Happy Growth

Interview with Francesco Morace

Sociologist and writer, Francesco Morace has been working for over thirty years in the sociological and market research field and is the president of Future Concept.
 Strategic consultant for companies and institutions on an international level, he has since 1981 held conferences, courses and seminars in 20 countries worldwide. Professor of Social Innovation at Politecnico di Milano and Culture & Lifestyle at the Faculty of Sociology, Università di Trento, he is the author of over 20 books including the recent: “Italian Factor. Come moltiplicare il valore di un Paese” (2014) and “Crescita Felice. Percorsi di futuro civile” (2015). In this interview he illustrates “happy growth” and its drivers.

Maura Leonardi

What is the meaning of growth, in the case-in-point, happy growth?

Happy growth does not accept the downturn of de-growth. The theory of a “happy de-growth” is based on a mix of good reasons but proposes an orientation we disagree with. We cannot ask a plant or a child to de-grow. The idea of growth entails an irresistible biological, vital tension and we must accept the challenge, all the way, by focusing on sustainable, healthy, happy growth. The true discriminating factor to define a successful company lies in its ability to feed this tension in the direction of happy growth, with the vision of its entrepreneur, the passion of its collaborators and the intelligence of consumers sharing its essential values. If I had to choose a mission for the successful company, I would say the ability to be near its customers, without the fear of growing.

What feeds happy growth?

Happy growth is fed by accepting the challenge of innovation, identifying the exemplary guidelines (originality, sustainability, timeliness, sharing) that characterize the market of the future. Italy must illustrate its qualities on these values: talent, its sense of taste and beauty, masterly skill. This means feeding, supporting, strengthening the presence of Italian entrepreneurs, but also of individual professionals and researchers who can express their talent based on an organic platform. Digital technologies – now within everyone’s reach – can support this orientation towards happy growth, sharing and multiplying the value that we are already capable of producing.

How can companies review their growth model and accompany their progress towards a happy growth (sustainable and shared versus only consumption-oriented?)

In our country in particular, the answer is simple: Italian excellence (doing something better than anyone else...) must propose its progression that starts with artisan knowhow, with the solidity of the supply chain, crossing the territory of taste and of quality, attaining (in the best-case scenarios) the large industrial dimension. In sustainable, shared fashion.

Why is it important to share knowledge?

The sharing of knowledge is important in this progression because it supports the protagonists’ passion and ability, and they are the ones who must then transfer the competence and knowhow to the young generations.

In your opinion, what are the best practices of Italian companies?

Surely the best practices expressed by excellence. In this renewed perspective, the culture of artisan – and then industrial – excellence falls under the fruitful dimension of the beautiful and the well made. The excellent products manufactured by Italian companies confirm their diffusion worldwide as embodiments of authentic quality, integrating the progressive maturation of consumption habits that have become more conscious and selective. The desire for uniqueness, translated in the artisan creation of the unique, unrepeatable piece, in linked with the production and industrial dimension and with the new concept of excellence, based on greater trust/confidence in the product used, that becomes life companion for one’s own life project.

How are consumption and consumers changing? Can we speak of conscious and responsible consumption?

Conscious and responsible consumption is not pauperism but the ability to distinguish value. Excellence distinguishes a variety of goods having a high added value in terms of aesthetics or experience, landfalls of the new middle and upper middle classes that are now culturally and economically equipped to appreciate the quality of life, hence always in the quest for excellence in their consumption experiences. Consuming less, but better, refining the ability to identify value: of the product, of the service, of one’s own experience.

How is a trend created today? How can companies become trendsetters?

A trend is not created but identified, detected. A trend is a vector, a motion that indicates a lasting change that has continuity in time and an impact both on the human community and on the environment. Like in the theory of evolution, it is necessary to work long-range and like Darwin, identify the origin of the phenomena and then their varied and broad articulation in time. In the social world, we are witnessing dynamics very similar to those of the biological world: a trend is a phenomenon indicating a change that will last in time and companies can be trendsetters by interpreting that change before others. In the last few years, this has taken place with sustainability, but also with the greater quality of commodities.

Your project FUTURE CONCEPT LAB unites three very important words: FUTURE – CONCEPT – LAB: what meaning do they hold for you?

Ours is a laboratory that for 27 years has been producing concepts to accompany companies and institutions towards the future. The future is the vision: our talent in imagining the future starting from the international observation of change in 40 cities in 25 countries with passionate researchers who signal out to us the new values and behaviors in place. The concepts are our mission: the ability to synthetically propose the translation of what we have observed, identifying concepts and paradigms. The Lab is also our brand equity, i.e., our way of working as a team and in a network, in creative and shared fashion. Like in true laboratories, experimenting and proposing interpretations.

Can self-realization in terms of satisfaction, passion and talent constitute drivers for companies? Can passionate, talented people make the difference in terms of growth?

Passion and talent were the ingredients of the Italian Renaissance and they will once again be the ingredients of this new phase of Happy Growth: undeniable drivers for the success of Italian companies. In the future, how will “charisma” constitute a decisive factor for companies’ success? In the dynamics we have described up until now, the difference is always made by people and by their ability to mobilize other people. Charisma indicates the ability to involve, share and support other people in a dream, a project, a vision of the future; and in general, what feeds the charisma of renowned entrepreneurs is exemplary behavior, together with the ability to express it. *

Login or Register to publish a comment