Experience is the new black: how to promote the Made in Italy

Scheduled time: The Italian Academy, 10:00 am to 11:00 am

With newspapers full of headlines declaring the ‘death of retail’, department stores struggling to survive and landmark of the retail industry such as the French one-of-a-kind retailer Colette announcing its closure, there is growing agreement, among industry experts, that ‘to save retail, let it die’ (Dough Stephens, Business of Fashion).

In fact, customers are more and more drawn into a store for the experience that it offers to its customers: the omnichannel becomes key and the store visit, while does not need to be the place where the sale is closed, becomes part of the well-rounded brand experience that each company wants to deliver to its customers.

In this period of rebuilding and turmoil, the question that each and every brand has at heart is to understand how to stay relevant for its customers and which are the right strings to play.

The Italian companies have a precious asset to lead this battle: the strength of the ‘Made in Italy’, renowned worldwide and impossible to replicate. Even if the world still associates Italy with fine leather, luxurious silk and creative designs as trademarks of quality, great products are not enough if not accompanied with a strong communication strategy.

Focus of the panel would be to understand how experience can and will sustain the strength of the ‘Made in Italy’, and which are successful lessons that we can learn from foreign countries (in particular the USA) to offer a multi-channel experience that will value the great products we have built at home since the rise of the ‘manufacturing districts’ onwards.


DigITALYzation: Technology at the service of Innovation

Scheduled time: The Italian Academy, 11:45 am to 12:45 am

Italy is the 2nd largest manufacturing economy in Europe, and yet it ranks only 25th in the Digital Economy & Society Index published by the European Commission. Digital technologies are changing the way we live and work. Over the years to come, the digital revolution will be one of the strongest drivers for growth, job creation and well-being. Italy need to grasp these opportunities with both hands.

What are the reasons for Italy’s slow progress towards a digital economy? Many believe that lack of government coordination and planning, insufficient digital skills of the population, and scarce adoption of digital technologies by enterprises play a major role.

The digital transformation can also be perceived as a threat to our economy. Some traditional occupations might be no longer required because of automation and digitalization. However, the increasing use of digital technologies is also creating new highly skilled jobs. The latest researches estimate that as much as one fourth of the total digital labor supply in Italy will remain unfilled.

Fighting unemployment, mitigating social costs of job displacement and, above all, creating new jobs remain the top priority of all governments after the recession.

Focus of the panel will be to understand how Italian private and public institution will need to cooperate in order to accelerate the digital revolution in the country, and what can we learn from other successful examples such as the USA.



Scheduled time: The Italian Academy, 15:00 pm to 16:00 am

Italy’s Talent Retention capability has been ranked only 40th (among 118 countries) by the Global Competitiveness Talent Index report written by Adecco, INSEAD and the Human capital leadership institute in Singapore. All the other major European economies are better ranked and countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands are even 30 positions ahead.

However, a positive signal is coming from 3 Italian cities in the top 50: Bologna (26th), Milano (31st) and Turin (35th) are among the most appealing center for international professionals.

Even though Italy is well ranked in terms of specialized industrial clusters (4th /118), University level (23rd/118, with a lower than the average Instruction expense), and new generation of entrepreneur (8th/118), there are several issues: labor market (e.g., no cooperation between employers and companies, 108th/118), companies productivity (e.g., salary/productivity ratio, 114th/118), lack of capacity in attracting foreign talents (94th /118), taxation (115th/118) and lack of management competences (113th/ 118, due to top management promotions helped by personal contact and not by merit or track record). However, the scariest issues are:

· Relationship between government and companies (116th/118, only ahead of Argentina and Venezuela)

· Career opportunities for women (117th/118)

Considering the ranking by city, the outcome is just a bit less worrying, being one of the countries with more cities (Bologna, Milano, Torino) able to attract talents looking for career growth, good salaries and a good industry-related environment. However, the top 3 cities (i.e., Copenhagen, Zurigo and Helsinki) are still quite far. Huge university systems, a strong network of companies and enormous R&D investment, but also a better lifestyle and income are the main drivers that reward the best cities.

The focus of the panel will be to understand how Italian private and public institution will need to cooperate in order to solve this main Italian issues and what can we learn from other successful examples such as the Northern countries.

Debating the main challenges and analyzing the differences compared to the top performer, the panel should deliver guests’ opinion and suggestions to solve this serious issue.