- Published: Tuesday, 02 April 2019 22:04
As discussed in the previous article of this series, there are multiple dimensions to this elections.
Now I would like to focus just on the European Parliament elections- but from the an (almost) Italian perspective.
In this first post, I will use myself as a "Guinea pig" to test some assumptions, and then share some preliminary conclusions.
Those who followed my previous articles since, say, 2007 or 2008, know that since forever I think that reforms take time. And that revolutions way too often change the orchestra, not the tune.
And this probably is part of the reason why, in various activities, ended up working on change- not just cultural, not just organizational, not just technical, but... a blend of the three elements that is to be assessed in each case and context.
It is quite self-explanatory that technological innovations maybe are not accelerating per se (each one individually), but the increased interaction between different industries, products, services, needs generates a continuous re-assessment of all of them.
And, often, thanks to the Internet and various ways to interact, the catalysts of those interactions over the last decade have been on the customers' side (at every level).
Now, I think that we are heading toward a different regulatory relationship between citizens corporations and State.
And an increase in the active role of customers (both individuals and organizations) in pro-actively re-shaping what we like to call "ecosystem" in business.
In business, unfortunately, often I think that those using the "ecosystem" concept once every two slides should probably refresh their memories of what an ecosystem is, as what they describe is often a top-down, command-and-control approach that embeds customers within suppliers' processes, not the set of interactions where they, the supplier, might be the "initiator", but have then continuously balance entropy with governance, more than control.
Witness how many "ecosystems" develop as a trend, and then die.
On the political side, look on wikipedia at how many political parties were created in Italy since, say, 1948.
On the business side, have a look at how many of the first companies within Fortune list were there three decades ago, and how many are there now (but I wrote already about that, as I had kept an old copy of Fortune just for that purpose- a bookworm thinks across time as a librarian, not just at the now).
As I wrote already over a decade ago while living in Brussels, also the regulatory process will change: just have a look e.g. at the GDPR preamble, and you will see that it is more a memorandum of understanding than a regulation.
And this has to be mirrored by a different social contract.
In Italy, and this is my personal perception, we are still focused on "leaders", but while I am for a republic arrangement, I think that it is better to thinks in different terms to explain in few dozen words something that could take few books (and I read many, in my political science time, and also while working on designing new organizational structures).
A political leader might be a "king" (or "queen")- but being able to steer and develop a country or any organization for a decade or two or more, isn't enough.
Long-term viability has always implied being also a "monarch", ensuring that, when eventually leaving the stage, somebody else will be available to take over.
This is even more important now, as the constant stream of interlocking changes on the three dimensions (cultural, organizational, technological) will accelerate, and therefore there might be the need a continuous evolution of the perception of reality across the different sections of the (voting, purchasing, participating, consuming) public.
It might well be that a single person, the mythological "leader", will be able to evolve continuously- but if (s)he will fail to build up talents able to take over your role, chances are that (s)he will lack trusted (and working) "antennas" able to live and feel the new "signals", and relay them promptly.
Or: if your succession path is yourself, it might be the best deal for you, but neither for your constituency nor for whatever organization you are actually leading.
And this will guide me in my voting choices- remembering that voting is something that, in my view, you do at the polls.
After the elections, you have to deal and work with the winners- also if it seems that in Italy we lost that habit, with occasional exceptions (e.g. today there was in Parliament an unanimous vote- something worth marking in your diary).
Beside leadership as an absolute (and a way to absolve ourselves from our bad or opportunistic choices, when the leader eventually fails), in Italy we have another habit: we like so much laws and regulations, that we are prodigiously productive law-makers.
We are humans, not robots.
Striving to produce "perfect laws" that cater for each past, present, future possibilities (a practical impossibility never affected our collective gusto for law-making), we often forget that even the best law requires at least three elements: implementation, monitoring, re-assessment.
Yes, it seems a contradiction- but while I too would like "permanent" laws, reality does not comply with that.
A third element about Italy: we are so much focused on our internecine conflicts of interests, that we sometimes let history flow and then play "catch up".
As I was discussing with a friend today, I think that our risk is that, after missing the first wave of Brexit opportunities, we will simply be focused until say July on our local (in Piedmont) and national (in Italy) side-effects of regional and European Parliament elections as "redde rationem" within the ruling coalition, within opposition, and between the two.
Meanwhile, say France Germany and Benelux will seize the initiative, and move forward as a way to counterbalance the costs of Brexit for EU-27, and, if Italy were to still be coasting instead of participating in decision-making at the European Union level, we might even risk, after a period of instability, to become "an outer ring" from a more cohesive (informally, at first) "inner centrum".
Frankly, in my vote for Brussels as well as for Piedmont I will focus on those who would at least seem to be a) able to win b) if winning, able to build "succession capabilities".
Slighly more than 40 days would not be enough in another country, but in Italy sometimes we had Governments set up almost overnight.
So, while my initial intent was to share who I would be voting for, I will postpone that decision to when words will be replaced by some actions that at least in the short-term would show a hope that something more than "a lone ranger" will be part of the team of the candidate.
Over the next month leading to the elections, and the ensuing couple of months leading to our typical summer stasis, I hope that, whatever their stripes and shape, candidates will keep an eye beyond our border.
Will Piedmont and Italy be able to actually develop ecosystems that are attractive?
It depends on how down-to-Earth they will be willing to be... so that they can listen to signal and at least offer one or more patterns of evolution of the local ecosystem (and Italy's interaction with other national ecosystems in Brussels etc.)