The first 2021 Landscape had us starting with a bang. We were visited by Roberto Battaglia, Head of the Personnel Department of Intesa Sanpaolo’s IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division. With Logotel’s support, Roberto developed the UP program which, for 4 years, has been developing the entrepreneurial potential of Intesa Sanpaolo’s people. Since then, over 300 people have become involved with more than 70 challenges initiated, 30 of which have been transformed into reality to become strategic projects that now impact the well-being, business and corporate processes of IMI’s CIB division. In a summing up of his experience until now, at the beginning of the year he published STARTUPPER IN AZIENDA, Liberare il potenziale imprenditoriale nascosto nelle organizzazioni (Egea, 2021) and came to talk to us about it at the occasion of our Digital Landscape. The volume was created in co.design with Logotel, which supported Roberto in designing and implementing his visual identity and graphic layout. The book’s an essay, a guide, a manifesto – even something just made to be looked at. It sports many numbers: 300 pages, 3 parts, 6 consultation methods guiding the reader according to their business approach, 45 testimonials and 20 theses comprising the “Uppers” manifesto. The first one’s emblematic: falling in love with promising problems.
The Digital Landscape
Can you be an entrepreneur within corporate walls (?). This statement-question, which forms the thesis behind the book, was asked during the Digital Landscape to more than 100 Logotel collaborators with whom Roberto Battaglia shared his point of view on what it means to be and have a startupper in the company. As a matter of fact: any organization has internal potential, but not everyone’s able to recognize it. Such people with hidden talent, whom Roberto defines as the Restless, can adapt and feel frustrated if they don’t emerge. Or they may leave – seeking recognition elsewhere. The book rose out of the UP experience, bearing a twofold objective: firstly, that of helping organizations bring out their potential and, secondly, that of facilitating inspiration in people, ensuring the initiative changes their own professional destiny – together with that of the organization.
The UP method
UP is both an approach to entrepreneurship and a skills accelerator. One enters the program upon identifying a problem to be solved or some opportunity to be seized. A team is formed, a creative and concrete journey begins and then a business prototype is grounded with a view to inviting the interest of an investor. All follows a method studied with the design thinking approach, which allows for space and affords freedom of expression. It’s also possible to traverse hierarchies as well as ask opinions at every organizational level. For people selected, UP allows some form of (re)design of their job. For those who are not financed upon completing this path, their experience of rejection comes as a moment of enrichment and learning, carrying a value even higher than attainment of success.
Here and now
We’re at a critical moment in which companies are often overwhelmed by the here and now, by concerns related to the economic situation and by rhythms of their customers. Is it still possible, within such a climate, to spread the startupper culture within a company? According to Roberto Battaglia, ours is also a time to take courage and design a new pact. To do this, paid thinkers will not suffice. The element of unexpressed talent must be explored. This asks for fresh sources, as well as new systems and pathways to activate thought. By this way alone, and only thanks to mutual openness and heightened curiosity, can inspiration arising from one’s network be harnessed – potentially triggering change from within an organization.