Let's change - and do it together

The communities of change are the hope for an Italy that believes in merit, skills, and growth - both personal and collective. The communities of change are both generational and local. They are a greenhouse and a festival of innovation. They are Bologna, where a project for young people - the "Giardino delle imprese" - and a meeting of the "pioneers" - the Rena Festival - show a city both lively and ready to invent a better tomorrow.
July 15, 2015

The change, when you least expect it 

In a society where the tools of ideologies are no longer useful to interpret the world, where the intermediate bodies - trade unions and political parties - are struggling to meet the demands of citizens,  and in which social mobility seems stuck, is change still possible?

Yes, it’s just that the roads we need to take are innovative and surprising.


In Bologna, these new ways are special greenhouses, where they grow not only flowers but talents, and days of discussion between young people who call themselves "pioneers". .

Let's talk about two projects that share not only the city and intergenerational path, but also a clear idea: that of the communities of change. A community -the first based on skills training  - the Giardino delle imprese by Fondazione Golinelli - and the second on the provision of skills already formed to seed the companies, institutions and the public debate - the Rena Festival.

The Giardino delle imprese

From the end of June, at the greenhouses of Bologna city gardens - Giardini Margherita - students will be engaged throughout the summer to develop innovative solutions for Made in Italy: new business ideas to support internationalization in the global markets of small and medium-sized food businesses, to improve the production chain of fruit in Emilia-Romagna, and to redesign the marketing distribution and sale of products of our "Bella Italia". To create - at the end of the path - real businesses, which will be able to benefit of an accelerating program and fundings, to become the new Made In Italy innovative start-ups.

This is the objective of the project "Giardino delle Imprese" designed and created by Fondazione Golinelli in collaboration with the Municipality of Bologna, Bologna Unindustria and H-Farm, and with the scientific collaboration of several partners, including CINECA, which will certify the skills developed by the young adults so that they can be shared on social networks and included in future e-portfolios, as is already the practice in some main foreign universities.

When asked why they chose the Open Badges to accompany this edition of the "Giardino delle Imprese", Antonio Danieli, director general of Fondazione Golinelli and President of the Board of Trustees of the EUREKA Trust, responded that:

“For Fondazione Golinelli, the pilot project represents a great opportunity to develop a new experience of innovation in the field of qualification and skills recognition. The Open Badges, in fact, serve to accredit the skills acquired during the Giardino delle imprese from the point of view of an international scale, recognizing the merit of the commitment and the results achieved by the participants in the initiative.We chose the Giardino delle imprese because it is a fundamental part of our goal to give the youth the real skills that can be used in each area of their lives, not only in business. In this sense, insight, added to specific skills in different fields of entrepreneurship, will be certified by Cineca”.

A choice that has a double value for youngsters - Danieli continues:

“The Open Badges on one hand offer added value at the pedagogical level, providing a push of interest with intent to award the objectives achieved. The educational function isn’t finished only on receipt of full recognition, but is present in the entire process of acquiring competencies, which therefore exceeds the pure concept of "examination" to become a real "path of informal learning". In addition, we believe that students can use this platform for their future to see and recognize their efforts and achievements in education, from a very young age”.

Rena Festival

Such words seem to fill the "missing piece" quoted the Chairman of Rena - Francesco Russo - in his introductory speech at the Festival of the Communities of Change that took place in the center of Bologna on June 13th and 14th.

The missing piece, according to the President of Rena - the association that has as its mission "collective intelligence at the service of Italy" - is the community, one that allows you to exceed the size of "individuals", to "generate impact and not to merely witness", to have a "problem solving approach and not a bureaucratic approach".

In the two days of the Festival - which had the objective to "inspire, connect, form" - the theme of skills was essential to all debates dedicated to innovative models of collaboration, communication and organization; development and integration of communities, regeneration of spaces and territories; new practices for employability, education for the future, economic viability and development.

In particular, however, it was discussed in the panel “Rating, training, merit, transparency: policy of the educational system”, pitched by Francesco Luccisano - Chief Technical Advisor Ministry of Education - who recalled how the first push of change is the ability to grow, to "scale up", so that a niche invention can become a wide-spread phenomenon. The panel was also attended by Sandro Cacciamani - the "technological mind" and project manager of Bestr - who presented the project of Cineca on the recognition and appreciation of non-formal and informal skills (slides here).

If, according to the OCSE, one of the main causes of the difficulties of young people having access to the world of work is the abandonment of their education and training without having acquired appropriate skills, how can you prepare individuals to face the world of tomorrow, with its elements of uncertainty and unpredictability? And what are the skills that serve to foster personal development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment? As it emerged from the debate, among the 8 key competencies essential for each individual that the European Commission has identified, included are skills both digital and entrepreneurial. Skills that need to be included, in a stable form, in the politics of national education in order to be precisely distributed and accessible to all.

Skills needed to be able to transform the Italian society from a knowledge society - abstract and often unproductive - into a society of competence – and effective change-making.

An intergenerational path

Here is the thread that unites the work of 60 young people of the Giardino delle imprese - they learn in a greenhouse how to create and innovate an enterprise - and the work of the previous generation, that of Rena - who every day tries to change the country so that the skills learned as young people can really find recognition, appreciation and application space.

The narrative thread, the "missing piece" that each is trying to build, is about “community making”, about bonding through skills rather than ideologies, through commitment instead of delegation, mobility rather than resignation

Bologna is, from Sunday and throughout the summer, becoming the symbol of this change.