Viewed 275 times | Published on 2019-09-30 22:47:15
The previous post was on another section of this website, the one focused on "rethinking business" (Assessing systemically: the business side, subtitle... #digital #transformation #automotive #mobility #Italy #Turin #FCA).
This post instead is within the "political side"- with my usual extensive concept of politics, i.e. "politics" isn't just what politicians do.
I will not repeat what I wrote in the previous three "segments" of this series- if interested on the background, or the explicitly business side, see the link above.
Instead, a little "preamble" on what I learned when politics crosses path with business, before moving onto what it means "assessing systemically" in politics, based upon my experience, aggregated experiences, and what I learned, lived, observed as a citizen.
A personal preamble: "techné" in politics and politics in "techné"
I am not and I am never been an elected politician, also if I was active in organized politics when I was a teenager, and was also indirectly (as a kid) and directly (as a teenager) part of political campaigning for (successful) elections- in Italy.
Then, in my early 20s, compulsory one year national service, but I decided that joining the Army was more in line with my concept of the State than non-armed service, albeit many of my contacts, classmates, friends instead decided otherwise; actually, I applied for joining the service before I turned 20- but storytelling that would be a digression that I shared few times online in the past, so I will skip it.
In early Spring 1986, while my service was almost done, wrote my first CV, and sent it around (before my service in the Army and after high school I had started studying Information Technology, as it was the subject closer to the one I would have applied to if it had been available at the university in Turin back then and, anyway, I assumed that IT was the one that could deliver a job opportunity faster).
In July 1986 started officially to work- as a mainframe computer programmer, after choosing a lower salary and much lower "rank" in a multinational vs. what I had been hinted at if I were to accept to work in a local company.
The reason of the choice? The business library I saw at the main offices of my future employer, and the century-long (more or less) wealth of knowledge in practical business worldwide that they brought to the table.
It was a moment akin to that famous credit card advertisement: knowledge is priceless, even more so if you are coming into a highly technical, structured business from... a political and "liquid" environment.
As both political advocacy for European integration based upon material coming from Brussels, Strasbourg, and research centers in economics, and working on the bureaucratic, training, operational side of a conscription army teach you a lot about reusing knowledge and how "structure" and "motivation" require more than salaries.
So, I think that probably that was the main reason why in few years I used the new technical skills to focus on what I was used to: change, but with a twist.
Specifically, cultural and organizational change- this time, supported by integration of technology.
Luckily enough, that brought the unusual (for the times) blend of skills into working with senior managers on the customer side.
Yet another intensive learning experience, as for a couple of years almost weekly it was first an informal exam (I looked much younger than my age), then when I "passed", a flood of knowledge (and I am still now a "knowledge sponge"- knowledge and reassessing it are addictive).
But let's move to see how the most visible part of business post-WWII, computers, entered business and politics.
Technology and politics
I would like to take a little apparent detour to visually describe how the concept of time in our society is still linked to schemes that belong to another social, political, business era.
Admittedly, we live in a complex world, and, as I wrote often, our "required response times" aren't those discussed by Plato and Aristotle in their political works of two thousand years ago, also if often some politicians (and also some managers) remind me of Plato's "Republic":
"The law would say that to be patient under suffering is best, and that we should not give way to impatience, as there is no knowing whether such things are good or evil; and nothing is gained by impatience; also, because no human thing is of serious importance, and grief stands in the way of that which at the moment is most required.
What is most required? he asked.
That we should take counsel about what has happened, and when the dice have been thrown order our affairs in the way which reason deems best; not, like children who have had a fall, keeping hold of the part struck and wasting time in setting up a howl, but always accustoming the soul forthwith to apply a remedy, raising up that which is sickly and fallen, banishing the cry of sorrow by the healing art."
Well, "accustoming the soul" requires time- so we are used to praise quick decision-making, announces, and, if anything, we grew quite "accustomed" at forgiving details such as the 2003 "Mission Accomplished" about Iraq, with its bells and whistles and landing on an aircraft carrier...
We live in an era where "the fog of war" is not just in war: faster decision-making and the speed of our actions have impacts long before we absorb or even identify the "lessons learned".
I think that, just to stick to this same example, a transcript of an interview of Bob Woodward with Donald Rumsfeld, then US Secretary of Defense could help:
"MR. WOODWARD: And just one quick thing so I'm -- I'm going to be able to cover everything here. In '03, this business about the Army and where the Army took McKiernan out and put Sanchez in with his very light headquarters, a number of people have said you were not happy with that because it wasn't visible to you - what was happening. Is that correct?
SEC. RUMSFELD: That's true.
MR. WOODWARD: What happened there?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I have no idea. I shouldn't say I have no idea. I've asked people to think about it so that we don't repeat the mistake. And regrettably, the lessons learned, what occurred, ended at the end of major combat and did not start up again until about six months later. And it was during that period where things happened that I did not have visibility into. I do not know the extent to which other in the building did, but no one on the civilian side that I know did. And I'm -- it's not clear to me that Pete Pace or Dick Myers did. (NDR emphasis added by me)" (from the archived transcript).
The Wikipedia article on "mission accomplished" references another phrase, but this is the one that better describes decision-making in our times, in my view: apparently, we have plenty of information, but, in reality, it is scattered around, and some many decisions are made that the "fog of war" has been replaced by the "fog of data".
With that framework of reference in mind, let's see how I saw technology expand in business since the 1980s.
I will obviously start with Italy, as I prefer to relate personal experiences, and then expand.
The 1980s were a time when, in Italy, you could still find plenty of managers who did not have in their or their secretary office a computer: they just received computer printouts.
Yes, the good times before Powerpoint, when reports contained few pages as you had to have them typed or written by hand.
The 1990s instead saw "PCs on every desktop" starting to become normal (almost), with email being mainly considered an oddity.
Again, many managers in Italy back then (but often also today) considered emails as "technical" as in the Middle Age nobles who were used to accept that they had to read, but writing was a "technical skill".
The 2000s? Well, technology entered in many domains as if it were "the new ballpoint pen", with some curious overlapping of techno-enthusiasts and technophobic, both piling up Powerpoint decks.
And on the political side? It depends.
Until a couple of decades ago, with few exceptions, in Italy being a politician was a career choice, not a revolving door with society, and often technology was considered demeaning, as most politicians that I met seemed to aspire to become "philosopher kings".
So, when I read also recently books on politics in France or the USA in the 1950s-1960s, when "marketing" was already being used also if not necessarily advertised (at least on this side of "The Pond"- as Bernays&Co advised USA Presidents in the first half of the XX century)...
...Italy was still another world (and I have books on political schooling in Italy in the 1950s for aspiring politicians that seem coming from a parallel universe, if you compare with today).
Anyway, also in other countries being a politician is (or becomes) a career choice.
And, in the end, also the "new politicians" of the early 1990s, as I wrote long ago, seemed like loans to politics that were never returned.
Within the previous article, I discussed how people should be considered on at least three dimensions: individuals, members of one or more groups (or a tribe), members of their social environment.
There was an interesting series of BBC radio broadcasts that was long ago converted into a book, "From Plato to NATO".
When our complex society requires that technology meets with politics to e.g. deliver services, we are actually looking at "From Plato to Klaatu" (from the 1951 movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" see here).
As, for many, technology is as alien as probably was for the Germans observing when Caesar built up a bridge, crossed the river, dismantled the bridge.
Or: while I was living in Brussels, I attended seminars and events that in part were linked to a discussion on how to use e-government and overcome the "digital divide".
But I am not the only one who thinks that we are focusing too much on the digital divide within society, and forgetting the digital divide within decision makers.
Unless our decision-makers understand the potential of various forms of "techné" (including to avoid misuses of financial derivatives by public authorities, not just computers, engineers, etc), the risk is a continuous erosion of the ability of democratic structures to represent society, and the development of parallel structures of control, coordination, governance, and participation.
The much despised GAFA (Google Amazon Facebook Apple) are just the beginning: imagine when everybody will be surrounded by sensors, and even our clothes will "broadcast" to anybody who will bother to listen, interpret, and broadcast back to influence.
Read "Propaganda" by Bernays, and translate it with our current technological capabilities- GDPR is a good start of a shared "framework of understanding", ignore the parts about fines etc- that is the typical legislative conditioned reflex, what matters are the preambles and few bits here and there (I wrote more about that elsewhere).
Italy sometimes look as a gerontocracy akin to the last pre-Gorby days of the USSR (and I am 54, so, I am not defending "my own territory": look at other European countries where people take the helm in business or politics well before my age, but after an "intellectual apprenticeship").
Anyway, I do not think that age is an issue: is mental freeze into a different age that is an issue.
I met people in their 30s and 40s who were actually less open-minded than others in their 70s or 80s.
The solution most often used is to co-opt somebody contributing that missing bit, but does that result in real impact? Or just a "façade" showing how trendy you are- while in reality still sticking to the old and trusted habits, until enough co-opted tilt the balance?
Secretary Rumsfeld's "I do not know the extent to which other in the building did" could be actually used by many decision-makers.
This post too, as the previous one linked above, is about a first step in any cultural and organizational change initiative: assessing where you are.
Thinking systemically in politics
Technocracy is not what I advocate for, despite having been called often in the past to cover "technocrat" roles.
Also when actually I was just facilitating the interaction of "experts" with those who needed to see if that "expertise/technology" potentially augmented the impacts and reduced the costs (not necessarily just financial) of decisions, I always thought that, in the end, in politics those making the decision should assess the overall impact short- (e.g. news cycle), medium- (e.g. electoral cycle), and long-term (e.g. restructuring of society).
So, to apparently contradict what I wrote above: more Plato and Aristotle than an MIT engineer that sees politics as if it were a collection of pipes with well defined degrees of freedoms and weaknesses ("tolerances").
Because human systems have a degree of adaptability that fairly exceed any machine (or software) developed so far: otherwise, we will still be dwelling in caves (and I am not referring to Plato- I am talking of real caves).
And this is were probably there is a difference between the politics of business and the business of politics.
As an example, there are at least three ways in which a business can be "political", while still delivering a profit.
A. Deliver something that alters social behaviors.
B. Deliver something that alters perception of what "market" means.
C. Deliver something that alters what competition is about (which is not necessarily included within the previous two).
Do you see a pattern?
Deliver something. As a business, in the end, is about delivering something: products, services, whatever- but delivering something that can be measured, purchased, sold. used.
I met many who are covering the Corporate Social Responsability (CSR) function and who would probably disagree: but, as some appointed to be "the flameholder on methodologies" when I was selling methodologies in the early 1990s, in way too many companies they are just a cost of doing business in the XXI century, akin to having a ISO9000 certification, not impacting on decision-making.
Actually, over the last decade, more and more companies shifted away from mere "fig leaf" CSR, and moved toward considering CSR one of the "factors" within production or delivery, but always, and correctly, thinking about the business side.
E.g. reducing the quantity of wrapping is both good for the environment and good for the bottom line, and avoids that eventually public will push for new legislation requiring that the product lifecycle disposal costs be charged back (the current charge in many countries is nominal, more a reminder than a real cover of the costs involved).
Yes, there are many startups (even "unicorns", recently) that sell "an idea" wrapped around a product or service that never reaches a value worth watching on the bottom line: but that tells more about the gullibility of investors, than negates the basic idea that, eventually, a business had to either deliver value, or fold.
Social businesses used to be different, but, considering "sustainability" as a long-term objective, it is common now to consider that being "good to society" does not imply "being subsidized": simply, that those businesses consider that their bottom line includes both a financial value and long-term, self-sustainable social impact, a kind of "bio-feed-back" between company and society.
Even in Italy, recently some social businesses started as such (i.e. from scratch, not with grants, leases, transfer of assets, etc) started being successful enough to be able to take over other businesses: without any special tax rules exempting them from e.g. payroll taxes, as it was traditionally done in the past.
In my previous article the "thinking systemically" was mainly focused on "timeframes of decision-making", but in politics I rather consider the two elements discussed above:
1. the cultural divide
2. the concept that "I do not know" is going to be endemic within the business of politics, but requires a different approach, not an outsourcing "sight unseen" as used in wars over the last few decades.
Because, beside the career of wannabe politicians, politics' self-preservation is based on its credibility vs. the voters.
Do not let yourself carried away by news about corrupt politicians or those misusing their power and access while in office to line their pockets, including by building up well-paid role for when they will leave politics.
If voters still bother to vote, it means that, overall, they still consider politics credible.
And frequent requests for direct dialogue with politics and impact on the actions of elected politicians are a sign, a sign that voting periodically at the polls isn't the only way that, in our complex society, individual or corporate voters consider "voting".
But there is another dimension of "the business of politics" that has to be considered, and, again, something I wrote online about at least since the early 2000s (before, I was sharing it only offline in my network, while meeting around Europe).
The business of politics and jurisdiction
Since the 1970s (courtesy also of the Club of Rome), politicians are used to get feasibility studies, number crunching reports prepared by their staff, etc- as an excuse to avoid making political choices that have, in the end, impacts on the social and economic life of their individual and corporate citizens: they let the numbers justify their choices.
Lies, damned lies, and statistics (I could suggest few books, both on interpreting statistics, for politicians and voters, and on interpreting accounting reports, be it from private businesses or from local and central authorities).
In the past, "voting with your wallet" used to be possible mainly for the well-off and multinational corporations, but converging aggregate interests in the stability of markets have restructured that element.
Nowadays, even middle-class or low-income individuals can make a choice to, say, purchase from Amazon instead of purchasing from a local supplier, or invest in public debt of another country instead of their own.
And even the routine "grassroot movements" (from "occupy", to "no logo", to the current environmental protests of those who haven't yet the age to vote) are quickly converted into investment opportunities: open to everybody.
Politics used to be strictly correlated with the concept of "jurisdiction": but well before Greece (a member of the European Union), Argentina decades ago showed how "the business of politics" transcends national borders.
You might say that a century ago it was still possible to alter legislation to coherce most citizens and businesses into following specific "behavioral patterns", ranging from consumption to investment.
Supranational "frameworks" such as WTO, OECD, EU, IMF made that increasingly more difficult.
Already 15 years ago, I saw how many local authorities in Italy were not accessing all the potential benefits of being within the EU and of the increased integration and creation of "points of exchange for governance" (e.g. the European Committee of the Regions established in 1994).
Unfortunately, countries such as Italy miss most of the opportunities, as business and politics are still a world apart, except when it is time for tax credits or influencing with old-style lobbying.
I could share plenty of material, but probably few book references (one available for free online, as it is a RAND study) could help to better understand how decision-making, leadership styles, democracy could benefit from an approach that is neither strictly top-down nor strictly bottom-up:
1. of course the old Axelrod " The evolution of cooperation" (a review that I posted online in 2016, and contains links to other books as well)
2. a more recent "Swarming and the future of conflict" (from RAND)
3. and a curious yet interesting book for those considering "direct democracy" Seeley "Honeybee Democracy" (I discovered the latter only recently, as a footnote in a 9-weeks course on Neuroeconomics that I followed, as an update on Coursera; have a look also at the 2008 and 2011 courses focused on Behavioral Economics from Professor Shiller on oyc.yale.edu).
Just to stay in Europe: in the XXI century those sent to Brussels to represent a city or a region should be more the visible point of a swarm, than a collector or mediator, and then processor, of local instances (if they bother to listen to "civil society" at all).
What is the difference? Traditional politicians have different sets of motivations (as the three levels for individuals discussed above).
In the old times, a politician had time to "adjust", "hedge"- both toward those (s)he was interfacing with in the "political professional" world, and toward her/his own constituency (voters, "sponsors", etc).
If you compress time, it becomes more a matter of "emergence": you have to set "ethical" or "political" boundaries to guide your action (if you like, some don't, but I steer away from pure opportunists- they behave as the scorpio crossing the river on the back of a turtle).
Anyway, that does not imply that you are fixed on just one position: all your political activity, persuasion, convergence of interests, etc will probably deliver a new (temporary) point of stability that represents the position that you can advocate for.
Even green parties, at least in Europe, evolved in some cases as "splinter cells" within other political parties, but in my view were more successful when turned into a different beast, i.e. "getting their hands dirty" with politics, and getting into governance, not being monotonous Zealots.
Governance implies something more than "ruling".
Governance implies using the resources that you have, not those that you would like to have- and shifting the boundaries a bit at a time, as you want something that can be ambitious yet still able to govern.
I know that the old joke about interviews and politicians states that you should answer the question you would have liked to have been asked, not the one that you were actually asked, but that is so XIX-XX century...
Another point that differentiates (most) businesses from politics: politicians do not have resources, use those that they are granted, for as long as they are in office (well, I am oversimplifying, of course, as it is not uncommon the politician that creates an non-profit as a "parachute", to return in office after losing an election, by using that non-profit as a private "Speakers' Corner").
Obviously: I do have a model of relationships between business and politics in mind, but, as usual, I think that going practical makes it for a shorter explanation- I will return therefore to Italy, Piedmont, Turin (yes, a matrioska: as Turin is my birthplace and lies within Piedmont).
Just because I know that local readers would like to have a word on that ("Kremlinologists brewing ground" could be another business opportunity for my birthplace), I will talk straight.
Three news items over the week-end impressed me:
1. the announce on the investment on Maserati new models and relaunch of other plants
2. the disclosured of a 40mln USD fine for reporting issues 2012-2016 on USA sales figures by FCA
3. the subsequent (I assumed to the first, but maybe both the first and second items) release of a comment from Renault that, while on the industrial side it made sense the merger, it is not on the table now.
The first is certainly good news for the territory, and at least will eventually, if realized, add some "beef" to the "brand sauce": as I wrote in the previous article, brands are fine and represent value if alive and kicking.
The second is frankly disappointing: what I read on "Il Sole 24 Ore" (the Industrialists' Association newspaper) is something quite sad, and reminded me 1980s-1990s cases of creative accounting- considering that we are within the SOX era, whoever concocted that scheme delivered a damage that fairly exceeds in terms of goodwill impact the value of the actual fine.
Firing those who make mistakes, when I was in a position where I had to advise about that, is something that I never suggested, as I wrote in the past: whoever makes a mistakes probably can teach a lesson on avoid an encore; but this is not the case: from what newspapers reported, it was done on purpose.
The third is frankly good news, if you look at the glass half-full: it confirms that there is sound ground to do it, not a burial; to be sorted out, it is a negotiation...
Now, having disclosed, as in a 1990s theatre piece that I adapted to Italian long ago (and required that I went into the Talmud to understand its spirit), on which leg I do stand, I can move back to "assessing systemically: the political side".
A practical case of assessing systemically
First and foremost: this section is both about the "business of politics" and the "politics of business".
In the previous article, the last three sections discussed about the territory using a specific "business case", i.e. automotive.
1. A cultural case: Italy
2. An apparent digression: FIAT evolution in the XXI century
3. Using the past as a springboard.)
As reminded today by the World Economic Forum, sustainability (SDG) implies removing obstacles to sustainable uses of resources, as well as waste, and corruption is a significant source of mis-allocation of fundings.
Assessing systemically public procurement is a political choice; prioritizing, is a political act.
Therefore, avoiding interference with those priorities, fighting both waste and corruption, is, again, a political choice delivered through political actions that might include prioritizing the allocation of the resources used to oversight, control, audit.
There are actually at least two phases where this could be required:
1. defining the "what" has to be procured
2. controlling the "how" is delivered.
There is anyway a small fly in the ointment: since the 1980s, the drive to "reducing waste" was often converted into shrinking down capabilities within the public sector.
Including those required to actually "govern" what is procured (products, services, temporary workforce).
Moreover, removing also resources that were available in the public sector able to design or even also implement (Italy until few decades ago had a significant part of its critical national economic and physical infrastructure within the public sector).
I will skip a lengthy discussion on the issues when a customer, no matter if public or private, uses potential suppliers to vet other potential suppliers: it is a matter of conflicts of interests.
In Italy, along the the "shrinking down", we also decoupled decision-making levels.
The post-WWII Italian Constitution had a concept of sharing decision-making across the various levels of government, but it was only not too long ago that we started few rounds of "shuffling".
First the Regional Governments, with varying degrees of autonomy, with some power transfer from the Central Government.
Then, metropolitan areas around the major towns, as "attractors" and to streamline costs.
Then, gradually (at least formally) the demise of provinces (aggregations of towns and villages).
In Turin, in the end the territory of the whole province became the metropolitan area of Turin.
Creating a unicum: a region, Piedmont, where a large chunk of the economy revolves around its main town, Turin.
And a metropolitan area that has a large chunk of the economy of Piedmont, and where, again, Turin carries a large weight.
As you can imagine, this created issues in the past between a mainly industrial and financial area (Turin) and a region, province, and now metropolitan area whose economy is (or strives to be) more diversified.
To summarize: we first went along with "shrinking down" (privatizations, creating consortia that aggregated the services for local authorities while centralizing in one or a few companies for each region know-how, and even privatizing them), and then multiplied the decision centres.
Add on top of that a typical Italian characteristic of our spoils system: the winner, as the Abba song went, (apparently) takes it all.
But this is not necessarily so, as the winner traditionaly placed his own people across all the entities where a chunk of the ownership was public (at the national, regional, local level).
In other countries, this would be at the senior management level.
In Italy, this instead traditionally extends vertically: "civil servants" à la "Yes, Minister" aren't really our tradition- except for few critical posts.
Meaning: you might well win the elections but, unless there is an injection of new staff for new roles, you are really looking to fill voids left by retirements, turnover, and the like; and stuck with the leftovers from the previous "winner".
And, when you leave office, your people does not necessarily leave: they turn into burocrats with a staying power that sometimes implies simply waiting for your "sponsor" to return, in other cases looking for new contacts point with the new winner, notably when it is time to fill managerial roles.
A recent proposal from the local industrialists' association in Turin, Piedmont to the new Regional Government, to support it on procurement activities, might have been odd elsewhere, up to the point of being considered a conflict of interests.
But, frankly, in Italy, it might be useful.
Beside Turin (where there are new and forthcoming research facilities e.g. on industry 4.0 and on innovation or within the arts domain and academia), other parts of the economy, traditionally focused on e.g. agriculture (Southern Piedmont) or textiles and jewelry (North-East Piedmont) are re-inventing themselves.
All these transformations require defining new services, and sometimes also revising regional laws to restructure incentives, procurement, points-of-presence for support offices, governance, etc.
At the same time, thinking systemically within the public sector implies thinking about what are the "boundaries" of your system.
Are we talking about Italy?
About a region within Italy, Piedmont?
About the Metropolitan Area of Turin?
Or the aggregation of two Metropolitan areas, Turin and Milan?
Or, why not, Piedmont, Lombardy (where Milan, the financial centre of Italy, is based), Emilia Romagna (part of the automotive industry shifted to the "Motor Valley", not too far from Modena and Bologna)?
Recently there was another proposal from the local industrialists association, involving trying to get all those regions to work together, and maybe even merge.
I will skip the references to previous sources (few decades ago) of the same proposal, except two names- Miglio and Gelli.
If you read previous articles on my website, you know that I always found quixotic the rivalry between Turin and Milan, as well as the one with Genoa.
If you merge the three metropolitan areas, they make more or less than half the population of other urban areas in Europe or Asia.
I still have some doubts about the 1970s concept of "being competitive" by aggregating areas that are physically interconnected, when competition is now across supply chains that extend globally.
As an example, already while I was living in Brussels (say a decade ago) Brussels, Shanghai, and some sites elsewhere shared productions- by airplane.
But I have more doubts whenever I hear about yet another coordination mechanism between authorities.
In Italy, usually this implies creating non-operational entities, with the associated rituals (routine meetings, reports, etc) and, of course, full-time jobs.
Hence, my preference for another proposal that I read today within an interview on "La Repubblica": the local industrialists' association would like to delegate to the Turin Chamber of Commerce some implementation activities, on the future of Turin.
Assessing systemically in politics, as I wrote above, implies knowing where are the boundaries of your system.
Moreover, understanding your ability to influence (or be influenced) by what lies beyond said boundaries.
Both at the Turin Chamber of Commerce and at the local industrialists' association, not too long ago was shared that the local economy is composed mainly by small or micro-companies (somebody say 90-95% of the companies within the territory fit that profile- later this month a new report should show some trends, stay tuned).
What is the characteristic of small and micro-companies in Italy?
Mainly, that their owners or their families are actually managing them- and that they lack the organizational structure needed to interact with longer-term initiatives.
This extends to the integration within the supply chain (or even just the "innovation ecosystem") of their customers or other organizations.
Probably, the Turin Chamber of Commerce will have a better chance of integrating "typical" local companies within an "innovation supply chain"- but will they be able to fit, integrate, benefit from any joint efforts? Will they have resources that are "embedded" within each corporate culture (often akin to an extended family)?
Injecting "interns" who haven't a clue about the corporate culture or how to identify it, but come equipped with highly developed "technical" skills (IT, finance, etc) could fill statistics and reports, but will anybody in the company change behavior, or just see them as "low-cost workforce to be used to do those strange things that make you look modern and deliver grants, funding, and access to supply chains"?
The concept discussed within today's interview on "La Repubblica" was actually toward a "systemic" approach.
But one element was missing: the discussion was political, albeit the focus was about the "politics of business", leaving aside the "business of politics".
The risk? Plenty of coordination activities from the top, or grassroot (meaning: somebody from the bottom will play "Lord of the Flies"), instead of "swarming" and "emergence".