By Eimear Dodd Journalism MA student, @TheCity_Dublin editor, @Irish_TechNews. Iimage is from pixabay

Here are some interesting insights about creativity, sustainability and innovation from a recent conference in Milan. image from pixabay

The ‘Shaping a Creative Future’ forum was held by the Prada Group in partnership with the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano and Yale School of Management on 20 and 21 March.

Faculties members from both universities, international business leaders and representatives of international organisations discussed creativity, tradition and sustainable innovation at the conference. A number of working groups ran parallel to the main event.

There were four themes for discussion at the forum: brand heritage and market value, sustainability through innovative design, value creation, and driving creative excellence.

The tension between tradition and innovation came up in discussions about brand heritage and market value. People want to preserve traditional crafts and ideas yet technological developments are resulting in changes to business practices and society.

The conference identified as key the relationship between brand heritage and market value. These two concepts are interlinked and increasingly important to consumers.

Ways to develop the relationships between heritage, market value and consumers was also discussed. As an approach, design may have the advantage in terms of sustainability. Great design can preserve the best from traditions through developing new and innovative approaches that draw from technological innovation.

Increased consumer awareness requires businesses to go beyond the bottom line of social, environmental and financial accountability or risk losing customers. The forum concluded that organisations must do more to create real value for employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Raffaella Cagliano, a moderator of the forum and Deputy Director for Faculty Management at Politecnico di Milano School of Management, said: “Society is calling for a change. Companies must aim to create social value by addressing the requests and needs of its stakeholders, from its customers to employees, local communities, citizens and institutions. These stakeholders are asking companies to do more good”.

By integrating this attitude into all areas of business, making sure supply chains are sustainable and ethically responsible, as well as taking the issue of international legality seriously, businesses will create true value. Quality must now not only be related to the product, it must be related to the people and the environment. Businesses must aim to not just be compliant and green, but also meaningful if they want to keep – and gain – customers.”

The forum’s discussion suggested that organisations which avoid incorporating social responsibility into their business models will fall behind those that have integrated ethical working practices into their organisations.

David Gallagher, International President of Growth and Development at Omnicom Public Relations Group, said: “We know that younger generations see sustainability and social responsibility as essential to a company or brand’s integrity, and by appealing to them on artistic terms, not on just factual or economic terms, we may find new ways to bring meaning and value to responsible businesses.”

Representatives from Facebook, Microsoft and the World Economic Forum also took part in the forum. The Prada Group is made up of luxury brands including Prada and Miu Miu. In 2016, it was ranked 81st in the list of the 100 most valuable global brands as produced by Interbrand.

The conference produced a number of documents that are available here:

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