Italia Innovation Program 2017

75 international entrepreneurial students, 12 world-renowned thought leaders and 12 major Italian companies will converge this summer in Italy to generate a synergistic spark capable of transforming Italian industry. Innovation Foundries, in partnership with Fabrica, will bring these creative minds together for its annual Italia Innovation Program and the inauguration of its Start-up Fellowship Program.

The Italia Innovation Program, which will take place from June 19th to July 17th, 2017 in Treviso, Italy, stems from the observation that both international students, academic leaders, and business giants want to disrupt their industries to provoke positive change. Italia Innovation Program is one of Innovation Foundries’ initiatives that bridges the gap between the newcomers and the experienced. They will meet to combine their unique expertise to integrate a human-centered approach into brands that have created exceptional quality for customers through a product-centered modus operandi. The companies include: Ermenegildo Zegna, Woolrich International, Tecnica Group, Barilla, De Longhi, Nardini Distilleries, Santa Margherita Wine Group, illy Group, Davines, Palazzo Grassi and Punta Della Dogana.

Building off the idea that young talents can come to Italy and boost its industry, 14 fellows will spend 10 weeks working to cultivate independent projects. Two startups from California chose to come to Italy this summer to accelerate their growth with the special opportunity to infuse Italian values into their designs and collaborate with the Innovation Foundries community. Led by Eesha Choudhari, Söm fellows will build a wine education platform with approachable and digestible content. The Rossi & Rei fellows will develop a marketplace founded by Elisa Rossi for customizable luxury essentials crafted by Italian artisans. The third group of fellows will be focused instead on the grain-based food sector to develop a fast-paced process for product innovation and then use it themselves to come up with and test new ideas.

“By breaking down barriers between the young and established minds, Italia Innovation Program provides a platform for collaboration that encourages innovative risk. The trust that these companies place in the young entrepreneurs creates an amazing experience for our students to strengthen their creative acumen. On the other side, it gives companies a way to learn new design methodologies and discover fresh perspectives. We’re thrilled to add these forward-thinking students and brands to our network of talents passionate about reinventing the future of Made in Italy,” say Carlotta Borruto and Marco Mari – Innovation Foundries and Italia Innovation Program founders.

“Since 1994, Fabrica has facilitated dialogues among persons, art sectors and forms of expression. Different languages, experiences and cultural backgrounds come together to confront and develop unique projects from a cross-disciplinary approach. We are therefore pleased to partner with Innovation Foundries to make our 23 years of experience and cultural heritage available,” says Carlo Tunioli, CEO of Fabrica.

To provide participants the tools to craft their projects, the Italia Innovation Program will bring some of the best minds from business and academia to host workshops, inspirational talks, and one-on-one sessions. The group includes: Vincent Stanley (Patagonia), Jake Knapp (Google Ventures), Bill Burnett (Stanford d.School), John Bruce (Parsons School of Design), Robert Jackson (Columbia Law School), Sam Potolicchio (Georgetown University), Steward Thornhill (Michigan Ross School of Business), Cynthia Benjamin (Stanford University), David Schonthal (Kellogg School of Management), Peter Boatwright (Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business), Liat Aaronson (IDC Herzliya) and Mitch Sinclair (IDEO).

The 75 participants were selected from an applicant pool of nearly 1,000 from more than 68 countries, which grew exponentially from previous years. The 2017 class will bring together a diverse group from 15 different countries, with backgrounds in a wide range of subjects—industrial design, business, strategic design, engineering, computer science, fashion design, international affairs—to visualize the future of Italy. The students represent the world’s best schools such as Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Science Po, Aalto University, Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology, and many more.

The Italia Innovation Program will take place for the second year at Fabrica’s renowned campus in Treviso, Italy. This marks the continuation of the partnership between two forces working together to supercharge creativity by facilitating dialogues between a diverse group of talents.