Contributing to the creation and acceleration of the innovation ecosystem in Campania, and making the region the barycenter of new development for the Mediterranean area. The Campania Technology Forum was born with this mission.
The first Campania Technology Forum, held on March 23rd, 2017, in Naples in the historic setting of the complex of the Church of Saints Marcellino and Festo, was designed as a point-of-departure, not a point-of-arrival, by focusing on the ability for network-creation in the Campania region, the synergies and cohesive spirit among key players in this process, specialization, and the critical mass of resources and expertise.
These two areas represent a strategic choice aimed, on the one hand, at giving preference to local excellence in the area of research and innovation that can act as a driving force for the local area and with the prospect of extending it beyond the region, and on the other to transform the corporate working model in preparation for making structural choices.
Valeria Fascione, Councilwoman for Startups, Innovation and Internationalization of the Campania region and promoter of this initiative, stressed the determination of her region and her office to aim towards the future. The region is involved in a review process of development models and policies that involves making clear and often courageous choices: “we are in a complex time that requires cohesion among the main players in the ecosystem: public administration, the research sector, businesses and the public”.
The hope of The European House – Ambrosetti and the Campania region is to accompany the region—and the human capital it represents—towards a more profitable equilibrium and to outline a new development paradigm based on the knowledge economy within an open, connected and international context.
Despite this, in terms of innovation and research, Campania region and, more generally, Italy’s south, still face a number of problematic areas:
And it was precisely the theme of the loss of human capital that arose a number of times during the Forum. At the Houston Methodist Research Institute, one of the most important research centers in the world, the majority of those employed in R&D (about 2,000 individuals), are Chinese and Italian—more specifically, from Campania region!
From anCampania region intellectual perspective, Campania region is second to none. The is full of fire-power, of centers of international excellence, such as Tigem, Federico II University and the Istituto G. Pascale. Among the goals for the future is not just that of stemming the brain drain, but also attracting new minds, from around the world. It is with the smartest brains that the revolution can be made. We all agree that the name of the game is more culturally- than technologically-oriented.
In addition, much still has to be done in technology transfer. A sore point for the entire country, technology transfer processes require new impetus and collaboration among all the players involved. According to many, what is lacking is a common infrastructure for exchange that can translate an idea into a project and research into a product.
What would be useful is a network of specialization, without overlapping, to promote the critical mass of resources towards the most promising sectors and technologies. Because it is only if focus is placed on where the real strengths lie that it will be possible to attract foreign investment which, today, tends not to be made in Italy’s south.
The digitalization and robotization of production systems wait for no man. We can no longer stand by and watch. We must react and ride the wave of Industry 4.0.
From this perspective, Campania region has decided to play a central role in this revolution by moving even more quickly than the central government, through its approval in July 2016 of the regional legislation entitled “Manifattura Campania: Industria 4.0” (Campania Manufacturing: Industry 4.0). It was the first Italian region to adopt a specific law regarding Industry 4.0.
Now it is up to companies to support the medium/long-term guidelines set on a regional level, and grasp the opportunities including through the creation of formal lines of collaboration with other companies of the same and/or related supply chains.
Once again, it can be seen clearly that to be successful requires an ecosystem that is strong, united and aware of the challenge being faced. There are many elements that indicate how Campania region, both yesterday and today, is the natural setting for innovation. This is clear from its history: Campania’s competitive edge is based on its “can do” attitude, and what is needed is to work as a team to create real innovation. Campania region truly seems ready to look towards the future and to implement the process outlined together with The European House – Ambrosetti.