2015. Mahindra celebrating its 5 million vehicles manufactured

In addition, the educational context directly related to economic development is growing at full speed with companies clearly seeking higher level skills and talents. The focus in not only on technical subjects but also on managerial and economic ones signalling the concrete drive for an overall industrial and organizational growth.

January 2015. Organizations in India recruit at full speed on campuses

January 2015. Organizations in India recruit at full speed on campuses

There is no doubt that something is happening; change is in the air and its progress is gradually perceivable. We have had several meetings with business people in various sectors and organizational contexts and all of them pointed in this direction. Yesterday even The Times of India has published an article highlighting the same trend  “India’s growth to reach 6.3 per cent in 2016: UN report” .

Prime Minister Modi is perceived has the energetic and focused leadership driving and stimulating these changes. I am currently enjoying reading his recently published biography by Andy Marino “Narendra Modi. A political biography”, pointing out that “innovation – doing things better and smarter – engages and animates him”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

I invite everybody to get more acquainted with the way he developed his path to political prominence and is currently implementing organizational and managerial policies. The focus is set to giving the opportunity to public servants to discover and give their best rather than getting stuck within the same dynamics of stale bureaucratic routine. A kind of routine that is too often double knotted in corruption practices representing a heavy cultural and practical burden to economic development.

For good or bad, this is represents a new way to frame and manifest the organizational role of government to the concrete development of a country. No matter what kind of progress actually happens in India, or the speed of it, many of the actual managerial practices Modi utilizes over the inner working of government should be closely analysed by many other countries. Let’s stay tuned to closely observe trends, facts and outlooks.

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