Viewed 5205 times | Published on 2020-04-08 | Updated on 2020-04-09 07:00:35 | words: 12725
as you probably saw, it has been a couple of months since the most recent article.
I had planned to keep this article short, but eventually it became a meta-layer on top of other articles that I posted online since 2015.
Focus of this "layer on top of other articles": you can see from the title...
Anyway, despite its length, it is mainly the kick-start of a work-in-progress, that will be developed through various media (I am also using the "lockdown" in Italy to update and add new skills, useful in analysis and research for cultural and organizational change), and other initiatives.
The common theme of what I have been working on during this quarantene is what you saw online since autumn 2019: data-centric, open data, democracy- all represented within the DataDemocracy section of this website.
On this website you can find few thousand pages (actually, a selection of what I started publishing while living in Brussels in 2007, some material now offline will return in another format), so I selected slightly more than 120 pages, spread across slightly more than a dozen of articles over four years, to focus the discussion.
This article "per se" is divided in twelve sections- starting, of course, with a preamble.
Actually, since February I started letting know my local observers in Italy drafts of a post more focused on Turin, Italy and its future.
The focus? What's next, and the "three colors" (plus one) within the transition of Italy.
Various drafts were "leaked" (the beauty of knowing what leaks and what doesn't) on purpose- as also if currently I am not working locally as a cultural and organizational change consultant, I follow the practice that I adopted after my passage through Rome and Brussels.
Or: share publicly what could be of general interest, and use the observers as a "back-channel" to hopefully share what could be of general interest, but for various reasons I would usually share it only with customers (public, private, non-profit), or at least would release with a delay.
At the bottom of this article, I share the "visual outline" that I had developed for that article, further material will follow in the future.
Nonetheless, if you visit either my facebook profile or linkedin profile, you can find between January 2020 and April 2020 various posts that share commentary on related issues: talent management, succession in family-owned companies, the forthcoming selection of the main industrialists' association new top management, and commentary on business, political, social events.
Anyway, this month started to post on my personal yet mainly public Facebook short commentary on "Italian cultural keywords" from the Treccani dictionary, keywords that underline some habits that served well Italy in the past, but that, even without the current crisis, or the one of 2008, already created issues at least since the 1970s.
What are the three colors I was referring to?
Yes, inspired by three movies- blue, white, red, but in a different order from the movies from Krzysztof Kieslowski, and on a different subject (albeit equally emotional: innovation and social evolutions have always been emotional affairs).
In my case, each color represents a different approach to innovation and social evolution.
White, where a contraction of available resources does not generate a corresponding reconsideration of power structures and arrangements- resistance to change masked as innovation.
Red, an approach that adds on the "white" a curious rationale to call for joining forces- but in order to explicitly support those who assume almost a divine mandate in their existing role.
Blue, the first sign of evolution, that tries to couple an obvious continuation of the status quo, with a sharing of future benefits.
As those are obviously the colors of the French national flag, I added a fourth color, green, which is the difference between the Italian and the French flag (no surprise there, if you know the history of both).
It is has actually a different meaning, in this context, as Italy, while being a country with few natural resources for the XIX-XX century fossil fuels economy, has actually potentially three resources that might be critical for the next industrialization.
- Natural resources, such as water, coastlines, a network of thousands inhabited locations that have been connected for two thousand years or more, and could be points within a different arrangement
- Human capital, due to centuries of accumulated knowledge via educational institutions (some of the oldest European institutions are in Italy, from banks to universities)
- Cultural heritage, that is, in my view, more an enabler than just a resource to use for tourism
As you can see, I discount the existing aggregated wealth- as financial resources aren't what is missing in our globalized economy, and local resources are frankly mismanaged and with too many relational strings attached, to be relevant.
There is a flip side, that I kept writing about since I first posted online an article on change (2003): Italy still lacks a "unified Weltanschauung".
Whenever there is an element of scarcity, or other form of crisis, quarreling between its parts starts- and the Government often (not just now) had to balance different sets of localized interests, and returning rivalries such as that between Turin and Milan, or Milan and Rome.
If you lived in Brussels, probably you can see how this, in effect, is something not that much different from the inherent weakness of the European Union: what many years ago described as a "Fair Weather Union".
Yes, on the national level we still have a stronger level of formal cohesion, but that does not represent an indication of the level of operational cohesion, as shown by the current crisis.
And in Italy we add on top of that also a "tribal" element, whereas whenever a new set of resources (human or financial capital) is needed, we rather try to build capabilities in our own small or enlarged tribe, than pool resources- adding procrastination and missed timeframes for opportunities almost as a national habit.
Over the last ten days, I followed few courses on Coursera to update, expand, and resurrect my knowledge of epidemiology (as I studied it long ago, first as I wanted to re-use in business risk management and cultural/organizational change management concepts from risk management and diffusion methods from medical risk management and cultural anthropology).
Which courses? Three on "technicalities" and "updates":
1. Johns Hopkins "Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials"
2. Imperial College "Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19"
3. Johns Hopkins "Fighting COVID-19 with Epidemiology: A Johns Hopkins Teach-Out"
While also reviewed quickly and read few books on and around epidemiology (and plan to read more).
My interest? As usual, cultural and organizational change: any epidemic, moreover any outbreak that eventually evolved into a full-fledged pandemic, produces a long-lasting set of social impacts.
Therefore, looking at "technicalities" also in the past was useful to understand the whole picture.
Hence, as a final (preliminary) touch, yesterday and today went through a fast re-watching of the lessons on the history of epidemiology since the XVII century from Yale, that I had first studied in June 2013 (it is within the online portfolio that Yale started posting online at least in 2009, when I followed a course on Game Theory).
Now it is funny to receive from Coursera and others suggestions for further courses in clinical trials and epidemiology.
Even funnier, as since my time in Brussels, routinely I receive CV requests for missions within the pharma industry- missions where I always lack this or that skill or experience that I consider critical (coming from cultural and organizational change and, before that, politics, I am quite hard-nosed whenever I have to scrutinize requirements for success- I take risks when it is my own budget and my own time, but I dislike the habit of taking risks on somebody else's budget and time).
If you read either my mini-books (many can be read for free online) or other articles on this site, or even commentary on Facebook or Linkedin, you know that I routinely criticize the hyperspecialization of post-WWII, as inadequate for our forthcoming (in some cases, current) social transformation.
There is a time for everything, and there will always be a role for hyperspecialists who can blend a mix of skills, knowledge, experience that for the time being cannot be yet replaced by software (albeit, as shown for e.g. the interpretation of medical exams, in some cases software now delivers results akin to those delivered by the best human doctors).
Gradually, we removed "bridging" skills- except in roles that, in most organizations, are too far away from the operational side to actually leverage on that "bridging" to spot and steer opportunities when visible, as the communication chain is too long.
A recent knowledge update I followed (was re-opened last week for few months, if interested) is a course on "intrapreneurship", i.e. entrepreneurship within an organization.
My interest? I think that in the future (but in some industries, already in the past), most opportunities will have a really limited shelf-life: not enough to survive through the traditional "business case approval cycle".
And, as I wrote already almost two decades ago, those on the "frontline" are probably the best antennas to deliver information critical to identify and maybe even anticipate trends (it was based on my experience since the late 1980s on quantitative support to management, and then cultural/organizational change management)
If interested the (free) course is Intrapreneurship - Employee-driven Innovation.
Automation is gradually extending toward what was in the past considered "intellectual work" or "manual work that requires human intervention".
The future of human intellectual activities will require more often than now a "systemic view".
Most of everything else will be automated, except labor-intensive but unstructured manual work, or when it is socially preferable to still have humans (e.g. some person-to-person services, albeit COVID-19 showed how avatars and co-bots plus other IT could be used creatively to cover activities that in ordinary hospitals used to be covered by humans).
Many "mind narrowing" specializations that were functional during the post-WWII rebuilding and industrialization will turn into redundancies over the next few decades.
This article is a both a digest of selected previous articles, and a commentary on some ideas (min and from others) on the way forward.
As I wrote on Facebook on March 12th while commenting on an announce by an Italian company of a forthcoming new faster test on COVID-19, we are entering into a "Dr. Strangelove" scenario, or... "how I stopped fearing COVID-19, and learned to live with it", paraphrasing the title of that movie.
Because now as in early March I think that, the way it is being socially managed this disease, and not just in Italy, we will have some structural impacts for a while.
A blessing in disguise, as these temporary changes (e.g. quarantine, impromptu teleworking in schools, workplaces, and, yes, even for politicians, à la Judge Dredd) could help reassess priorities but, more importantly, allocation of resources and supply chains, as well the structure and deployment of the life-work balance, by highlighting tons of small details that technologists ignore.
Just in time, as otherwise we will have technologists drive e.g. the design of smart cities, and discover only downstream how many "human sides" have been forgotten.
As I wrote in the past, paraphrasing somebody else, technology is too critical for our future society to let technologists alone drive it..
Actually, since January 2020 on Facebook shared links to articles, websites, courses, movies that I think could be a relevant cultural background while designing what's next.
As it was reminded today by a survey shared on the the Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, the impact on HR of COVID-19 will be structural.
Hence, we have to think systemically- mere tinkering could apparently be easier to sell, cheaper, and faster, but would terminally damage competitiveness.
Therefore, Italy (but not just Italy) needs to see what happened to many of its XIX century organizational structures and XX century industrial and business organizations not just due to the COVID-19, but since the beginning of this XXI century.
As will be discussed e.g. on the percentage of Italians with access to Internet at home (not just on smartphones), Italy started "drifting away" from the EU average since at least 2001 (showing up in statistics in 2002), while most of the other countries (except few mainly former-COMECON countries) converged with the "best of the pack".
As I wrote above, this relatively long and dense article is mainly an introduction outlining a publishing roadmap- more will follow.
You are welcome to follow any of the online profiles listed on my outline website.
1. The quest for an industrial policy
(Reference: Per una politica industriale che veda oltre le prossime elezioni #industry40 #GDPR #cybersecurity / For an industrial policy that survives election cycles #industry40 #GDPR #cybersecurity)
In my view, industrial policy is a matter of continuous improvement, not of something cast in stone- as an industrial policy is (or should be) about both competitiveness and sustainability.
Or: what's the point of building, in the XXI century, an industrial policy that short-term improves competitiveness, but at the cost of destroying future potential and adding "environmental ballast" whose disposal cost exceeds any value added generated by the industrial policy?
My view on continuous improvement is a personal one: "Whenever a mission is coming to an end I do have a routine- I check which lessons learned during that mission are worth remembering.
And, obviously, I do check any adjustment needed to my skills".
Unfortunately, in Italy we are used to laws such as those that supported the transition toward Industry/Business 4.0, i.e. a first release, followed by annual adjustments and "stop-gap" measures- both expanding and contracting coverage.
That isn't an industrial policy, as no business can plan investments that require a long-term view with year-on-year returns to the drawing board.
Thinking long term is already something elusive for companies that, due to the their small size, lack the organizational structures (and, often, capabilities) to identify, design, implement, monitor long-term plans.
I think that building up an industrial policy for Italy would first require building up knowledge capabilities within Italian companies so that they can actually contribute to the definition of such a policy, contribution that cannot be reduced to a mere listing of desiderata.
As I discussed in a 2018 article, there is a "knowledge gap" in most business development measures.
E.g. in the early 2000s, while I supported start-ups, with some partners focused on EU funding saw how many "operational rules" had an original sin, as they assumed a multi-disciplinary team both on the side of those creating the rules, and those willing to apply for a specific line.
I am not referring to just "technical" knowledge specific to a business domain: the understanding should be more systemic, covering from the "bureaucratic" to the "financial" to the "technical" and, of course the "controlling/monitoring".
Often the reason why Italian companies do not obtain all the potential benefits of this type of incentives is because they lack an organizational culture that is multi-disciplinary.
Think just about the current industry 4.0 and business 4.0 initiatives, ranging from digital transformation within a company, to creating new "business ecosystems", or enhancing the infrastructure needed to support all that (e.g. from broadband Internet, to new ways to tax, monitor services, and bill customers).
We are partitioned in thousands of tribes, actually parochial tribes, and whenever a measure demands a multi-disciplinary approach...
...tribal competition matters (i.e. the consideration of how much a specific tribe having a specific skills would get), and trumps over the need to access specific skills to be able to build an acceptable proposal in a timely manner.
On the flip side, even recently I saw businesses focused just on... creating a business that could receive funding, not looking for funding for a business.
In Italy, usually even moderate structural growth in businesses delivers an excessive burocratization of processes and the creation of "vertical silos" well before than size demanded it in other countries.
It is a paradox: small-/medium-size companies should potentially be able to adapt to 4.0 faster than larger entities, but smaller companies lack competencies deep enough to grasp the impacts, while in larger entities those with the knowledge "circle the wagons" in their own knowledge domain, as shifting toward 4.0 would imply both losing role and being under constant monitoring.
As did in the 1990s for a customer: train across, inform, and then (as was asked by the CEO of my customer) get involved in change initiatives alongside those you trained, as an advisor, to help them build internal capabilities and a portfolio of cases that can then enter the organizational memory (and folklore).
Anyway, as I wrote in that article, you need also to have a roadmap focused on convergence, not create what consultants like ("happy islands where everybody is converted"), as otherwise you risk... "preaching to the choir"- and that isn't change- at all.
I saw that many consultant-led change initiatives lost steam as soon as the external catalyst was removed, and those who had been hunkering down were able to keep the new lingo, but deliver old habits.
As you noticed, this required leadership (taking a chance from the customer side), and this is another theme that seems to have attracted some interest....
2. Leadership in critical times
(Reference: Il paese dei leader)
This was actually prior to the previous article, and in 2019 published a follow-up in English (as this was instead in Italian- more about it later).
We do not lack laws in Italy- not just in a crisis (as now), but also in more "ordinary" times laws usually are issues in "installments", remininding a XIX century novel publication.
A country of tinkerers? No, it is a side-effect of our "tribal structure": any law or decree is discussed not in terms of "common good", but in terms of "tribal impact".
Declared or undeclared: as nobody wants to show to be focused on tribal minutiae, so, the higher the crisis, the more frequent is routine wrapping in "common national interest and pride" whenever presenting a proposed course of action.
Hence, the first round is often the minimum those potentially affecting its release (not its implementation- that is another issue) can politically sustain within their own constituency .
With "political", I consider also e.g. trades unions, or "albi" (guilds, as in Italy for many professions there are still guilds), or industrialists associations vs their members.
Then, a continuous negotiation (and some posturing) ensues, resulting in adjustments, either embedded within the implementation side, or... forcing the issue of a revised law or decree, partially striking out or altering previous ones.
You just need to visit the Italian Parliament website, and pick up some older laws (where it was more common), or recent ones on e.g. Industry 4.0 to see how the system applies, and the results.
I purposefully did not discuss the recent decrees and Government communication since January 2020: if that outlined above is the underlying culture, then obviously in a crisis this has some side-effects.
You cannot expect something like, say, a decree stating that, being a pandemic, these are the steps, and will be implemented according to scientific advice, but for the time being, as the emergency declared for X months, for those months the approach is precautionary first, and more moderate later, if situation allows (as instead, according to Al Jazeera, was done by Greece).
For those who criticized the Government for not doing enough until recently, I would like to remind that, until end February (and in some cases even in March), the same people complaining now were stating that restrictions affected business and individual freedoms out of proportion with the actual issue.
Anyway, this article isn't about COVID-19, is about preparing for its aftermath: if curious of my comments on specific issues, look at Facebook and Linkedin since late January, where purposedfully made most post "public".
Back to the article: as discussed in 2017 (and actually also in posts since 2007), as we are churning laws, regulations, decrees with a prodigious productivity, discerning which one to streamline or not would affect the balance of interests that was mirrored within the evolution of each law, regulation, decree.
Hence, we use another approach: we create new power centres and let them balance.
This has a side-effect: most decisions take forever and, when taken, are not final, until all converge.
Our escapism from reality and choices is mirrored into another habit: we look for a new "leader"- and usually they rise as fast as they fall.
Hence, another typical element is that, as soon as a leader is not needed anymore, or does not represent the current balance of interests...
...suddenly there is a spontaneous yet converging intervention- ranging from media complaining about what they praised until not too long before, to investigations on what was an open secret ("segreto di Pulcinella") yet not formally investigated (or investigated but not pursued).
Still, we routinely avoid the complexity in our tribal system by invoking, or promoting on the field, a new leader that will, quite conveniently, turn also into a scapegoat for any excesses tolerated when useful, and decried when "passé".
I am not referring just to current or recent (i.e. since "Mani Pulite", early 1990s) history, you can return to details of something I quote often, the "Scandalo della Banca Romana", in the late XIX century.
Since WWII (but also during the monarchy since Italian unification), most often governments were "torpedoed" by members of the coalition sustaining the government- including the predecessor of the current government.
I will let you go to the Italian article for more details on current and past political culture history.
The point that I am making here is simple: we use leaders to escape the dual complexity of making choices, and making choices that, as a tribe, might return on us and affect relationships.
Hence, more than once in the "Second Italian Republic" (since the 1990s), we had a "technical" government, i.e. calling in somebody from a bureaucracy, and appointing him (as so far only men have been called) as Presidente del Consiglio on a government nominally composed by "experts" in the activities within the portfolio of each ministry.
With a couple of side-effects:
a) often, the mandate was actually a political mandate to deliver something that no political party could "sell" to its supporting "tribes"
b) being a good analyst or researcher or historical memory (what most of those experts were), often used to manage a small team of peers or assistants, and deal accordingly with others sharing the same educational background, does not prepare you to manage e.g. a ministry with thousands of employees with a various educational and social backgrounds, or to negotiate and deal with all the government's and local authorities scattered around the country to ensure implementation.
Personally, I learned that also implementing change is highly contextualized, i.e. what works in some companies or domains or locations does not necessarily work (or might actually build further resistance to change) in others.
Hence, I am quite skeptical of all those "change management methodologies" that, frankly, are projection of specific organizational cultures.
The same applies to systems such as ERP or CRM: it was a common refrain from customers who used e.g. SAP in the late 1990s (and smaller companies that tried more recently), as they understood that anything that (software or human) tries to be "systemic" across a varied customer base is actually carrying its own "baseline culture" inside.
You ignore it at your own peril.
Often, more than a fault of the software or methodology, it was a fault of advisors, who, for the sake of "selling" a quick fix overcoming complexity (i.e. the same approach we Italians have with leaders), glossed over the cultural background that was "embedded" within.
I like (and used) instead more "relational" methodologies, such as MSP from OGC, and co-opted from cultural anthropology other approaches.
Which implies: sometimes, I had to turn down change projects where either the mandate wasn't there, or the mandate was there, but was not supported (and the customer did not see this as a crucial element) from sound knowledge of the reality of the organization's real culture, and such an assessment was deemed not relevant.
This article is really focused on "moving forward past COVID-19" or, as I posted on Facebookon March 12, 2020 to learn to live with COVID-19 (at least for a while).
One element that is minor within any cultural and organizational change initiative, and studied from the military, but now will be extended to a systemic level, is PTSD and its impact on decision-making processes.
I liked a recent speech from the Czar appointed by the Italian Government on the current Crisi, Arcuri (head of the Italian Investment Agency), who gave the good news (slowing down of the disease), but nudging toward a "Keep Calm and Stay Indoor".
He didn't use any complex argument, said just to remember the number of deaths in Italy so far (16523), and then repeated the number four times.
Furthermore, in Italy we confuse between "leadership" and "authority": in a democracy, personally I think that you need more of the former to justify any bit of the latter, not the other way around.
as I wrote repeatedly, in Italy we have often self-appointed leaders who then get a round at the top due for lack of alternatives.
Whenever something unpopular is needed, and therefore somebody who is considered as having no "political staying power" is preferable, if successful, to somebody who could then build a legacy; also because most of the latter would not take the risk.
Trouble is when these newly found leaders fail to acknowledge their status, and assume that whatever they do is correct- it happened routinely in Italian history (well, let's go back to Julius Caesar, if you want), and the results were always the same (e.g. by crossing the Rubicon, JC turned into a de-facto enemy of the status quo).
Curious how, with the same ritual, a defensive over-reaction generally brings in more of what was replaced.
So, every couple of decades or so, we had a similar cycle for more than a century.
In a country of thousands tribes, political parties do not really represent the distribution of power, unless you count also "informal" political parties, i.e. organized groups of interests outside the Parliament, but influencing its choices (and careers of its members).
A leadership in bridging, not in ruling, is needed in Italy to turn our still infantile democracy (at 70!) into an adult.
To then build up something longer-term than mere temporary interests of the various tribes.
And, incidentally, for those stating that this "tribal" element is an original sin of the Italian Republic...
... well, go back, far back in the history of the Italian peninsula, at least at the origins of Rome.
Listening is probably more important than talking- albeit you have to choose appropriately those that you listen to.
Many years ago, shared online a post on Jago and Othello: re-read Shakespeare, it might give you a hint of how the ritual cycle of Italian leaders is, often, in their lost of touch with reality, by surrounding themselves with those who agree with them.
Personally, I think that most of the "new" political movements I saw since I started observing actively Italian politics in the late 1970s share the same characteristics discussed above.
A first sign of a real change, in my view, would be to drop some of the "opinion crimes" on our statutes, used routinely to silence journalists or avoid criticism.
Until those and other changes will happen, I think that the Article 67 of the Italian Constitution (that stipulates that any Member of the Parliament represents the Nation, and not a single political party) along with a purely proportional system would be the only defense against a continuous cycle of "quest for a lone leader".
There is a book I read a while ago, whose title is "L'approdo mancato": I discussed it in Italian, along other books and a recent report on Turin and Italy #economia della #transizione #Torino #Italia #innovazione.
That book, along with others discussed in the above mentioned article, shows quantitatively how much italy since WWII, after an initial "jump" (more due to the need to overcome the deep destruction of its infrastructure and social life after the Civil War at the end of WWII), started diverging.
Personally, when I started working in the 1980s, already saw something unusual, but understood it better when, for my employers, went around Italy, in my early 20s, and worked with senior management across a wide array of companies and industries to develop quantitative decision support models, and compared it with what I had seen in political activities across Europe while in high school, and then discussed with foreign colleagues in the late 1980s.
Yes, probably it is appropriate that I have been considered a foreigner in my own country, as most of my business experience and activities, also when interacting with and working for Italian companies, included and involved foreign companies and multinationals...
So, this current crisis is actually an opportunity similar to what happened after WWII.
Everybody talks about building up resilience, but nobody wants to accept what this implies... and how the "tribal" element could be useful but has to adapt.
Anyway, I will discuss this point at the end- as in any crisis the routine request is to "streamline laws".
But you can also read the article in English on parallels between Marechal Pétain Vichy France, and the Italian concept of leadership, when an Italian politician asked for "full powers"- it contained also an English version (updated for summer 2019) on that 2017 article in Italian (Il paese dei leader / The leaders' country takes a page from Vichy).
As I quoted from a book: "Philippe Pétain s comporta non comme s'il avait reçu son pouvoir des répresentantts du people, mais comme s'il lui était personnel": something that actually goes back to absolute monarchy, i.e. power as bestowed by divine intervention, with voters (however large the voters community) being just a means to an end, not a decision-making entity.
3. The Tafazzi approach to communication
(Reference: Miopia culturale e politica industriale in #Italia)
Well, the title is both a cultural and a scientific Italian reference (the links are toward Wikipedia, but have a look at "Tafazzi" on YouTube).
Do not worry, the only thing about the protein that I will share is: "The TAZ gene provides instructions for producing a protein called tafazzin, which is localized to mitochondria, the energy-producing centers of cells. Tafazzin transacylase activity is responsible for cardiolipin remodeling, critical to maintaining mitochondrial inner membrane structure and function. It also has unique acyl specificity and membrane curvature sensing capabilities.".
No, I do not claim to be able to explain that: I was just searching a non-graphical description of Tafazzi on Wikipedia, and I saw also the article on the protein named after him...
Done my duty toward science, time to get back to the reason why I quoted Tafazzi in this short update and commentary on the linked article, written in 2015, were I shared that often, in Italy, a rallying cry around the flag and national interest is usually seen as a solution per se.
Or: just rally, roll up your sleeves, and things will change for good
Well... it seems that be it in the 1990s or 2000s (e.g. girotondi), or 2010s (from "Forconi" to "Sardine"), a flash mob is just that- a mob that consorts in a flash, the fuzzier the purposes the better to expand its size.
Anyway, a flash mob is a poor tool for action: unless you qualify "action" as sitting together and making noise: due to a lack of a real convergence of interest toward action, the adrenaline unleashed by each get together it what keeps it alive.
And most of those "get together" end up being led by a "Lord of the Flies" who starts as a democrat, and ends up as a whimsical, mercurial despot.
This "mob rule" applies in small and big choices- and, unfortunately, also where defining a model of society to aim ("principles") should be considered a first step, not a collateral positive externality.
Within the 2015 article discussed specifically how this approach was often applied also to something such defining an industrial policy for the country, but by aggregating (you guess it) the interests of prevailing tribes.
Including, curiously, the view of managers of former State-owned behemots that actually originated from pre-WWII nationalizations and State initiatives (yes, the fascist corporate state phase), and, courtesy of Cold War, transitioned post-WWII with a change in leadership, but often limited change in behavior.
After privatizations, notably from the 1990s, many of those same companies merged and turned into something closer to Yeltsin era privatizations.
Even in this current crisis, the replacement for an industrial policy has been (and well before the COVID-19 crisis- I am referring to the one started in the early 2000s, again well before 2008) routinely to... invoke a "golden share".
Or: a political industry as a replacement for an industrial policy.
You can forbid or penalize businesses that relocate abroad, but to what end?
Will that make they grow? personally, in 2015 as before, and even more now, I considered that approach self-defeating, something that in politics is called in Italy "Tafazzismo", after a stand-up TV comic that whenever making self-defeating statements used on his own private parts something mimicking Fred Flinstone's baseball bat...
Why? because delocalization and "drifting" started decades ago: reshoring will certainly happen in some cases, but as I wrote in Italian, many associate cheering crowds (be it citizens in the streets, at political events, on in industrialists' association meetings) with ability to deliver.
Which is sorely missing- also because, beside the physical equivalent of Facebook Likes (flash mobs), there is no convergence of resources and analysis toward a shared roadmap for action.
Frankly, it would be more interesting e.g. to connect with the new silk road, instead of doing it via other countries, as I think heard first from a former politicians, former Presidente della Camera Pivetti (now working for a railway advocacy group), at an event organized in Turin by the local industrialists' association.
I never voted for Northern League, the political party she belonged to, and I have no links to the railway industry (it is actually one of the few where I never worked), but in my view it makes sense to find positive reasons to reshore, than relying on negative fiscal or external reasons (right now COVID-19 is a good excuse for many who clamored for a fancical autarchy long before it).
Will globalization survive COVID-19? Well, I think so- but it will be a different kind of globalization, notably for Italy (provided that Italy does something proactive).
Creating incentives to reshoring or setting up shop in Italy is not just a matter of streamlining our convoluted fiscal system that seems able to release new tinkering measures almost on a weekly basis.
That would help but, frankly, if the behavior is predictable and manageable, a foreign company, if there were business reasons to set up shop in Italy, could quite easily do what others did in other countries: find a local "service provider" that would "filter" them from local complexity.
And, actually, since the 1980s I always advised my foreign colleagues who liked Italy when they visited for business, if they wanted to stay, to get hired by a foreign company, or at least negotiate in their package also full interfacing toward local and national authorities, utilities, etc.
In November 2015 I was an optimist: I assumed that I would have stayed in Italy a couple of years more (and, actually, I had said so in my interview for a contract in July 2015), but it seems that in Italy it is not just to companies that the approach on "reshoring" is "making impossible to leave".
Again: Italy needs to invest on human capital, as this is a critical element to move forward, but that should be coupled by creating positive opportunities, not generating artificial tunnels.
There was a time when actually the concept of orchestration was different
4. The aftermath of WWII and industrial policy in Italy
(Reference: From #Mattei to #MES / #ESM - #Europe and #Italy)
In late 2019 shared within an article a quick recap of what happened in Italy post-WWII, sharing also references to book reviews on material to add more depth, if you are interested (e.g. because, current autarchy lunacy notwithstanding, you consider Italy not just an interesting target market, but a location where to potentially develop something- be it for business or personal purposes).
Everybody in Italy currently has a clear, "economic faith"-based position on the European ESM (MES in Italian), but, frankly, in that article I reminded what we are talking about, and the relative positions.
If I compare with what I wrote while living in Brussels, currently (except for purchases from ECB), the foreign share of Italian State debt lowered, looking at official Bank of Italy data, and the debt life extended.
Personally, I think that the ESM/MES is just one element of a larger model, and most of those attacking it are actually using a side route to attack two elements: first, the Euro (claiming that as if by magic a renewed Italian Lira would become immediately attractive to foreign and domestic markets: well, using debt as collateral to sustain the exchange rate?); second, the European Union (as if leaving the European Union were to solve all the Italian problems; well, we are barely two years away from the first century since Mr. Mussolini was invited to form a government by the king).
I criticized often the "Monnet Approach" (which is actually the same approach adopted in Italy) of pushing through reforms by using a crisis as a Trojan horse.
There will be many changes to be done, developing a serious industrial policy (preferably EU-wide, but I am a federalist, also because our countries are too small).
But we need to adopt a different approach- more partecipative.
Also because, as I will never get tired of repeating, and well before COVID-19, moving onto the next industrial revolution requires active participation of all those involved, using "class struggle" or it counterpart is not just stupid and short-sighted, it is also a prime example of the inability to mentally cope with the complexity of our times- a fully-fledged anachronism.
5. Potemkin villages- the relative irrelevance of decision-makers
(Reference: Innovare e rinnovare)
As I wrote in July 2016, in Italian: "come mostrato da Brexit, non sono gli argomenti ma l'argomentare che nelle nostre democrazia (in cui l'ignoranza è quasi un vanto) fornisce accesso alle stanze del potere (altro che Antica Grecia, lì partecipare alle assemblee non era una passeggiata)."
Or: it is not just with "populists"- politicians of all hues and inclinations have perfected the art of complete irrelevance while pretending to be absolutely in control.
In part probably was a development of the first real worldwide industrial war, WWII: I remember reading a book on the history of the first campaign in Northern Africa, and how logistics had to be developed to make that successful, something that then helped for D-Day and the ensuing Continental War (yes, my history buff friends will notice a tongue-in-cheek).
And, anyway, also Napoleon, as an artillery officer, was no alien from the benefits of logistics, and was able to have some early successes also through deft movement of scarce resources.
After WWII, complexity increased- e.g. the potential of the thermonuclear war altered dramatically the response time (see e.g. my review of a more recent book on Russia in the XXI century, in which I referred to a book on President Eisenhower, here).
Eventually, the development of real-time financial markets on a scale that made to pale by size, speed, means the previous telegraph-based globalization of the XIX century, further reinforced what, in part articles, already quoted as identified by Carl Schmitt in the early XX century (see here).
In my discussion with USA colleagues and friends, they often shared their view (both democrats and republicans) that, in reality, politicians create the conditions or create disruption, but jobs and the economy are really something to be done by the private sector.
This actually did not really work in a crisis, where both needed to work, as shown by President Obama and President Trump.
So, in our complex times, we need to revise our social contract, e.g. freedom of enterprise implies also self-standing resources- re-allocating public resources to private companies implies a social impact on the use of those resources: if public funding is funnelled into dividends, this is a redistributive mechanism, while the idea is that public funding should be an enabler to generate value added that exceeds the fund received.
What do I think about the current measures promoted by various governments, including the Italian government, to sustain the economy?
Sorely needed, but frankly I am a little bit uneasy whenever I see 100% guarantee from the State with no control.
Just an example: if 1mln small and tiny companies were to access the 25k EUR funding that needs just a self declaration, that would amount to 25bln released with no control whatsoever.
I do understand the need to pump immediate liquidity into companies, but at least ex-post "strings" should be attached, otherwise I do except a round of creativity and "herd immunity" due to the inability to control so many recipients.
In Italy, I didn't change my mind from my first contacts in Brussels with the precursor of M5S, "I Grillini" via Meetups.
Or: I see a continuity between part of the Partito Radicale, part of the Di Pietro (who because famous for his role as a magistrate for the "Mani Pulite" investigation)- both in terms of backing, and in terms of rethoric and approach to political debate (all three of them do not debate, assert).
The curious point is that in the 2016 article found some parallels within the weaknesses of both the main political parties that now are partners in government, M5S and PD.
Back then my concept was that innovation (that isn't just a mere incremental innovation) requires a leap of faith (yes, a little bit Schumpeterian).
Considering that in 2016 already the Italian situation wasn't a paramount of growth, and that also the European Union at large wasn't a tiger, risk governance in my view was more important than creating a "Sturm und Drang" engine for change.
We were in the immediate aftermath of Brexit initial steps, and therefore it was visible how institutional change isn't a free lunch.
I think that Italy is a European country, but historically we suffered, as some said in the XIX century, from being too large to be a backbencher between the countries, and too small (and back then too poor) to be at the forefront.
Therefore we need to find a balance between our instinctive Europhilia (routinely, in the past, Italy was a leading country in polls on "being European"), and real Europhobia (routinely, in the past, Italy was a leading country in... non compliance).
6. A fair weather union revisited
(Reference: Tra eurofobia ed eurofilia)
So, eleven months after the 2016 article discussed in the previous section, in June 2017 shared a commentary on "tra eurofobia ed eurofilia", with some links to material from the media.
It is in Italian, and using Italian cultural references, so I will not even try to translate it (unless requested), but one item I used within the article as a way to summarize can be shared.
Seeing Italians' attitudes toward "Europe" (instead of just "European Union" or "Euro"), identified five attitudes:
I think that the descriptions are self-explanatory.
Personally, as you can expect, I pigeonholed myself within the category number 4, i.e. eurolukewarm, a qualified yes, akin to a "we are in, let's try to make it work better".
I like debating with those who disagree from me- "preaching to the choir" is boring...
...much better listening to others and see if we can "agree to disagree", i.e. we can share observations, start diverging on diagnosis, and propose different therapies.
Unfortunately, "political debate" in Italy today is often closer to "preaching to the choir": both europhobic and europhiliacs are inclined to exclude and deride each other.
The only exception reminds me of an old saying: I and my brother against my neighbour; I, my brother, my neighbour against our enemy.
So, when we have to quarrel with Brussels, often we end up making a united front based on "us vs. them", more than on any negotiation strategy.
In that article, along with a small SNAFU (in one paragraph I reversed the position of the five clusters), shared also links to multimedia that does not require any Italian language skills.
Instead, more seriously discussed how, for a couple of decades, the Italian élites played a self-defeatist game, e.g. in business by moving abroad full production lines, assuming that their foreign suppliers would not think "why should we keep these guys in the loop"- a case of cultural hybris with a whiff of racism (I still hear way too many belittling non-whites as a way to relate with globalization).
On the business side, we have in Italy still way too many cultural biases about our exceptionalism that negatively affect our ability to compete.
From vague references to the Roman Empire, to the creation of modern banking, to Renaissance, Leonardo, Galilei, to innate creativity, to being the country with most UNESCO heritage sites, to our cooking, food, fashion...
...make your pick: it is not detrimental to be proud about your past, but it is if that then does not push you to ask "why cannot achieve that now?"
If more of my fellow Italians were to ask that simple question, they would recognize that the context is different- and that we Italians are different.
We need to compete within the XXI century, not the I century, or the XIV.
Our cohesion is crisis-related, and based not on stamina and resilience, but on adrenaline.
As soon as the crisis is gone, and adrenaline returns to normal levels, we start again our tribal quarrels, as shown over the last few days, as soon as the trend of COVID-19 infections slowed down.
In 2017 I called our Europhobia (now returning) a "fig leaf"- akin to the one that was set on statues.
Developing a political industry requires a long-term perception of your target- and a continuous monitoring of what your competitors are doing, to adjust as needed, or identify potential partners or, for larger initiatives, also co-competitors (your competitors that could actually be interested and interesting in being partners for part of the journey, to pool resources).
Overall hundreds of billions of EUR were announced in Italy as support to keep the economy afload during the COVID-19 lockdown and move onto phase 2 (i.e. the "Dr. Strangelove" scenario, or how to get used for a while to the virus as part of our everyday environment).
I am looking forward to see how that will be managed- as I already wrote a while ago on both Facebook and Linkedin on the risk of "coronadressing" of companies that were what is called "zombies" for a while (i.e. courtesy of low interests, could generate enough cash-flow to keep their credit lines alive, but would never be a "normal" business).
Again, as in other past articles I discussed so far, I think that what is asking now e.g. the centre-right (removing red tape) would maybe work elsewhere, but it is just one element of the picture, as, in our current culture, if anything we have to ensure an efficient allocation of resources.
Why? Because 25, 200, 400bln EUR now are nice joint political messages supported across the political spectrum- but we are overloading an already high national debt at a time when there is already the dual issue of converting our economy toward a new model, while new generations work in a purely "gig economy"- and there are worries about having a sustainable welfare system.
Within the Italian article of 2017 I then discussed the consequences- you can have a look there if you are interested.
It is a matter of sustainability.
And, in Italy, the COVID-19 crisis showed that our balance of powers between central government and regional governments still require some tuning.
7. Balancing national and local constituencies
(Reference: Articolo 5)
Art 5 of the Italian Constitution is about the balance between central and regional and local government, also if we had to wait until this century to see it implemented.
Many are criticizing what happened, on both sides of the divide.
Frankly, I think that, from a bipartisan perspective, it reminds me what I observed over a decade ago, when Italy, after 9/11, did try to do "live" exercises in case we had a terrorist attack.
When I was living in London, by chance after my Sunday roast lunch, while walking back home via Bank, I ended up in the middle of an exercise, and heard that it wasn't the resounding success with minor glitches that was later claimed.
Actually, a scene within the movie "Dirty War" (about a dirty bomb attack on London) reminded me what I had observed.
But it was one of the first ones, then I expected that to improve.
Something similar occurred in Italy, when, while arriving nearby Genoa, for an exercise Italian drivers did not behave as expected: I saw cars going in reverse gear on the highway, etc.
The issue: if you deliver powers that are never used, you need to train, exercise, test, tune, if you want the capabilities to be available and useful when needed.
Otherwise, tribal concerns imply that nobody takes any initiative that could affect its constituents unless (s)he is confident that is really needed.
Within the Italian political system, the civil service is frankly seen as a transmission belt for political parties- you win, you place your people.
Then when you lose the elections... most of your people are still left in, so, whoever wins, needs to find way to insert new people.
In that article discussed specifically what was happening in Turin, Piedmont, were I lived back then.
I have a long list of documented examples of local incompetence, public and private, but I shared some of them on Facebook, the point for the current article is simpler: we need not just to streamline rules, structures, or entertain yet another shuffle of competencies between national and local or regional power centres.
We need to revise and split the spoils system between a political side (it is appropriate that a new political majority will have its own political program to implement) and a "structural" side.
And the latter would need to be provided resources to keep in prime shape what are critical capabilities.
I do not share current criticism on past cuts to the national health system or its privatization.
As I shared online over the last few weeks, if we had had all the ICUs and associated specialist staff that we have now, sitting idle for years, our cost cutting tribunes would have, as in the past, launched fatwas against waste within the health services.
If we were to split between "political" and "structural", then we could do capacity planning on at least few layers: now, on demand, phase-in, etc.
Or: the minimum that is needed, the resources that are in reserve and can be activated (implying: on which time delay, and how often they have to be recalled to check that they and their equipment are still operational), etc.
You can turn in days a production line into one delivering ICUs, probably.
But you cannot convert in two days a family doctor into an anaesthesiologist or pneumologist.
Yes, we have to revise some privatizations- no surprise that in most regions half or more of the budget goes to regional healthcare: it is a fair assessment to say that each hospital, or each private clinic can be a political reservoir of votes.
The Italian spoils system generates what I described in that article as "cordate strutturali" (i.e. akin to when you climb, one linked to the other, but in this case with not options to "unlock" from the rope), where you cannot single out, it is a "take or leave" for the entire chain.
In our future (actually, current) society, we need something else.
8. Building human capital
(Reference: #talent #attraction and #retention within a #data - #centric #society)
A first cultural element that we should lose is "not born here": not being Italian, or not being of Italian ancestry, does not affect the ability to contribute to the Italian community.
As I wrote often, while living in Turin between 2015 and 2018, routinely I met with foreign university students, notably at the Turin Polytechnic.
More often than not, they appreciated what and how they were studying, but had no intention of remaining in Turin or Italy.
It wasn't just a matter of salaries (albeit, if other countries offer three times as much, probably that could make a difference), but mainly of opportunities.
Over a decade ago, e.g. engineering students from India said that they wanted to move to USA, as they considered that there were more opportunities there.
Recently, those I talked with were focusing on Germany.
Talent development and retention is what many talk and write about.
Or: developing "human capital", and then keeping it.
But in our complex world, notably in a country where we lack large companies, talent development is closely connected to talent attraction- i.e. finding reasons and ways to attract talent from organizations able to develop the talent needed to... act as a catalyst to develop further organizational and "technological" (i.e. domain-specific) talent.
As an example, one good manager able to structure the work of few can also help some of them develop into further managers, instead of just keeping them busy.
In my old times on Decision Support Systems, the idea was also to introduce a transition from "gut feeling management" toward "data-based management".
Starting with few, and then using those few to "seed" a cultural (and not just and organizational) change.
Yes, talent attraction, development, management, retention are actually working along a kind of "knowledge epidemiology".
In the 1980s in Italy, it was still an exception, but in our data-centric early XXI century, notably to restart while consolidating lessons derived from this first quarter (and probably also the second quarter) of 2020.
I posted in the past few articles, but you can read the article from January 2020 where I shared both few pointers and few ideas.
Even before the current lockdown, Italy was late on preparedness in its transition towawd a data-centric world.
9. Transitioning toward a data-centric society
(Reference: The #future in a #data-#centric #world? Thinking about #automotive, #banking, #retail, and... #M&A)
In early February 2020, I shared some considerations about the impacts I expected, discussing concepts about automotive, banking, retail and M&A, as the first three are those I worked in most often since the 1980s, while I was involved directly or indirectly on few of mergers, acquisitions, and associated activities.
In my view, it is a matter of few "themes" (to lift a concept from OGC's MSP):
1. governance 2. sustainability of industries.
You can read details in that article, and the recent lockdown worked actually as a "what if" about the future.
What is the concept of "future"? In this context, future in a data-centric society, where both the organization of work, consumption, and social relationships (as well as time) will change.
A couple of weeks before that article, shared some other considerations, on what is needed to build such a "future"- you can directly read those few pages (see #decision #making : #preparing for a #data #centric #future).
Short summary: yes, "data-centric", but "data" is just an element.
What matters is how you use data, and the talent you build for that purpose- not just data specialists (not only data scientists- somebody proposed also "Chief Data Officers"), but also by embedding "data orientation" across the organization.
It is about decision-making and decision-makers, contextualization of data, and something else.
In Italy, often the business culture is still pre-industrial in its instinct, e.g. as if knowledge were to be transferred from generation to generation.
So, in a data-centric world, we still need to develop a different kind of managers and management abilities.
10. Common good and the age of consent
(Reference: #transparency and #digital #transformation: #emergence of the #common #good in the #age of #consent)
In early January I actually shared a 15 pages article just on this theme: what is needed in terms of mindset- consent, trust, transparency, and, overall, treating citizens (public and corporate) as citizens, not subjects.
The title is a mouthful, but summarizes all the key elements, and actually is connected to an article from two weeks before that covered a different element.
Moving toward a new structure of social relationships and roles requires adopting a different framework, but without dropping all the aggregated organizational memory.
Or: what our society, specifically not just Italy but also the European Union, learned.
Another title that was a mouthful, for the first article that I published in 2020, was: "Assessing systemically: the data side of #European #Union #integration within #digital #transformation".
The concept is simple: we need to converge, and redesign the roles EU-wide, not anymore just along national boundaries, as e.g. many companies are used to work with companies in other Member States: nationality is irrelevant, supply chain role is.
Within that article I actually showed a couple of examples from UN SDGs that became relevant now.
What is a major infrastructural weakness in Italy on the road to digital transformation, something I wrote about for years?
Obviously, the obsolete data transmission infrastructure.
I remembered how a customer, decades ago, in order to be able to provide a reliable network for its customers' ATMs, had to build its own infrastructure.
Routinely, Italy's deployment of broadband Internet is assessed to be behind schedule, and still suffering the issue I discussed in other articles about the size of Italian companies.
As most companies are small, they are often outside town.
While broadband access is becoming common where the market has customers (in towns), and EU initiatives support instead areas that are losing population (e.g. mountain villages), the typical location of many small companies (on the outskirts of major towns, or in areas between major towns) keeps them far apart from major population centres.
Side effect? They are neither in areas supported by the market, nor in those supported by public initiatives.
As these "grey" areas lack broadband access, many small companies cannot develop supply chain integrations that would require a continuous, fast, reliable access- so, they don't.
And, as shown in that article, unfortunately each assessment on number of Italian citizens with Internet access since 2002 showed that we were... below average.
A litmus test was e.g. the use of Business 4.0 funding: in the first round, companies that purchased new equipment thanks to the availability of government funding... often did use the new equipment without activating and connecting to their informatio systems the new 4.0 capabilities.
Reason? Not only because they lacked access to broadband, but also because they lacked "human capital ready for 4.0"
Now as when I was selling methodology training courses in the early 1990s Italian companies still invest limited amounts on training.
As in any other developed country affected, during the lockdown we did a live training exercise on shifting immediately toward teleworking and digital transformation.
The former more or less worked, but it was the latter that suffered.
It will be yet another area worth studying, as e.g. schools reported of children lacking computers and tablets, but how many families with more than one child have both a computer for each child, and an Internet connection able to sustain streaming videos for, say, father, mother, and a couple of children?
Few days ago the Italian Prime Minister (formally: Presidente del Consiglio) proposed something that would sound familiar to some of my readers that are not based in Italy: to introduce within the Italian Constitution a "right to access Internet".
It will be interesting to see how many lessons have been derived from these few months, as few months ago we were just talking about the side-effects of Brexit.
What I shared in mid-December 2019 (see #Brexit and the #future of #Europe - considerations on #PPI and #PF in #UK and #Italy) was actually something more than a commentary on Brexit and its side-effects, as Private-Public Initiatives and Project Funding recently became fashionable in Italy almost as they were in UK long ago, and in Italy we have a few who still harbor mildly disguised hopes of a mythical Italexit.
I disagree, of course- but you can read more details (17 pages) in that article.
Now, some of the future developments will most certainly require human capabilities available only in the private sector, where are used routinely and kept in prime shape only in the private sector, and only not-so-often in the public sector.
But what we learned during the lockdown is actually useful to think about a different future, something that discussed most recently in December 2019.
My focus was smart cities, automotive, and banking (see Behind the #smart #cities #future - #automotive and #banking rephrased), but the current lockdown was, in Italy, a crash-course in digitalization.
What did happen during the lockdown?
Much more than citizens expected.
Let's be frank, Italy is an urbanized society that still thinks as if it were something else.
As an example, a "simple change" such as asking people to return home resulted in people returning where they were resident- across the country, as if a virus were to be bound by a residency permit.
My approach? Stay where you are. If you had had contact with the virus over, say, up to a couple of weeks before March 8th (when the first step of the lockdown was enforced), moving around could imply shifting contagion.
As a second example, the second step "stay where you are", implied that people could not leave their location.
And, in country with thousands of town and villages that "circle" major towns, this implied that e.g. people used to do shopping in shopping centres nearby their office, and then return home, had to discover the beauty of village shops.
So, small shops started selling in a day what they did not sell in a week, as most of the local residents were either teleworking or anyway forced to stay home.
This implied a re-routing of supply chain, and probably also financial impacts, as credit lines sufficient for a shop purchasing for one-two weeks what was now enough for 1-2 days has some issues.
In turn, this added further stress to local communities, as most locations did not have the services that people were used to in major towns.
As I wrote few pages ago, in any crisis the routine request is to "streamline laws": but what we saw since March 8th was the country how it will work if it were to stop having people shuttling to and from towns to work, and had to live locally.
Politically, beside adding broadband access to Internet, and maybe thinking of giving to each student at least a tablet to use both in class and from home, this implies reconsidering services.
Car-obsessed Italians (those who pick up the car even for 200 meters) had to start using their legs again, and maybe to discover a different distribution of time.
We are then in for changes- small, large, and...
... all require to think systemically, not by industry, or by country, and certainly not as if one single person were able to show the light...
Conclusions- the end of the beginning
The key theme for Italy is to turn the weaknesses shown in last three decades of the XX century, and the "test-drive" of the first two decades of the XXI century into an assessment of strenghts, weaknesses, and potential.
Autarchy is out- in is collaboration and, moreover, dynamic rearrangement of means and purposes.
In my view, of critical importance is moving from our "tribal approach" toward a "swarming approach".
A book that I really enjoyed reading while following a course on Neuroeconomics was on... decision-making patterns adopted by bees.
Those who worked with me or know me from other activities know that since high school (since I was 14) I also liked reading about constitutional debates not just in Italy- as a Constitution should be a guideline of principles for a nation, not just a balancing of current powers.
In Italy but also in other countries the current, first worldwide pandemic of the Internet era probably procured material worth few PhDs on assessing the inherent weaknesses in our current development model.
It has been so far a socially and economically expensive way to develop lessons, more concise and with less structural impact than a physical war.
If you want, the COVID-19 at this stage of the XXI century could be called the first "neutron bomb war".
A neutron bomb was said to be something making viable a nukes-based war, as would kill people but leave most infrastructure still usable.
What so far COVID-19 showed and, thanks to social networks online, enabled everybody to share feed-back on, is not, in my view, that we need more competent leaders.
We need leaders able to deal with competent people and then make choices.
As I have been sharing for few days online, resurrecting a quote from the life of President Truman... we need more people able to say "the buck stops here" (link to my online commentary on the business side, on Linkedin)- while acknowledging that that does not imply that one single person makes choices.
Only, that (s)he will coalesce whatever coalition of the willing needed, but then make informed choices and take full responsibility also of mistakes.
So far, few leaders resistent the "finger pointing temptation"...
...learn from various post-Civil-War commissions of the past: we need those who made mistakes to be able to learn how to avoid repeating them.
Then, once the lessons are shared, we need to move forward, not settle grudges or score points.
Rebuilding is more important- and what will enter history books.
PS for my contacts who did not receive drafts of the articles that I was preparing in late February, focused on few concepts... this is the draft mindmap:
PPS this is not the time to focus on those items- and, anyway, I already shared in February and March e.g. which personality I think would be more appropriate now to lead the Italian Industrialists' Association, at a time of rebuilding- we need coalition builders
PPPS about the Eurogroup negotiations on coronabonds, that resulted eventually in all but The Netherlands converging: as I shared online, I wonder: how much the impossibility of using the usual face-to-face and informal setting negotation did influence?
with a video, also if they had maybe not just what shown on news, a multi-party video, but a one-to-one option, in these times people do more posturing than would do in "camera caritatis" negotiations, as they expect a potential political nightmare down the road: a release of the video
we need to consider this element too...