MANIFESTOS

THE PHILOSOPHYCAL ENTERPRISE 

By Franco Bolelli

It’s right. A philosophical Enterprise. This is what we have the ambition to build. Because we are used to identifying the sense of achievement – a priceless value – with the entrepreneurial firm, with great memorable gestures, with the creative and engineering firm. While business and philosophy are two words that rarely combine in the same sentence: well, it’s time to fix it.
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Because today's philosophy can no longer be what we used to call philosophy: we have nothing against the great Philosophy of the past, but philosophy must be reinvented as a great, essential driving force. Philosophy can only be a vital philosophy, a vision to guide and enhance our entire existence. And it can only be sentimental, sensual, epic, energetic, erotic, evolutionary philosophy. Today the enterprise of philosophy is to combine and merge the irreplaceable depth of thought with an instant thought, a thought that comes from life, in action, like a true love at first sight (without ever confining it to disposable recipes that can only deceive fulfilling the human need for immediate knowledge). Because we have an immense need for a philosophy that makes us aware of our world and our place in this world. We need a philosophy that embraces the meaning and the metabolism of a vital project, both in its being beyond time and in the dizzying period that we are experiencing. The conventional thought patterns can no longer provide us with this vision: it can only be given by a philosophy that turns into enterprise. Ed eccoci a Venture Thinking, allora. Perchè noi sappiamo che un'impresa filosofica può sposarsi in indissolubile matrimonio con l'impresa imprenditoriale. Se crediamo che la filosofia sia estremamente importante per il business, non è perchè la filosofia è colta buona intelligente: è perchè è vantaggiosa. Ed è vantaggiosa perchè può portare una visione più ampia e forte, può motivare sul piano umano e vitale, può unire i puntini che collegano la dimensione umana e quella professionale, può accendere la consapevolezza delle nuove domande e delle nuove risposte che sono necessarie nel mondo in mutamento. And this is where Venture Thinking comes into play. Because we know that a philosophical enterprise can bond in indissoluble marriage with the entrepreneurial venture. If we believe philosophy to be extremely important for business, it is not because philosophy is cultured, good and intelligent: it is because it's advantageous. And it is advantageous because it can lead to a wider and stronger vision, can motivate on a human and vital level, can connect the dots tying the human and professional dimensions, can enlight the awareness of the new questions answers needed in our changing world . It is a mutual challenge: business should not think that some philosophy automatically leads to a turnover increase, philosophy must not claim to teach abstract and conceptual lessons. It is a process of shared growth, true coevolution. From meeting philosophy, business must come out with an irresistible desire to build, to go further, to broaden its horizon, to be founded on meaning; from the encounter with the business world, philosophy must come out with a domineering sense of the enterprise.  What we are proposing is indeed a true enterprise.  

THE PURPOSE OF ENTERPRISE 

By Daniele Di Fausto

Data is the raw material changing our time, though we still have no idea how many new things will be created, nor which new concepts and classes of thought will be introduced. Within to the scenario of profound, radical and uncertain change we will encounter, two topics catch my attention.
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The first is connected with the word “learning”, in particular with human learning, brought by the novel fact that also machines begin to develop the first learning skills. Learning, knowledge, meaning, philosophy are facing completely new scenarios and increasingly have a central impact in the development of society. The second point is the impact that this new transformation is going to have in the economic world, in the corporate environment, or as I like to name it, the world of enterprises, to emphasize the present difficulties operating in extreme and changing uncertainty. The two words, learning and enterprise, are intimately connected in our global world that has profoundly changed the known production models. We have gone beyond the Fordist organizational work system, characterized by the internal distribution of functions and roles developed through a specific vertical hierarchy. We have now reached a horizontal production structure based on the so-called knowledge economy, that is, on cultural capitals. In the knowledge economy, the finite resource paradigm is no longer meaningful and is replaced by the economy of abundance. In this context, economies of scale, so necessary to reach competitive advantage, give way to what we can define as large scale learning economies. Businesses will increasingly need to incorporate a heroic vision and an energetic action of their vital impetus. The ultimate goal, the purpose of a company cannot be just a marketing slogan to hang on the walls of offices or to be written on website pages to attract new talents and customers.  To this regard, the CEO of one of the largest investment funds in the world - "Blackrock" - has clearly expressed that his company will no longer invest in businesses that do not have a transformative and sustainable impact over time. The need for meaning, the need for philosophy becomes essential from the concept of the business itself. This does not mean that the company stops pursuing economic sustainability objectives, rather extends sustainability objectives to the causes, the main challenges that the world faces for its sustainability. The United Nations Organization has defined the 17 global objectives (SDGs) and is encouraging the adoption of good practices by the corporate world. Despite excellent intentions, we are observing how difficulty is for companies to tune in as an organization on the present. There is a huge gap between the declaration of intent and the incorporation the Purpose into all corporate moments. In my opinion this gap specifically derives from two contradictions which have not yet fully resolved. The first contradiction refers to the need of private enterprise to have a public impact. All company valuation and performance metrics are geared towards annual profit. To mitigate this effect, impact reports are being established, that is, sustainability balance sheets incorporating the positive consequences of corporate action on civil society. Though definitely a first step, these reports still remain enhancements and not replacements of the existing traditional ones.There is work to be done on their integration. The second contradiction refers to the decreased tolerance for mistakes in the current phase of uncertainty and risk. Over the past ten years, the worldwide average life of a CEO within the same company has dropped from 7 to 5 years and now reached and average of 2.7 years. The medium/long-term investment is not compatible with the pressure to achieve very short-term results. It is difficult to find investments with such a short return. It seems like there is an implicit relationship: increasing complexity brings forth uncertainty growth, and uncertainty lowers confidence to find solutions to new problems. Precisely for this reason it is imperative that the company's "Purpose" is not restricted to the C-level, but is widespread to the entire corporate population and incorporated into all company policies, procedures and rituals. Therefore, overcoming the previous contradictions can take place only if companies transform themselves from closed to open systems, whose purpose is not the balance between private and public good,but the realization of the common good. Furthermore, the concept of leadership itself will have to evolve from an "egoistic" leadership to an "us" leadership, a conscious and responsible leadership to create the system conditions for the individuals and systems to evolve and grow in a shared path. We are here to begin this journey. We do not propose to create an exclusive club for top managers or a private circle of intellectuals. Rather, we propose a journey open to all those who feel the urge to undertake an enterprise in the dark, deep and fascinating sea of ​​our time.  

THE ENTERPRISE OF DIALOGUE 

Bi Maura Gancitano and Andrea Colamedici

Restart from dialogue. We are used to thinking that a company is a monolith, but in reality it is an intertwining of relationships between people who are currently experiencing different difficulties, both on a personal and psychological level, and on a family and economic level. Today it is more necessary than ever to dialogue, show one’s weaknesses and ask questions together about our future.
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We could take advantage of this vulnerable condition to abandon the old top-down work paradigm and together overcome inequalities and concentrate on our ability to innovate. This can only be achieved by creating an authentic dialogue and active listening among people, a fundamental aspect many companies have disregarded. And concentrate on the purpose, the aim of the enterprise. Use this moment to question the company's core purpose, and understand it more deeply. And then engage in the innovative process of translation and dissemination of the company's founding values ​​to all its members. It is this time of crisis that allows for a radical rethinking of the very role of companies, which can and must become the central sites for transmitting values ​​and identities.