I’m on the train coming back from a tiring and inspiring 15-day full immersion in amazing opportunities that I’m excited to share.
Terra Madre — Turin
Terra Madre is one of the most important international events dedicated to food and gastronomy. This year both Salone Del Gusto, an international display of food products and Slow Food Presidia from around the globe, and Terra Madre, a space to bring together Slow Food communities from around the world through forums and conferences, were dispersed among the city of Turin. From Parco Valentino to the Teatro Carignani, there were food markets with vendors from five continents, street food stalls selling creative cuisine, artisanal brewers and, film screenings, and tastings from wine, to oils to fermentation tactics in addition to forums, talks and conferences examining everything from food production, to meat consumption to food tourism.
I arrived in Turin on Friday, September 23rd, just in time for the official kick-off. Seven thousand delegates from 143 countries, 300 Slow Food Presidia and 1,000 food communities of the Terra Madre network from five continents had already made the city a temporary home. These numbers are jaw-dropping and to be part of it made me proud.
On Saturday I was involved in Food Mood. It was the business area of the event where meetings were arranged as well as talks and workshops. Thanks to Social Fare, I was part of a talk focused on food innovation, mediated by Professor Franco Fassio. Social Fare, the first social impact center in Italy, was there to share how business can co-create with social impact and chose to host Feat as sample business case.
It was inspiring to be chosen to represent Social Fare and talk on behalf of social innovation-driven business projects. But it was also extremely heartening to see so many people come together from so far away to focus on one thing: a good future of food.
Race for the Cure — Bologna
Returning from Turin, I dove immediately into Race for the Cure, a 5K walk/run to raise funds for breast cancer which took place on Sunday, September 24th. I was honored to be joined by a group of 39 individuals as part of the FeatApp: you can! team that raised over 600 euros for the cause. Once again, it was fulfilling to involve Feat in a larger community working towards positive change.
Bologna Design Week — Bologna
The following week I switched gears, from food to community and then straight into the design world. Bologna Design Week, in its second year, is a young event that spreads itself across the city. BDW is the perfect excuse to explore the city on foot, finding innovative and attractive cultural events, exhibitions, installations and talks. Seeing it as the perfect opportunity to involve Feat as the event encourages walking anyway, we decided to present an “analog” version of FeatApp. It was great to work with a team (10 of us) to design a project that could be inserted easily into BDW to bring FeatApp closer to Bologna inhabitants and BDW visitors.
The idea was easy: pins and pamphlets were given out at two main locations of Bologna Design Week, and anyone wearing a Feat pin had the opportunity to bump into our #featchef. A real live magician, the #featchef was an impersonation of FeatApp in general (turning real steps into real rewards). Our #featchef was on the lookout for anyone wearing a pin, and when he found one, he would turn their steps into rewards with 2×1 discount coupons at five different locations.
We had 300 new Featers involved, walking over an estimated 2.1 million steps and redeeming 26 rewards! I can happily say we designed a success!
Brera Design Days, Game Design Week — Milan
After that I jumped over to Milan for Brera Design Days. The whole event took place over nine days and involved a host of encounters and workshops surrounding the theme “Project and Innovation between Digital and Territory.” Themes ranged from Smart Cities to Graphics to Digital Design and People. I was there to attend the Game Design Week, a workshop lead by Paolo Branca about creating social video games. We talked gaming techniques and gaming awards were presented by Fabio Viola, one of the top 10 gamification designers in the world.
I learned that gaming is definitely about play and fun, but also about interaction, and improvement, and remembering. It needs to be a useful experience in order for it to make sense. It should be a win-win. Points, badges, levels are all right but it is necessary to also help change perception and be beneficial to the user. Gaming should be useful in order to be really valuable.
It was fun to explore Feat from a different point of view, the gaming point of view. I was able to learn a lot and hear many experiences about designing games and apps for social change. It was inspiring to be around people who were so knowledgeable in a single area, and I look forward developing FeatApp in this specific sphere.
Startup Encounter: GET – Turin
I spend than a couple of days in Turin where I had the chance to meet interesting startup, GET. Founded by brothers, the group works on wearable technology to integrate all communication methods (email, calls, texts) as well as track fitness and sleep. I spent an afternoon chatting with brothers Emiliano and Edoardo about their project and what could be some next steps in the wearable technology world.
I discovered also another interesting project they are doing called About Startup.
It’s a communications project founded by a journalist, two startuppers and a video maker to help bring the startup world to center stage and provoke discussions about the energy and behind the scenes life of the startup community. It’s an exciting project, as it’s often difficult to effectively communicate all the work that goes into building a business, but I was inspired to see what they are putting together. I was also happy to reconnect with Valentina Ferrero, the journalist working on the project, who I’ve known for a fairly long time.
B Day — Milan
Finally my journey took me again to Milan for the B Day hosted By Patagonia. B Day is organised in order to share the stories of B corp companies, companies who are committed to a sustainable future and recognized with certification for their efforts Nativa, Patagonia, and Mario Way gave amazing and inspiring talks about what it means to become a BCorp company and how it’s amazing it is to be helped by everybody involved. As Yvon Chouinard said, “Ten years from now we will look back and we will recognize these days as the beginning of a revolution.”
It was helpful to see the successful integration of a sustainable future with powerful businesses. As I watch Feat make small steps in growth, I always try to keep in mind how to develop and create for a better future. Paolo Di Cesare of Nativa Lab reminded the group, “Have a vision that decides what the future will be. We want a working business within that vision, to know that every day what we’re working towards makes sense.” It’s a good reminder that having a vision for a sustainable future and a healthy business can go hand in hand.
It can feel busy being always on the go, but in the past two weeks I was able to encounter so many different people with various backgrounds and interests, yet all with common, shared goals. What I love about being in entrepreneurship is having the support of so many different communities: whether it’s walking for cancer, wondering about wearables, or exploring the future of sustainable food or business, I can always find inspiration in what those around me are doing.