BUSINESS AND CULTURAL INITIATIVES DEVELOPMENT IN THE TIME OF COVID EMERGENCY IN ITALY
Interview with Mr. Roberto Santolamazza, managing director - t2i trasferimento tecnologico e innovazione www.t2i.it, the Lead Partner of the ARTISTIC project.
- Could you explain briefly what your business does and how Coronavirus has affected it?
«t2i is the main agency for innovation and tech transfer in the Veneto region, supporting companies in innovating their business in a holistic view, from a single product/service to the entire business model. We strongly believe that, namely working with SMEs, our main entry point to develop
a sustainable innovation is to start working on the skill gap and the organizational design needed to face the current challenges and competition.
The Coronavirus crisis affected a large part of our current projects and services because this emergency locked down the most part of our customers' businesses, freezing up any investment and development plan».
- t2i is the ARTISTIC Project Lead partner, which supports, among others local cultural actors in preserving, promotion, ensuring the sustainability of Intangible Cultural Heritage initiatives through business activities. Did these local cultural actors and their projects manage to keep going in this situation?
Cultural and creative enterprises have been highly affected by this situation. They often base their business providing public events and now their challenge is to ensure social distance and adequate safety for the clients. Nonetheless, this critical situation also played a stimulating role in experimenting with new ways. For example, one of the realities that we are following in the ARTISTIC project has discovered a form of online interactive theater that is attracting the interest of the public. Moreover, other businesses had to design a new business model in order to cope with the situation. We know it is very difficult and challenging, but in any case we try to support them with our ICH desks, developed thanks to ARTISTIC project in collaboration with Regione Veneto, project partner».
- What have you learned about leading people during the crisis/lockdown and what has been particularly effective?
«In this severe crisis, time horizon changed dramatically: you could say that a "mid-term" forecast is by the end of the week, and a "long-term" one by the end of the month. This makes things very uncertain: to lead in these conditions means to stay timely updated at a very tactical level, with a daily update of the middle management, trying not to lose your vision towards some strategic goals still in a thick mist. The large adoption of some "smart working" solution imposed a large acceleration for a sound adoption of digital solution, but for an effective use any business requires a deep evaluation of their organization's readiness to that: doing things remotely doesn't necessarily mean to do them right or with the right effectiveness. This situation is challenging for all the teams, also for the cultural and creative associations and businesses that we are following with ARTISTIC project».
- What is the mood now among Italian businesses and workers?
«Not having a precise time horizon makes things really uncertain, and persisting limitations in mobility and social contacts none could express
a positive mood, even we strongly believe that a sound respect of the rules, a distributed resilience and a concentration on what each one knows doing better are the ingredients to make this dark night shorter. Some very positive feelings emerged anyway in these weeks in terms of cohesion, peer-to-peer solidarity and mobilization of social energies that is very important not to lose after this crisis, because they should be relevant ingredients of the reconstruction phase».
- t2i created and launched crowdfunding campaigns for chosen Intangible Cultural Heritage initiatives in the frame of the ARTISTIC. Can financing cultural projects though crowdfunding be successful in the time of crisis like this?
t2i TOGETHER WITH PRODUZIONI DAL BASSO* PROMOTES 5 PROJECTS FOR THE VALORISATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
«In t2i we believed in the value of ARTISTIC even before the country was hit by the coronavirus» - declares Roberto Santolamazza, director of t2i - «This initiative shows its value still more now, in a context in which we should all look to the future in creative way. Often culture and innovation are considered as contrary and alternative ideas, instead the promotion of the local intangible cultural heritage, strengthened by project management skills and made concrete by a winning business idea, can and must become an important growth driver for our community».
«With the promotion of ARTISTIC, t2i and Produzioni dal Basso therefore want to provide a concrete signal of support for cultural business in Italy. Investing in the historical-artistic heritage of our communities must become an important driver of social and economic growth. What happens in this difficult phase represents an opportunity for redemption and restart with a great symbolic value: it allows all of us to restart from the roots, to regain courage and creativity to rethink tomorrow».
*Produzioni dal Basso is the first crowdfunding platform created in Italy in 2005 by Angelo Rindone. It represents the largest Italian community of reward based and donation crowdfunding and one of the most important European realities in the panorama of the sharing economy. It counts more than 4600 funded projects, for a collection that has exceeded 12.4 million euros and over 250 thousand registered users».