Posted: 22 Mar. 2021 5 minutes Tempo di lettura

For the Italy of the future, human-centred innovation that is environmentally friendly

In the new Ministry for Ecological Transition, topics and authorities will converge that show the deep interconnection between innovation and sustainability: for Italy this is a big step forward in redesigning its strategic priorities for the future. This is a necessary and expected move, springing from the increasingly central role that sustainability plays and will play in our post-Covid lives. We are talking about a new paradigm which is expressed in its different dimensions: environmental, with the deep rethinking of our way of consuming and living; social, with a serious and rigorous reflection on the ethics of our choices and on the society that we are building; and economic, with the radical redesigning of the practices and the business models with which we create value for the community. This new, broader concept of sustainability must therefore be supported by suitable and all-encompassing  tools.

Innovation finds its perfect positioning here: defined by us as human-centred, that is, increasingly conceived for the needs of human beings, innovation nowadays must also be environmentally friendly and, in turn, sustainability must be driven by innovation to ensure success. Only in this way will the Ministry for Ecological Transition, in strong coordination with the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition manage to lead the country towards the sustainable transition, aware of the need to define and implement courageous initiatives that respond to the ambitious paradigm of sustainability, leveraging a new, more human dimension of innovation. That awareness has been a prerogative of the new executive that, not by coincidence, has appointed as minister the physicist Roberto Cingolani, previously scientific director of the Italian Institute of Technology and head of Leonardo’s technological innovation.

Human-centred innovation and renewed sustainability were a powerful ally during the most critical phases of the pandemic, ensuring the survival of our companies. And they will be even more so in the definition of a rapid and appropriate response to the new needs of citizens, starting from the implementation of an effective vaccination campaign that actively involves the population, a priority action of the government, as also highlighted by the Prime Minister in his keynote speech to parliament.

At the same time, for companies that have made green investments, the impact of the pandemic on financial performance and turnover has been more contained: only 8.2% of these businesses reported a decline in turnover in 2020 exceeding -15% compared to 14.5% of businesses who had not invested in sustainability[1]. It is hardly surprising that, as shown by a research report by Deloitte[2], among the issues that companies will have to face in the next decade, business leaders have put climate change and environmental sustainability in first place. Attention to these themes has in fact become a priority for consumers and for all of society, which is increasingly looking for products or services characterised by a green component.

It is therefore a priority to make some courageous choices that lead the country towards a dual transition: on the one hand, an ecological transition, that guides economic development with sustainable and ethical tools and that sees environmental protection as a goal for the present and future; on the other hand, an innovative and digital transition that enables the ecological transition, capable of renewing the Italian system, both in the public and private sector. In line with the recommendations of the European Commission, we will have to take account of these two priorities in the planning of our future policies and strategies, maximising the complementarity and strengthening a position of advantage that Italy already has compared to many other European countries. For example, according to the Enea agency, our country comes first in the overall circularity index, surpassing even Germany and France. Furthermore, it has reached the climate targets defined by the 2020 climate and energy package (Europe 2020 strategy), along with just 10 member states out of 28.

This is a complex challenge, but this time, it really is within Italy’s reach. Of the 204.5 billion from Next Generation EU, a large part will go to projects of sustainable transition with clear returns. It is therefore fundamental to define quantifiable and measurable indicators that consider the strictly economic impact of projects (monetarily quantifiable return) and the associated positive externalities (social impact, increase in well-being of citizens).

The response to the pandemic crisis will have to be founded on the new paradigm of sustainability based on human-centred innovation, fundamental levers for long-lasting and ethical growth. This is exactly the mission of the new Ministry for Ecological Transition which, with the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition, will have the strategic challenges of Next Generation EU in hand: innovation and sustainability, de facto two sides of the same coin.

 

[1] Greenitaly 2020 Report, Unioncamere and Symbola 2020

[2] 2021 Global Resilience Report, Deloitte 2021 

About the author

Andrea Poggi

Andrea Poggi

Innovation Leader, NSE | C&I Leader, DCM

Andrea è Senior Partner, membro del Comitato Esecutivo per Deloitte Nord e Sud Europa (NSE). E’ Leader dell’Innovazione per il network NSE ed è responsabile del Mercato per l’Europa centro-mediterranea, guidando la practice “Clients & Industries”. Andrea è appassionato dei temi di innovazione, crede nell’approccio multidisciplinare che olisticamente integri asset innovativi e tecnologici con nuovi modelli di business. Ha sviluppato la sua carriera consulenziale principalmente nei settori finanziari ed assicurativi. E' considerato un punto di riferimento dalla business community, regolarmente invitato alle piu’ influenti conferenze istituzionali italiane ed europee. Con un’esperienza manageriale di circa 25 anni sulla catena del valore di grandi multinazionali finanziarie e società di consulenza, è anche il fondatore in Europa Centro-Mediterranea di Monitor, la boutique di consulenza strategica di Deloitte, che ha posizionato nel mercato con una forte connotazione esecutiva. In passato, Andrea è stato top manager in un primario Gruppo assicurativo nonché docente universitario e autore di diversi libri, inclusi testi accademici. Regolarmente intervistato dai principali media, pubblica spesso articoli manageriali sulla stampa e su testate specializzate.