A talk with Open Incet

by | Feb 2, 2017

Hi guys! We had a chat with Patrizia Saroglia, Project Manager at Open INCET – Open Innovation Center which is a project leaded by one of our partners, Fondazione Brodolini. Patrizia told us something more about this project, that focuses on idea generation, enterprise creation and growth, internationalization and networks development. The range of activities includes service design, learning journeys, living labs, bar camps, acceleration, scouting and matching.

Let’s talk about Open Incet:  you define yourself as a matching platform between demand and supply of innovation. Can you explain us more?

Open Incet – Open Innovation Center Torino, is a “matching platform between demand and supply of innovation”, in different sectors and fields, since it acts as a broker of innovation by accelerating the local innovation ecosystem of Turin and internationally connecting ecosystems for innovation, by systematically applying an open innovation approach.

The Center is a connecting hub for different organizations, developing a shared way of thinking and acting among public institutions, traditional companies and communities of innovators. Moreover, in order to increase the local potential for social and technological innovation, as well as attract National and International investment, the Center transforms ideas, research and technology into shared value for the local territory and its economic and social players.

How did the project start?

Open Incet  is one of the results of “Urban Barriera”, the urban regeneration program drawn up by the City of Turin, and is part of the set of strategies and tools developed by the programme of the same City “Torino Social Innovation”, intending to promote and develop the local ecosystem of innovation.

The project is led by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini (FGB), forming a public-private partnerships involving other 6 organizations, with complementary competences and networks, both local and international.

Which are the biggest challenges you faced in launching this initiative?

To build a reputation and a positioning/placement in the existing ecosystem, intercepting local demand of innovation, resources and potential targets, in order to increase our future results and to collocate  upstream and downstream the innovation service chain, namely at the stage of the idea generation and scaling, two crucial moments of startupping.

What convinced you to believe in the potential of BLAST2017?

We believe that connection and contamination is crucial  to improve innovation, that’s one of the reason we think BLAST represents a noteworthy event allowing growth in the innovation field by sharing ideas, experiences and visions. Moreover the open innovation approach we systematically apply to our activities, is perfectly in line with the aim of the event. Indeed our center is strongly driven by the concept of collaboration, enhancing the process of innovation through ideas absorbed from other organizations.

Who are your stakeholder(s)?

Our approach, open innovation, implies the engagement of all the quadruple helix stakeholders for the creation of innovative solutions. Therefore academia, industry, government and citizens are the stakeholders involved to enhance the process of innovation and drive structural changes through collaboration and ideas absorbed from one another.

What are Open Incet’s areas of work?

Our areas of work are:

  • INNOVATION LAB, a physical or virtual space  using experimental methods to address social and public challenges facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration focus on technoloy transfer . It works enabling environments collaboration among developers, governments, universities, private sector, local communities and multidisciplinary experts
  • LIVING LAB, a collaboration of Public-Private-People Partnerships (PPP) characterised by an inclusive and user-driven approach that allows all stakeholders involved to co-create new products, services, business and technologies in real life environment and virtual networks in multi-contextual spheres, in a way to concurrently consider both the global performance of a product or service and its potential adoption by users.
  • PUBLIC LAB, a way to strengthen public systems to design and deliver more effective public services to bridge the gap between how policies are designed and how are implemented. The focus is primarily on problem solving and it offers a neutral place where civil servants, along with the other local stakeholders (including citizens) can tackle together the long-term challenges.
  • CORPORATE LAB, a range of advanced services specifically designed for the corporate world including a set of capabilities, tools, and approaches to help companies to innovate—continuously driving superior business performance by innovating products, services, processes, business models.

Open Incet aspires to become the physical and virtual point of reference for the Turin area. What are the specific goals of your Open Innovation Center?

Our aims are:

  • raising awareness on social and digital innovation across the territory
  • generating and testing new ideas and innovative solutions with a multidisciplinary approach
  • accelerating the development of innovative and sustainable ideas
  • building communities of innovators, easing the connection between ideas and technologies
  • connecting ecosystems for innovation, supporting the creation, development and internationalization of innovative ideas

Can you talk about the results you achieved in these years? 

We have celebrated our first year of activity last October. Our results are represented by those programmes, Living Lab, and Innovation Lab we have launched for the generation of ideas, the internalization and the education for entrepreneurship that have involved 500 young people (17-26 years old); 50 start-ups; 30 SME’s. In addition, a continuous programme of public events (workshop, seminars, networking activities, “open-book nights”, etc.) had involved around 4000 citizens.

Why did you choose Turin? What is your relationship with this city?

Cities have become nodes of competitiveness at an international level. It is in cities where innovation takes place and contributes to the better economic performance of their regions and to the improved social inclusion and quality of life for their inhabitants. Turin has a mature and vibrant ecosystem of innovation. The City of Turin has been investing in innovation since years and in 2016 has been awarded the second most innovative European city by the European Commission. The innovation policy is in line with our mission and the territory is a breeding ground for our goals. The city is interested and able to create a model of open innovation supporting start-ups in the social sector and creating new opportunities in the field of urban regeneration, that’s why we have chosen this place.

Are you in contact with international hubs too?

Yes, we are in contact with other international hubs and cities focused on innovation. To strengthen the connection with international stakeholders of innovation we are working on a Open Innovation Summit (OIS) that will take place at Open Incet next spring, bringing in Turin European institutions and representatives of cities, center of research, investors, startups, agencies coming from Europe, USA, and Asia.

What is the relationship between Fondazione Brodolini and Open Incet?

As before mentioned, Open Incet is a project leaded by Fondazione Brodolini, that since 2012 is committed to supporting the emergence and development of local ecosystems for innovation and their connection to transactional level, helping to create in Italy places for the innovation and developing networks and platforms for the exchange of knowledge, technologies and talents.

Do you have some advices to give to those who decide to launch their first startup?

Think big, stay lean, don’t launch to early but don’t wait too much to get a perfect idea. Take care building a team with different and complementary competences and choose a place equipped with material and immaterial infrastructures helping you to bear and scale. So.. come to Turin!

What about your future goals?

We aim at launching proactive programmes for the generation of innovative ideas and the education for entrepreneurship we have successfully implemented, while increasing the critical mass of our Center by inaugurating 3.500 m2 of the adjacent complex in January 2017. The latter will be a multi-purpose Center with the following services: co-working space, Innovation showroom, School Innovation Labs, Digital Manufacturing Laboratories, training spaces, event halls, cafeteria, restaurant. An International Summit is also planned for April 2017 to engage in a mutual learning process city administrators, innovators, businesses and civil society organisations in order to explore the key enabling factors of cities’ capacity to innovate and to boost new partnerships.

Do you want to understand more about Open Incet? Come to BLAST 2017 and meet Turin city!


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