First of all, how are you and your family doing in this phase of the COVID-19 emergency?

Giampiero Zito: Well, first thank you for this interview and this question. Fortunately everyone is in good health. Let’s say that what’s worrying is the anguish felt by some family members and amplified by the uncertainties spread by some insiders and media. This has an impact on loved-ones as well as on lifestyle and work, which is becoming even more precarious for some members.

Tell us about yourself, your career and how this business idea came about.

Giampiero Zito: I always knew that one day I would become a manager… I have always been fascinated by the idea of contributing to the growth of a large company. Over time and several experiences in consultancy on interesting projects, from different sectors, I realised that the strategy and organisation side of the business was not just part of the job, but my true speciality. At a certain point, however, I asked myself: “why not create something of my own?”. I began studying social evolution, digital technology, professional networks, and smart communities, and I thought of creating a container, a real laboratory with a focus on the sectors of Made in Italy, but with an extra-territorial mindset of partnership with Mediterranean countries – hence the name of the company – which however, despite numerous interesting projects, failed! Mediterraneo Lab 4.0, on the other hand, is the evolution of that first experiment from which we imported the most innovative ideas, reinforcing them with technological and social innovation.

How does Mediterraneo Lab innovate?

Giampiero Zito: In 2019, after investing in R&D, we decided to transform ourselves into an innovative start-up! We have worked hard on the business model by redesigning more innovative services, with different key activities and resources, strengthening human and intellectual capital involving consulting professionals and filing, in full lockdown, a patent under UIBM (Italian Patent and Trademark Office) that has already received a positive research report.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Mediterraneo Lab and how are you coping with this crisis?

Giampiero Zito: The damage was manifold… we have not been able to deliver on site training to companies, and many projects have stalled due to current or future regulatory uncertainties. But as previously mentioned, the lockdown and our considerations about the future have radically pushed us to accelerate the process of digital transformation by consolidating our intangible assets, protecting our innovative ideas and aiming to build innovative services provided through software and integrated with emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Have you had to take difficult decisions? And what are the lessons learnt?

Giampiero Zito: Immediately after the patent was filed, in the middle of Italy’s lockdown, we were discussing with colleagues how the world of consulting and advanced services would evolve. One of them decided to invest in the company, bringing in capital, know-how and decades of experience in vocational training and research. The biggest lesson? Always look ahead… be open and positive towards the future… and a keen problem solver. Not everything is predictable (COVID), but everything is improvable!

How do you manage stress and anxiety in this time of health emergency and how do you project yourself and Mediterraneao Lab into the future?

Giampiero Zito: As I said, even though we are living in a period of great uncertainty, we are trying to anticipate its effects, paying close attention to information and data. The scenarios are many and we must be able to identify the right strategies and the consequent actions to pursue. We have decided to continue with our resources to build a major project: a human resource management software 5.0! We want to combine the world of training with that of welfare together with the much-debated smart working!

Who are your competitors and how do you plan to outperform them?

Giampiero Zito: There are a lot of competitors in the ICT world; our greatest skills, however, are in business management, organisation, training and social innovation. But experience and an integrated vision of business and workforce development, bundled with the digital skills of the consultants and other resources we are about to hire, will give us a huge competitive advantage.

Your final thoughts on this emergency?

Giampiero Zito: The time to call it an ’emergency’, alas, has long since passed. Some effects of the lockdown and Covid will be permanent: new ways of working, transporting, enjoying cultural content, protecting the environment, and so on are here to stay. Therefore our manifesto will be: “Think digital, Act sustainable!”

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