Opinions & Interviews

2024-03-26 Roberto Vona

Festival of Management: an Impact that Continues

From artificial intelligence to women's leadership, from geopolitical and environmental challenges to new trends in education, the second edition of the Sima Management Festival, held on March 7 and 8, engaged over 4,000 participants at Bocconi University, covering a wide array of topics. The discussion, enthusiastic, constructive, and open, is now moving online. Thanks to a new collaboration with Economia & Management, the event's themes will be further explored in articles by the Festival's speakers and guests.

And so the second edition of the Festival of Management has also come to an end. The enthusiasm was palpable as we reunited in Milan on March 7 and 8, hosted by Bocconi University. Witnessing the sincere interest and trust in an initiative that transformed from a visionary idea in October 2021 into a concrete project and now a well-established reality, thanks to the SIMA academic community's support, was truly inspiring. This success was not guaranteed; it was made possible by our partners and all those who supported and shared our vision and values unconditionally.

The Festival's attendance of over four thousand people, significantly boosted by remote participants, underscores the ongoing need to prioritize human connections after years of interaction in 'non-places' lacking relational depth, a condition fraught with the risks of addiction and dependency.

We aimed to create a physical gathering that was free, empathetic, and welcoming, where participants could not only exchange handshakes but also share values of trust, inclusivity, friendship, and connectivity. This effort sought to foster a sense of community solidarity, crucial for navigating and overcoming contemporary challenges and for reigniting creative and strategic energies.

The consistent presence of high-level civil and military officials and top representatives from State Institutions underscored the importance of our initiative and motivates us to continue expanding the influence of management culture in fostering societal progress and well-being.

The Festival was conceived to share visionary stories and insights from leaders who embody human-centered action, guided by managerial knowledge and values. The captivating narratives shared by our 200+ distinguished guests sparked enthusiasm, a desire for positive emulation, and a shared sense of participation, further enriching our management community.

These discussions, marked by free and open debate, have been instrumental in inspiring both individual and collective creativity, transforming exceptional ideas into widespread and beneficial practices with a tangible impact on society. 

With the support of the SIMA management scholars' academy, we're committed to advancing the noble values of inclusivity and democratic service through ethical and sustainable management practices, preparing new generations to lead with competence, courage, and a dedication to community service.

Our Festival's credibility and independence are bolstered by the academic community's contributions, ensuring the event remains a robust and culturally significant initiative.

Since its inception, the Festival has highlighted topics of significant economic and social importance, with contributions from SIMA's researchers, professors, and the NextGen professionals, reflecting a diverse and impactful program covering topics of great economic and social relevance and impact.

The program of the Festival of Management 2024 opened with a "parterre" characterized by a institutional profile, with excellent speakers coming from very varied operational contexts, who offered us a fascinating journey into the complexity of artificial intelligence.

They highlighted the importance of technological advances in the field of managerial management of complex organizations, the extraordinary changes in the needs and ways of working, the progress that can be achieved on the side of both efficiency and the ability to act, improving performance and effectiveness.

Also discussed were the perverse entanglements between the economy and mafias, specifically analyzing the role of artificial intelligence in supporting institutional action to counter development in the economy of criminal organizations.

Another key topic was the leadership of women in the development processes of the economy and society and how to promote the culture of female management, which in Italy is struggling to establish itself adequately. A noteworthy initative promoted by Sima in partnership with Invitalia and MIMIT was the "Make It a Case" context, aimed at spreading - through a contest of business cases developed by management students from all Italian universities - awareness of the importance of women's contribution to the progress of the economy.

Geopolitical and environmental challenges were also discussed, as well as sustainability of public accounts, public planning policies of urban regeneration, public health management, management of companies seized and confiscated from the mafias, and many other impactful experiences. This was possible thanks to 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 sustainable managerial action at the service of progress and economic, civil and social well-being of our communities and territories.

The Festival's unique approach to content production, facilitated by leading journalists, allowed to represent the value of management experiences and knowledge through the use of effective communication tools and languages, which allowed for truly extraordinary media attention.

Starting this year, a the insights and discussions from the Festival will be curated and shared in the coming months through a selection of writings hosted, both by the quarterly journal Economia & Management, founded by Claudio Demattè and today directed by his colleague Sandro Castaldo, as well as by this website, E&M Plus.

In this way, a line of continuity of attention and interest will be created between the previous and next editions of the Festival of Management, promoting awareness of the initiative and stimulating the participation of an ever wider audience through the dissemination of the value of its proposals.


Roberto Vona is professor of Economics and Business Management at Federico II University of Naples, Italy, and creator and SIMA delegate for the scientific coordination of the Festival of Management.

Un momento del Festival del Management 2024