I met Maria Vittoria a little over a year ago, while both of us were attending FORTH Innovation facilitators course in the Netherlands, held by the exceptional Gijs van Wulfen. During the last year, we have built up our collaboration by connecting through Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program. She and the rest of the wonderfully wise ladies at Evidentia have kindly received me in Milan and we had a very insightful experience exchange. I shared my ideas on Lego Serious Play and they have taught me how to conduct corporate culture diagnosis and powerful workshops for Italian high profile companies.
First of all, thank you for having me in Evidentia in 2019 as part of Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program. How do you feel about this program?
I think that It’s a very interesting programme, a practical way to contaminate experiences and competencies, a real support for new entrepreneurs who are about to start their business. At the same time, it creates international networks and give the opportunity of having insights on different cultures and way of doing business.
Who is Maria Vittoria? What would you like your audience know about you? What about your clients?
You know Walt Whitman’s quote : “I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes”, I feel it suits me well.
I’m an entrepreneur and I co-founded Evidentia with three other women co-founders in 2015. It’s a consulting agency working with big companies in order to innovate their management practices and to develop a sustainable, psychologically safe culture in the workplace.
I’m an organizational development consultant, I’ve been working for 25 years in the field, both in Italian and Multinational consulting companies using different tools and methodologies.
I’m a business economist, a counsellor and a coach. This set of skills and approaches have given to me a broad look over organizational issues.
In 2018 I also became a certified FORTH facilitator and it has had a huge impact on how I help organizations to innovate.
I’m also the mother of two girls, wife, sister of three brothers, I’ve a lot of dear friends. In my life I’ve experienced the need of putting together things that are often seen as opposite or in conflict.
I strongly believe that evolution and change are achieved through the individual and that’s why I work for their full expression, awareness, openess.
If you were to describe Innovation to a 3 years old or to your grandmother, how would you do it?
Honestly, I’d rather learn from a 3 years old child ☺. Experimenting and innovating is its daily task. And, if my grandmother was still alive, I would tell her that television, tights and personal computers are all forms of innovation: things that didn’t exist before and that someone dreamed of and then created to satisfy humans’ needs.
Was there a trigger to send you on this journey related to Innovation? How did you get to be here?
What has always struck me is that the world we live in has radically changed over the last 100 years. The management models, instead, have remained almost identical and that is a great restraint for innovation. Being aware of this, we have always worked on the evolution of management processes, practices and tools in Evidentia.
In our daily research and update activity, we have come across the Innovation Maze, a book by Gijs van Wulfen. We like his approach and we invited him as a speaker at Contanimazioni 2018, the annual event organized by Evidentia. Thus, we discovered the FORTH methodology and, together with the other co-founders we have been to the Netherlands to become certified facilitators.
We have immediately understood that this was a methodology of uncommon strength and impact that we wanted to use to support companies to significantly innovate.
Do you have a recent or important project that you want to showcase? Something that makes you proud or something that is concerning you and you want people to know about?
Sure! It’ the first FORTH project that we have held in Italy. Between April and July 2019 we worked for an energy company that wanted to innovate the business partnership between Finance and the operational units. After 4 months, 12 workshops and an excellent cross-functional team journey, the team presented 4 proposals to the company's top management. They are now working on the implementation, and will benefit from a group of people who have shared a way of working together with innovation, a constructive exchange of points of view and openness to the outside.
Why does innovation fails? Are there any caveats, advice, tips or tools you might want to share for people that are just starting this bumpy road?
Humans prefer to stay in awkward but known situations rather than face the uncertain. That’s the main reason for innovation to fail. Thus, to innovate effectively it is always necessary to work on people culture and mindset. Everything starts from there.
If you were to be a Lego character, how would you look like? Please describe us and let your imagination go free.
I don't know if it exists, Cristina, and maybe it's an innovation, I would definitely be a Matrioska. A lot of different women, one inside the other, multiple facets but all tied, one to the other. What would you say, can it be done?
Maria Vittoria, I see you more of a super-woman. Thank you for this experience!