Opinions & Interviews

2024-02-21 Roberto Vona

Inspiration and Innovation at the Festival of Management

The second edition of the event organised by SIMA is approaching. The spotlight will be on the role of Artificial Intelligence in companies and on female leadership. Without forgetting the impact of geopolitical and environmental challenges on business, the role of ethics and (very human) emotional rationality in new organisational processes and the management of urban regeneration. Current - but epochal - challenges, in which managerial culture can become a point of reference for the entire community. The event at Bocconi University on 7 and 8 March 2024.


Last February, the first edition of the Festival of Management by SIMA (the Scientific Society representing Italian Academics of Management) marked the beginning of an innovative path, for Italian universities, of enhancing managerial culture, aimed at supporting the civil, social and economic progress of the country. Important issues such as the fight against mafias in the economy, the energy transition and the organisation of services for the protection of public health can be successfully governed if the necessary organisational skills are available.

The interest shown by the extended community of management practitioners and experts was very participative, exciting and encouraging.

We will start again from Milan and the prestigious Bocconi University. Milan is the city of enterprise, the "headquarter" of important companies, a national reference point for the aptitude to face and manage with innovative vision, efficiency and quality in results, complex problems of governance of economic, social and institutional relations. It will start from the Bocconi “ecosystem”, with its special history, its futuristic locations and its natural inclination to explore the frontier of managerial culture, reflected into excellent actions that constitute a reference point of the Italian University in the world. SIMA firmly wished to confirm these strategic choices, which represent an essential cornerstone of the ambitious cultural project of strengthening the capacity for impact and institutional service of the entire community of scholars who are involved in Management at a high level in the various Italian universities.

The second edition of the Festival of Management, now just around the corner, includes many exciting new features. Particular attention will be paid to the theme of Artificial Intelligence and its multiple reflections on the lives of people and corporate ecosystems. But it will also be the Festival of Women Management. In fact, a special synergy has been created through the partnership with Invitalia, which will allow for the creation, throughout the year, in all university venues, of initiatives aimed at promoting the specificities of the culture of management and leadership of women in the development processes of the economy and society. Specific sessions will be devoted to the topic, with the participation of first-rate testimonials, guided in the discussion by valuable RAI journalists such as Emma D'Acquino and Carmen Santoro.

More in detail, the program of the next Festival of Management will open with a high calibre  'parterre', characterised by a markedly institutional profile, with excellent speakers in a wide variety of operational contexts, moderated by a refined signature of Italian journalism, Francesco Verderami of Corriere della Sera. His task will be to wisely accompany us in the first exploration of the obscure complexity of a fascinating yet insidious journey towards artificial intelligence, attracted like Odysseus by the sirens’ call.

The theme will be approached with an inspirational, unstructured slant, open to the "improvisations" provoked by the discussion, using original intellectual interpretations and filters, which will highlight the importance of technological advances in the field of the managerial management of complex organisations, the extraordinary changes in work requirements and methods, the progress that can be achieved in terms of both efficiency and the ability to act, improving effectiveness performance. All this by reasoning freely, with the help of the the Editor-in-Chief of La Ragione, Fulvio Giuliani, on the role of ethics and the emotional rationality of human intelligence, which is too precious, creative, empathic and inclusive to be 'degraded' to positions of secondary decision-making sub-optimality in such delicate moments of transition of upheaval of geopolitical, economic and social balances.

In particular, the attention of the (very human, indeed) intelligences of the Festival's participants will also be solicited by other important speakers who will discuss, with the authoritative moderation of the deputy director of Agenzia Ansa Stefano Polli, geopolitical and environmental challenges and how the effect of climate and political changes is literally overwhelming the consolidated methodological 'routines' of business, subjecting private management and public decision-makers to unimaginable pressures, which take away lucidity and force them to dynamically experiment with ever innovative solutions in conditions of extraordinary unstable risk. All this with enormous human and social losses, caused by a veritable Darwinian evolutionary earthquake, which will lead to new balances, entrusted to minds and hands that will hopefully also be able to draw on virtues and high ethical and moral principles, indispensable for building and governing new world structures, inclusive and sustainable, in harmony, development and peace. 

The Festival will also dedicate an important space for reflection, with the invaluable assistance of highly prestigious speakers, moderated by the expertise of the Deputy Editor of La Stampa, Marco Zatterin, to the very topical issues that absorb Italian national politics, such as the rational and professional management of public accounts, wisely balancing efficiency and the protection of fundamental rights to work, health, education, the family, defence, rewarding and incentivising commitment and talent, protecting the elderly and weaker citizens, and enhancing the country's historical, artistic, cultural and environmental heritage.

With the authority of the Editor-in-Chief of the Milano Finanza newspaper, Roberto Sommella, we’ll explore issues and problems of considerable complexity (on both a technical and social level) that can be traced back to the violent corporate crises of these difficult years. Even in these cases, the availability of management resources and skills is essential to govern the difficulties and transform them, with ethical rigour, civic sense and strategic vision, into new healthy energy for the benefit of the country.

No less important and delicate will be the discussions of national interest, but of more local implementation, concerning public planning policies for the intelligent and welcoming regeneration of urban spaces and buildings. Italian cities, with their countless histories, age-old stratifications, evolving vocations that are not always enlightened, manifestations of extraordinary architectural beauty, and changing needs for land use driven by the shocks generated by epochal changes that in just a few decades have distorted the profound meaning of entire neighbourhoods, generating inequalities, degradation, abandonment, and spontaneous and disorderly rebirths, are still alive and creative, but they are crying out for help.

The opportunities to be grasped are immense, the complexity of the subject is equally enormous, but the testimonies of successful enterprises are many; the virtuous example, combined with adequate technical knowledge, will inspire and guide new exciting and useful adventures. Once again, competent and authoritative speakers, stimulated by the expert direction of the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of RAI 1 Radio Journal, Donatella Gori, will contribute to the discussion, inviting participants to 'take the field', promoting new exemplary stories of innovation in urban regeneration.

These are just some of the suggestions we have decided to propose to the attention and (very human, again) curiosity and sharing emotions of the participants, to put human relations back at the centre of our lives (after all... We Believe in Humanagement!).

We look forward to seeing you at the next edition of the Festival of Management, which will offer many other impactful experiences, with dozens and dozens of experts, scholars, journalists, professionals, and students interested in actively contributing to the development of awareness of the importance of the high dissemination of the culture of managerial action for the progress and economic, civil and social well-being of our communities and territories.


Roberto Vona, Professor of Economics and Business Management, University Federico II of Naples, is creator and SIMA Delegate for Festival of Management Scientific Coordination

Festival del management per sito EM Plus