Even with the global economic slowdown, Italy is one of the world's biggest manufacturing exporters (worth US $0.5 trillion in 2011) and it's products are famed for top notch design and quality. We asked MBAs at MIP Politecnico di Milano to name the most innovative firms in Italy, the ones that are maneuvering the difficult times and thinking outside the box to create growth.
As well as firms that make stuff, there are some internet and tech firms on the list too! Some common traits among these companies are continuous reinvention, rethinking strategy, and making your product unique or difficult to copy.
Here are the Italian firms to watch in 2012:
YOOX Group, nominated by Mariela Censori (MBA 2011): "Recessions certainly cause losses but also generate opportunities for innovative corporations to try out new strategies", she says. YOOX was founded in Italy in 2000, and rapidly became the global internet retailing partner for leading fashion and design brands.
YOOX established itself among the online market leaders with an interesting business mix of multi-brand sites (yoox.com, the corner.com and shoescribe.com), and several mono-brand stores “Powered by YOOX GROUP”. Products range from apparel (in and off season) for men, women and kids, to pets’ accessories, home and design products, shoes, eco-friendly fashion, vintage finds and books.
YOOX is always reinventing itself, in order to provide its customers with the widest possible offering and the best possible service, says Mariela. It has a distinct identity based on quality, creativity and innovation. Finally, YOOX provides its customers with fantastic customer service, a customized shopping experience, brilliant delivery times in more than 100 countries, fast and easy returns and fully localized web sites granting proximity to customers in all key geographies.”
www.musixmatch.com, nominated by Francesco Utizi (MBA 2012). The company created its business model on the empirical fact that the word "lyric" is the most searched word in every search engine, even more than "sex". They developed the world’s largest lyrics catalogue that can be used in different mobile devices including PCs, mobiles and tablets to provide the best lyrics-to-song service without infringing copyright and licensing rights.
The company has worldwide licensing agreements with the likes of Sony ATV, WarnerChappell, EMI Publishing, Universal Music Publishing, Kobalt Publishing, BMGChrysalis, and Harry Fox Agency. It was set up by three Italians in early 2009 and has been backed by Francesco Micheli Associati, and informal angel investors like Simona Cima, founder of Dada (DA:MI).
Shoes brand Geox and designer eyewear group Luxottica were nominated by Danilo Mello (MBA 2012), “Due to their global perspective and the competitiveness innate to their markets, they have long understood the necessity for continuous innovation as a modern business pre-requisite for differentiation, and acted upon it”.
Michele Cocondi (MBA 2013) highlighted three companies for strengths in innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity, respectively. Finmeccanica was picked for innovation. It’s the second largest industrial group and the largest hi-tech industrial groupbased in Italy. It operates in seven sectors: aeronautics, helicopters, space, defence and security electronics, defence systems, energy and transportation. Innovation has been key in enabling them to compete with the other larger conglomerate competitors around the globe.
Italian manufacturer of chocolate and confectionery products Ferrero was chosen for its creativity. The company has grown successfully due to its ability to create something relatively simple but linked to an experience, which makes each product inimitable.
Geox is nominated again for its entrepreneurial flair. The company was founded in 1995 by Mario Moretti Polegato. The company has already shown remarkable growth in its 17 years of existence racking in revenues as high as €850 million and employing around 2,590 staff.
Francesco Basso (MBA 2013) finds the development of DIRECTAPLUS, a small company in the nano-technology business to be fascinating. They developed a special low-cost process to make Graphene, a component for chips and that could substitute silicon. Hopefully they will transform Lomazzo in the Graphene Valley!
Juan Estrada (MBA 2013) has picked two companies, one in energy and the other in luxury. The first one is oil and gas firm Eni which was listed in 2010 as the 53rd biggest firm in the world, based on revenues.
Bulgari is the second one: an Italian company with more than 100 years of experience in the jewelry and luxury goods markets. “The luxury business has become one of the industry's that is growing even in the crisis period. The BRICS and CIVETS emerging economies are appealing markets for for Bulgari in the next five years", says Juan.
Read more about students doing an MBA in Europe here