This is an opportunity to turn the City of Turin in a laboratory for transformation addressing economic, social and democratic challenges through a system approach. It’s for the benefit of the city, but also an inspiration for Italy and the rest of Europe.
Why Turin? Because this city is the mirror of our time: its history encompasses the peak reached by the industrial society in the past and the challenges it faces in the age of globalization. This history is epitomized in the story of Olivetti and FIAT, the two multinational companies that shaped Turin’s life for decades, and became cornerstones of Italian industrialization.
Both Olivetti and FIAT were rising stars in the economic boom after WW2, but their industrial strategy was the opposite. Olivetti embodied the search for harmonious relationship between community, economy and environment. The company was the engine of a system where one side built on the strength of the other one and the whole system strived from the positive synergy of all stakeholders. On the contrary FIAT was the embodiment of an industrial monarchy that ruled the entire community and commanded the rest of the economy to serve its own expansion. It redistributed wealth but just to maintain its hegemony.
These two companies represent opposite visions of economic and social development, and exemplify the options we have in front of us. Both companies are gone leaving a leadership’s vacuum behind. Since then Turin has been searching for a new identity, a new purpose. De-industrialization, unemployment and raising social conflicts have been filling the gap. What’s the way to take to come out of the crisis both in Turin and the rest of Europe?
The Young Foundation has joined forces with SocialFair, TOP-IX, and Compagnia di San Paolo because it believes this project can contribute to build a new identity, purpose and economy for the city of Turin. This is part of a broader project incubated by the Young Foundation for over a year: EuropeLab/SmallWorldLabs …. we are still looking for the right name. The search for new solutions is the core of a lab, isn’t it? This is what EuropeLab/SmallWorldLabs does: scouting for new solutions to the social and economic challenges that society faces everywhere. This is not a transition. This is a change of paradigm and the answers won’t come from a board-room. People are already responding to the challenge experimenting with solutions. We capitalize on the thousand labs mushrooming across Europe. We work with them to try with the new solutions for a peaceful, prosper and just society.
For the moment we have experimentations going on in Oslo and Portugal. Turin will be the third one and we expect to start in London, Birmingham, Malaga, Ghent and Slovakia.
In Turin, in particular, we want to develop a system approach customised for the city and financial instruments for collective outcomes. We will also support the local community of innovators and entrepreneurs to connect to the rest of the world.
The Young Foundation is delighted to join SocialFair and TOP-IX in the development of Rinascimenti Sociali, the social accelerator in Turin. We are grateful to Compagnia di San Paolo for its support to the project.
If you want to know see an example of our work see Norway: Welfare for Innovation