Marino Golinelli is 97, and plans a future, which goes until 2065. This shows the project and visionary capability, of the Modena entrepreneur from the class of 1920, a pharmaceutical industry leader with his Alfa Sigma company. In 1988 he created the Fondazione Golinelli, to which he has already donated 85 million Euro of his personal resources. His latest dream is to “build a society capable of adopting a unified vision of its origins, which is unafraid of an unpredictable future. To use the social awareness and responsibility that each person has by helping young people grow and be free to express themselves, and live while building a harmonious society.”
This is the goal of Opus 2065, a multi-year programme that Golinelli will finance through a Foundation Trust. The programme will put in place the various actions already launched in the fields of education, training, culture, research, innovation and business. There are three primary objectives: the development of new highly innovative forms of training for young people and teachers; a research centre for future knowledge; and a fund to support new entrepreneurial activities.. A residential PhD School in Data Science, a High School for Master Degrees and a Teacher Training Lab will be established in Bologna to identify new approaches and training methods.
This was announced last 11 October, at the inauguration in Bologna of the Golinelli Science and Art Centre, which is an additional 700 square metre and 3 million Euro investment for a place dedicated to young people where they can imagine their future. The new Centre stands in front of Opificio Golinelli, which was established in 2015 with the aim of being a citadel for knowledge and culture. Thanks to a 12 million Euro investment 9,000 square metres have been redeveloped and already hosted 200,000 young people. Fonderie Sabiem (Sabiem Foundries), which until 2008 occupied those three hectares in the western outskirts of Bologna, between Via Emilia, the Rhine and the railway, is just a memory. Antonio Danieli is the Fondazione Marino Golinelli General Manager. With him, we try to enter into this enormous vision and inspiration.
The first activity of the new Centre will be an exhibition with a title that says it all: “Be ready for the future without knowing what it will be.” Is this the Foundation's plan too?
The exhibition focuses on the stimuli we adults need to give young people. We know that we have an increasingly more interconnected, unpredictable, multicultural global world. It is not about making young people able to foresee the future but to work on what enables them to enjoy themselves in this world and to take advantage of the today’s enormous possibilities. To do this, you need to give them a new toolbox and the right amount of self-confidence to make them aware that they can handle unpredictability. Young people have the potential to create their future, but we have the responsibility to give them the tools to do so. We need to start with self-confidence. There is some exciting research on entrepreneurship, which shows that young people have Corporate Social Responsibility in their DNA and the added value social component. If they combine that passion with the available technological tools and the will to make a positive change, as a global value, the future will be radiant. We have a tremendous educational responsibility to show young people that these things can be combined.
Young people have the potential to create their future. We have the responsibility to give them the right amount of confidence.
Opificio Golinelli opened in 2015, and in just two years, you have inaugurated one of the first local, MIUR-funded laboratories for employability, which is promoted by a network that unites some schools in Bologna and some Emilia-Romagna, public and private companies. You opened the new Art and Science Centre: how did you do so much in such a short time?
The secret was Marino Golinelli. The Foundation existed since 1988, but some years ago Golinelli repositioned the Foundation by providing it with resources, governance and a vision that allowed it to project itself into the future. The Foundation abandoned the idea of acting on a subsidiary basis and to sit down with the institutions as equals and share development strategies. These elements exponentially accelerated the Foundation over the last eight-nine years and had led us to define an ambitious multi-year programme: Opus 2065. Our goal is to grow new generations. So far this has been translated into education and training, but now we are adding research and support for entrepreneurs. In summary, there is the founder’s willingness to actively operate using an integrated logic as a strategic player and not just a subsidiary.
Why did you choose to establish yourself in such a peripheral area, by redeveloping the foundries?
Opening the Opificio outside Bologna’s centre was highly desirable and what is happening today is that we are making strategic considerations for this city’s area development. A city can only be polycentric and being in the west of Bologna projects us towards Modena, Ferrara, Milan, and Turin. To make innovation and social development we need to have a "glocal" approach, with strong roots in the area. We have close ties with sports centres, student associations, neighbourhood youth summer school projects, which avoid school leaving. At the same time, we can take a more comprehensive look at the Central-North clusters with their international contacts. Last year our activities involved around 110,000 students, of which 20,000 arrived from all over Italy. We need to be on a level to compete with, if not Silicon Valley but at least, Boston and Tel Aviv. The qualification of urban fabric means knotting the threads of a social fabric. This is an important metaphor because Opificio is vision-centred – culture and knowledge are the dress of what we are... but first there is the vision.
For innovation and social development, you need to have a "glocal" approach. It is necessary if we want to compete with Boston and Tel Aviv.
You have chosen the name "Opificio" and the new Centre aims to "recompose the fracture between humanistic culture and sciences" is this the key to the future?
We care about the opus, or “doing” using a holistic knowledge that holds together art, science and technology, humanistic and scientific knowledge. But also the practical knowledge and focus on the experience and the laboratory because culture is born from knowing and doing. No one knows-it-all, and this is where the Foundation’s third aspect, which is networking, comes into play. The idea is to create an educational area that puts businesses close to schools, with the help of administrations and the key role of research centres. The new territorial laboratory for employability is a symbol of all this. Our role? The catalyst, the enzyme, the aggregator.