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Workshop “Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship” 24 May 2019 Area of Research of CNR, Bologna

Workshop “Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship” 24 May 2019 Area of Research of CNR, Bologna G.Avellis
MCAA GEMS WG and ITWIIN President
This report will answer some questions from MCAA editorial board for MCAA Newsletter.
 
1. How did the event go? 
The event was very successful and went very smooth with the participants playing an active role by raising questions after each talk.
It started with the welcome address of the President of CNR Area of Research in Bologna, Roberto Zamboni , who welcomed this type of initiatives and was very proud to have Marie Curie Alumni Association as organiser and represented at the CNR. Carla Ferreri, the host researcher of CNR, pointed out that this can be seen as the first of a series of initiatives called “Appointment with Innovation” to be held annually at CNR Area of Research in Bologna.
It was then a very interactive session and a discussion was raised after the keynote speech of Prof. Piero Formica on “Research, Innovation, Entrepreneurialism and Business” aiming at underlining the difference between Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurialism – that is the disposition of mind and the creative faculty for entrepreneurial actions versus Entrepreneurship, that is the process of design and start a Business. Entrepreneurialism is the act of Innovation after Research - this is the message of Prof. Piero Formica.
 
This smooth interactive session also was possible because two speakers, respectively Rui Guimares and Jenny Lind Lemaco were not able to join the Workshop in the end, due to some commitment at work and some visa problems form Philippines. This allowed a more relaxed managing of time and more time for the speakers and questions from the public.


2. How many participants attended?
There were 32 participants registered, but the room was quite full as shown in the picture. I estimated around 40/50 people attended the Workshop in the end.


3. Did you receive any feedback from participants that you can share? E.g. what aspects of the workshop did they enjoy the most?
The feedback from participants as said before, was very suddenly given after each talk and at the Coffee Break , at the end of the Workshop,  I collected also very positive comments from the participants and speakers as well.
Certainly the keynote speech of Prof. Piero Formica was one of the aspect that the participants commented and discussed at large during the Workshop, but they also enjoyed the witnesses of several researchers who founded  start-ups companies such as Natalia Balcazar, from MCAA GEMS WG, namely ENVIROpro and SKILLS-ROUTE, PROFIL_EXperten, and Carlo Antonini, from Italy Chapter and BSB WG of MCAA, namely the start-up APITECH for the innovation of SMEs. The spin-off company LIPINUTRAGEN of Carla Ferreri, senior researcher at CNR, and its future developments have also been of interest of the participants as well as the witnesses of the two entrepreneurs from CNA, Giliana Gavoli, mural art master, designer and conservator, and Jessica Morelli, photographer.
Concerning the aspects that the public enjoyed most, first, Prof.Formica talk on Research , Innovation Entrepreneurialism and Business, started with a provocative picture of a tree up-side-down where he explained his message on what is Entrepreneurialism: Entrepreneurialism is a cultural movement that is not individualistic. It is the community that is entrepreneurial, and the ultimate goal of Entrepreneurialism is the fulfilment of community needs. The satisfaction of individual needs is only an intermediate goal. The art of making nations happy and flourishing is to give everyone the chance to be entrepreneur.
He received a very positive feedback on the five lessons of the Entrepreneurship which he illustrated in his talk, namely:
  1. Adjacent ideas ignite a process of accretion.
  2. Anti-discipline generate creative tensions.
  3. Exploration knows no bound, whether physical or mental.
  4. Conversation expands Knowledge (and here he mentioned La Marquise de Rambouillet et son salon litteraire)
  5. Experts (“the monomaths”) give way to ignorant creatives (“the polymaths”)

And he concluded with reference to his book Role of Creative Ignorance. Debate with participants followed on the meaning of Creative Ignorance.
Natalia Balcazar presented “Experiences from a female Spanish entrepreneur in Germany”, where she emphasized some remarks on Research-Innovation_Entrepreneurship , which is a spiral process not a circular one, because if you decide to go to make a business, you will need to still evolving. Therefore Innovation will accompany you somehow. Then, she pointed out what do you need for Research (curiosity, perseverance, self management, idealism, inner motivation) and for Entrepreneuship (the same as before plus sales talent and improvisation talent) but underlined how the person behind a Researcher is very different than the person behind an Entrepreneur. She listed the DO’s LIST for START-UPS, that are as follows:
  1. The Idea!
  2. Support from the Institutions
  3. Learn about to lead a Business
  4. Marketing
  5. Look from a point of view of Customers
  6. If Possible: Test it Before
  7. Visibility
  8. Networking

And the main DON’T for ENTREPRENEURS, that are as follows:
  1. Don’t plan good
  2. Don’t have the right view the money
  3. Don’t secure risks
  4. Wait until the customers come
  5. Forget about accounting and taxes
  6. Try to “walk alone”

Female entrepreneurship positive aspects have been highlighted in her talk such as “Plan better, Take few Risks, Grow more suitable” and negative aspects as well such as “Start small enterprices (service sector), has difficult to get money, is not recognised from society (chambers, policy instances, …). She stressed in the conclusions the importance of networking, that is looking for people that can support and understand you, test positions without risk, expand influence area, get visibility inside and around the network. She received a good feedback from the floor by some questions on the networking aspects.
Carla Ferreri from CNR also gave a witness as co-founder and scientific advisor of the spin-off LIPINUTRAGEN presenting Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Health and Biotechnology sectors. Her talk illustrated the importance of equilibrium for the creation of fat (lipidome) equilibrium cells, where the main concept is that there is no good fat and bad fat but fat must realise a membrane balance. Then she presented her holistic view of membrane for health in a personalised approach for prevention and diseases. Here she illustrated the development of her spin-off company, starting from market preparation and scientific background to pre-lunch product development, lunch and post-lunch product development, mentioning the ITWIIN2010 award she won for the innovative product Fat Profile Neutraceutical (with patent), the introduction of Robotics and the internationalisation with European funds (EUROSTAR and H2020) and finally international partnership and technology transfer with Spain and other countries. The feedback from participants was very positive to this impressive witness of start-up.
Giliana Gavoli, entrepreneur of from Studio Gavoli, Modena, Italy, for interior design, fine art mural painting, design and production of decorative graphics, conservation and restoration, illustrated how shifting between tradition and innovation, they perform Italian traditional classical and contemporary decorations with Fresco technique to conserve the heritage but also to decorate the most prestigious and private homes. Ceiling and walls are first designed on paper and then replicated on the wall. She pointed out the technological innovation in mural decoration, such as the realisation of big decorative surfaces by transferring the in-studio painted layers on any provided surface. Her suggestions to entrepreneurs were as follows:
  1. Have a great passion.
  2. Believe in your ideas.
  3. Work hard
  4. Work as a team.

 Jessica Morelli, photographer, from INtraprese Fotografiche, a commercial and industrial photography studio, mentioned in her talk the beginning of a revolution as digital photography entered the professional world in 1991-1995 and the consequent scepticism of the professional world against innovation for the fear of losing the competence of skills. She developed her talk on the story of the Studio Intraprese Fotografiche and the benefits of the digital innovation and pointed out the downside of Innovation in the world of communication. She emphasized the concept of Open Innovation and mentioned Prof. Formica “…Focusing on observation and the curiosity of change, innovators beats new paths without precedent for invention, innovation and entrepreneurship”. She concluded by underlining the importance of Networking for associations sharing a professional revolution where the fear and sense of inadequacy towards something that was perceived too big to be addressed can be tackled by Networking which gives security, confidence and courage. The school and the University she highlighted must teach curiosity and creative approaches: Curiosity and Creativity is the essence of Innovation – it is her final message.
Carlo Antonini, from MCAA Italy Chapter and BSB WG,  illustrated his biography in brief and the objectives and mission of APITECH start-up, such as technological scouting with researchers, job matching, project accompaniment, being the main activity the specialized consultancy for innovative product development in a Industry 4.0 view. He also published the next event organised by the MCAA BSB WG of 11-12.07.2019@TU BERLIN Researchers Meet Innovators at the end of his talk.


4. Could participants visit the CNR laboratories in the Research Area CNR on a guided tour?
A small group did it before the Workshop. There was no such a request at the end of the Workshop.
  5. Is there anything else you may want to share about the workshop to add into the article.

In this Workshop we do not address specifically gender equality issues but we highlight the role models of women entrepreneurs, founders of start-ups and spin-offs companies and this witnesses how the Entrepreneuship is not only a male field but also a female environment in which women have demonstrated their leadership role.
Some highlights from the talks are coming from the one, for example, of Carla Ferreri, senior researcher at CNR, where she manages the group BioFreeRadicals in the Area of CNR in Bologna, who in 2014 co-founded the spin-off LIPINUTRAMED in Greece and started a project to promote spin-off initiatives guided by researchers in all of Europe for the molecular medicine. Jessica Morelli, entrepreneur from CAN, stressed instead the importance of networking and Giliana Gavoli underlined in her talk the difficulties for the entrepreneurs to manage human relationship, which require time, energy and resources but in the end it gives rewards especially if you work with students as she did. And raised the issue of Work Life Balance to reconcile career and family in the Entrepreneurship. Carlo Antonini suggested to “use complexity to solve complex problems” as innovation manager and scientific advisor of APITECH , an Italian innovative start-up. Natalia Balcazar, CEO of the ENVIROpro start-up, European Environmental Project Management, since 2005 also active in training of soft-skills with the EU-wide network SKILLS-ROUTE and the training German company PROFILE-Experten, illustrated her career development starting from her degree in Geological Sciences at Computense University of Madrid and doctoral thesis on environmental management of steel slags. After her PhD, she went to Germany first with a DAAD post-doc fellowship and then stayed at the same research institute with a Marie Curie Fellowship, investigating as main work area the improvement of the use of resources and energy efficiency for SMEs and municipalities. Since she arrived in Germany, she has been working voluntary in women networks in the area of Gender Mainstreaming, and she is active at Marie Curie associations. She was a very good role model for start uppers, especially female strat-uppers.
 
Further, I would like to add the main lesson learnt from Prof. Formica keynote speech:
Research is the act of exploration that starts escaping the knowledge map drawn from past discoveries and received by researchers who are preparing to change it. Entrepreneurialism is the act of Innovation after Research. But not only that, since Innovation is not confined within the fence of science and technology. Equally important is the social innovation descending from the cultural roots and from the institutional framework which, to varying degrees, favours or discourages Entrepreneurialism.
Entrepreneurialism – i.e. the disposition of mind and the creative faculty for entrepreneurial actions, and the underlying Entrepreneurship, i.e. the process of designing and starting a business – has the purpose of changing the performance of resources, giving them the ability to create new wealth. It does not mean that Entrepreneurialism is synonymous with Business. Unlike Business, Entrepreneurialism is not just about material prosperity. Entrepreneurialism and Entrepreneurship are ways of perceiving the world that contribute to the broader design of society, feeding a social movement that faces, to dismantle it, the model of Business that, like the geocentric system, sees the creation of value for shareholders as the centre or fixed point, around which the company revolves.
Entrepreneurialism is not a machine built according to defined precepts and standards. It is an art form that, having grasped one or more ideas, i.e. one or more keys that open the doors of the future, imagines its transformation into the work that takes the name of 'Company'. It is an art that flourishes when experimenters meet and interact in informal groups, including gifted amateurs and practical types, not just academics or university trained people.”