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Newsletter no. 1 - February 2007

by Redazione FGB [1], 16 March 2007

by Piero Bassetti

The Bassetti Foundation (Fondazione Giannino Bassetti, FGB) uses the Internet as an interactive communication channel that breathes life into public discussion. To this end, the FGB website is a dynamic, multi-faceted forum for ideas from a variety of sources on issues related to responsibility in innovation. In addition to our own editing team and contributors, our website invites contributions from visitors themselves in our "call for comments" and blog sections. The FGB website is not the only discussion tool on our activities. That is why we have decided to report on our activities and internal reflections in this bimonthly newsletter, so that we do not lose that thin thread that ties together all facets of our Foundation.



nuova grafica
In recent months, the Bassetti Foundation website's graphics and technological system have changed dramatically. This transformation not only concerns an increasingly number of complex, wider-reaching content pages; it also reflects an evolution in the Foundation's own activities. Originally, the Foundation focused on analysing innovation by topic mainly through its website. Now, however, we operate through a number of alternative channels: print, training activities, research sponsorship, and closer ties with institutions that would be ideal recipients of our work.
As part of our overhauled graphics and content, the English homepage emphasises the Foundation's international vocation. In addition to articles under Topical Issues, the homepage features the latest blog articles. This means that visitors to our homepage can access our website's "hot" content with just one click.
Each article will feature useful links to content published in the past, so that visitors can access further information on their topics of interest.
Users will be able to search our pages through many new channels: for example, our advanced research tool (which searches both the entire site and individual sections) which employs category subdivisions and, shortly, special techniques to indicate the issues most visited by users. Furthermore, visitors can use our brand new search menu or links within articles and on the side bars. We have also further improved our content lists, making them easily accessible in both alphabetical and chronological order (by publication date). Additionally, the revamped presentation of articles with sub-headings, abstracts or introductions will allow users to see if they are interested in an article's content before having to go to the entire text.
Our lighter, sharper graphics include a logo attached to each article, giving visitors another, easy-to-recall reference marker.
Naturally, we welcome any comments our valued visitors wish to make.



The Bassetti Foundation was invited by the Carlo Cattaneo-LIUC University, Castellanza, to run an Innovation and Creativity module for students in the second year of the degree course in Business Economics (2005-2006 academic year).
This innovative teaching experience created an opportunity for systematic reflection on the essence of FGB's thinking and mission. The results were published in the first volume of the Quaderni della Fondazione Giannino Bassetti entitled Innovazione, creatività e responsabilità. Formare gli imprenditori del futuro. Using the case study method, the book focuses on the accounts of innovative entrepreneurs who have created windows for success even in low-tech sectors. It looks at a wide range of accounts on how innovation actually comes about, from contextual problems to entrepreneurial motivation, analysing the technical problems of each company's framework. The accounts are presented as an opportunity for discussion and contact with personal and entrepreneurial experiences gained in Italy and internationally. Each interviewee brings his unique point of view on innovation and responsibility, the political and moral obligations of innovative entrepreneurial decision-making, and the existential rewards of innovation. The entrepreneurs featured in this volume are Ottavio Missoni (Chairman of Missoni SpA), Ernesto Gismondi (Chairman of Artemide SpA), Silvio Scaglia (Chairman of Fastweb SpA), Rosario Messina (Chairman of Flou SpA), Silvano Pedrollo (Chairman of Pedrollo SpA) and Alberto Schena (responsible for Strategies and foreign activities at InfoCamere SpA)


Sapere, fare potere
Sapere, fare, potere. Verso un'innovazione responsabile is a collection of lectures organised by the Bassetti Foundation between 2002 and 2005, edited by Massimiano Bucchi and published by Rubbettino. It features lectures by American bioethicist, Daniel Callahan; French philosopher and sociologist, Bruno Latour; and Columbia University economist, Richard Nelson; in addition to a presentation by Piero Bassetti and an afterword by Cristina Grasseni. The FBG invited Callahan, Latour and Nelson to give their reflections on innovation and its social, political and cultural implications; in other words, responsibility. The three lectures touch on issues close to the FBG and integral to its mission: to invite authoritative scholars, policy makers, entrepreneurs, innovators, consumers and citizens to consider the possibility that the balance between innovation and responsibility is not a "zero-sum game" in which "more responsibility" automatically means "less innovation" and, vice versa, in which knowing and being able to do define and counter one another. The FGB's alternative proposal to irresponsible innovation is innovation which, rather than relentlessly pursue an ideally unlimited progress that risks being economically and socially untenable, has the courage and maturity to seriously reflect on the true meaning of progress and its final objectives.


11 -18 July 2006

Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle - photo Michel Saloff
The Bassetti Foundation, represented by Cristina Grasseni, took part in the L'anthropologie historique de la raison scientifique conference, organised by the Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-La-Salle (France) and coordinated by French philosopher and sociologist, Bruno Latour. The FGB has invited Latour to Italy on a number of occasions, such as his lecture at the Politecnico di Milano in October 2003, recently published in the book, Sapere, fare, potere. Verso un'innovazione responsabile (edited for the FBG by Massimiano Bucchi).
The Cerisy conference was an opportunity for discussion between science historians, philosophers and anthropologists on the birth of scientific thought across the world. Anthropological and science history studies have overturned traditional concepts of exact sciences, their social role, cultural origins and metaphysical roots.
At the conference, the Bassetti Foundation awarded five study grants to brilliant young scholars from different parts of the world. Upon Cristina Grasseni's invitation for contributions on responsibility in innovation and suggestions for a cultural policy that might increase public awareness on the issue, researchers took part in an open debate on the FGB website.

26 September 2006

Assemblea 2006 del Gruppo Metalmeccanico degli Industriali di Reggio Emilia
The Industry Association (mechanical engineering group) of Reggio Emilia invited FBG Chairman, Piero Bassetti, to a forum on factories in a changing world. The central topic of debate was: "Is there a single road to competitiveness or does each company, in balancing the prospects of the knowledge economy and unprecedented global competition, have to find its own way and organise different factors autonomously?"

3rd October 2006

Le grandi famiglie industriali italiane
FBG Chairman Piero Bassetti spoke at the presentation of the fifth edition of L'Europeo on the great Italian industrial families. Bassetti, Pier Gaetano Marchetti (Chairman, Rcs Media Group), Antonio Calabrò, Dario di Vico and Massimo Moratti debated the issue: Are the great Italian industrial families still powerful?

22 November 2006

Piero Bassetti took part in a video conference organised by Unilevels-Formaper Milano as part of "Culture and Management in Italian Companies. A Pilot Management Training Project for China" sponsored by Unioncamere (Milan Chamber of Commerce) and the Chinese Council to Promote International Commerce. The FBG Chairman's talk, entitled The Italian family company, the evolutionary challenge and responsibility in innovation, described the situation in Italy, emphasising the important role of medium and large family companies. Bassetti also underlined the importance of industrial districts that form networks able to compete with large companies. Today's challenge for Italian family companies is twofold: an "evolutionary challenge" in the face of globalisation; and an "innovation challenge" which means asking how we can continue innovating. The "evolutionary challenge" solution means overcoming local boundaries, with district networks accepting the challenges of the internet and globalisation. The new buzzword of this challenge is "glocal": within delocalisation, key company functions must maintain their local roots, the source of company strength.
Solutions to the "innovation challenge" begin with the ascertainment that Italian innovation is led by a sense of what is beautiful, by aesthetics, and that it is technology that serves aesthetics, not the other way around. Italian innovation is creativity intensive rather than science and capital intensive. This does not prevent Italian-made products, unique in their beauty and design, from using the most advanced technologies available. Italian family companies are an integral part of Italian "social capital", which comprises social relations, collaboration, natural heritage and local institutions. This is why such enterprises are aware of their increased responsibility to leverage the "social capital" of which they are an integral part. Thus, Italian industrial districts and their member family companies are open to international relations and external input.

24 November 200

imparare a Milano
The FGB was invited to take part in the "1st Check up on the state of Learning. Learning: moving from human resources to people; from training to personal development" organised by the Italian Association for Human Resource Management (AIDP) and the Italian Trainers' Association (AIF). The aim of the debate was to analyse current shift in the labour market between the concept of "human resource" (a tool to achieve third-party goals) and the idea of a "person" (a subject who can plan and achieve his/her own goals). For this reason, it will no longer suffice to talk about training; we need to think about personal development and growth. The discussion also touched on innovation and the relation between learning and producing wealth and value.

27 November 2006

Cellule e Cittadini
Piero Bassetti spoke at the presentation of a book entitled, Cellule e Cittadini. Biotecnologie nello spazio pubblico, edited by Massimiano Bucchi and Federico Neresini, which was held at the University of Milan. Biotechnologies were presented as emblematic of recent transformations that have impacted scientific research and technological innovation in today's society. Sociologist, Massimiano Bucchi, who teaches the sociology of science and the sociology of communication at the University of Trento, recently edited Sapere, fare, potere. Verso un'innovazione responsabile on behalf of the FBG, based on a collection of lectures organised by the FGB between 2002 and 2005.

21 December 2006

Represented by its Chairman, the Bassetti Foundation was invited to take part in the World Trade Center Advisory Board of east Lombardy (Brescia), where Arnold Sherman, WTC representative for the state of Montana, was also present. The aim of the meeting, coordinated by Brescia WTC Chairman, Ferdinando Cavalli, was twofold: to find new synergies between the Bassetti Foundation and the east Lombardy WTC and to propose collaboration between SMEs in Brescia and Montana, represented by Sherman. Piero Bassetti said he was very pleased by the outcome, "We are very much aware of the innovative drive promoted by Brescia's SMEs in recent years. An idea that our Foundation also promotes is that we need to move beyond local models in order to be competitive in the global market. This is why our cultural centres need greater mobility, and the idea of ties with Montana means painlessly connecting Brescia's industrial network with the global one. The WTC offers precisely this opportunity".

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newsletter FGB febbraio 2007
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