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MILAN — How can Italy maintain its leadership in key sectors, including fashion, tourism and automotive? By investing in innovation, according to a survey unveiled by Deloitte during it second “Innovation Summit,” hosted in Milan on Monday.

Focusing on the fashion sector, 87 percent of the more than 1,000 Italian citizens interviewed by Deloitte think that innovation strongly influence spending habits. In particular, clothing rental services, the role of influencers, virtual changing rooms and online commerce emerged as the most popular innovative and relevant tools for Italian shoppers.

Ninety percent of Italian citizens admitted that the country should do more in terms of innovation.

According to Deloitte’s survey, the investments in innovation should be made not only by companies, but the process should also involve the government, private investors, educational institutions, as well as media.

Cultivating creativity and independent thinking is key to boost the innovation process, according to Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, who also suggested that the Italian system will be able to keep its leading role in certain sectors if companies “will try to predict the future and spot trends.”

Innovation will be instrumental for a brand like Gucci, which has a storied heritage rooted in the Italian artisanal tradition, to evolve the company’s organization, according to the Florentine house’s president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri. “We have to first innovate the way we work — this is the only way to make our success sustainable in the long-term,” he said.

The future of the country depends on how Italy will be able to innovate its educational system, according to high-speed train firm NTV cofounder Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who also lamented a lack of culture of healthy competition in Italy.

Technology and innovation are also instrumental to guarantee the future of historical institutions like museums, said Florence’s Gallerie degli Uffizi director Eike Schmidt. 
 
 “We are working with the Università degli Studi dell’Aquila to create a system to avoid long queues outside the museum,” said Schmidt, who also established a digital communication department at the Gallerie degli Uffizi.   
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