Where did your personal inspiration, entrepreneurial/leadership purpose come from – what shaped your views?
I grew up in a very small rural village located in the fruitful and green Padan Plain, in Northern Italy. Infinite rice fields suspended in time and space.
...Time was not passing...it was turning in a circle...to quote from one of my favourite book One hundred years of solitude from Columbian author Gabriel García Márquez.
No need for traffic lights, to cross the road you just needed to give a wave. No trains stopped there, to reach the nearest small town of Vercelli there was a regular bus service. Bicycles were a transportation of choice for most of our daily trips. This natural interminable landscape and this extreme feeling of living in the middle of nowhere shaped my view of the world forever.
My father, an unstoppable traveller and adventurer, came from a traditional farmer family, and he was the second of ten brothers and sisters. Since I was a child I heard him saying "no one can buy your freedom or no one owns no one". Consistent with his life philosophy he lives a free life and loves as a free man. The father of my father was one of the few survivors of the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald. He was a very silent man and in his sparkling black eyes you could see true love and gratitude for life.
On the one hand the freedom of these two men and their genuine and kind way of caring and nurturing others had a big influence in my life. Radical freedom and radical love know no borders.
On the other hand my mother showed me how to channel your energy to overcome physical barriers with inner strength and faith. The day after I was born, at the age of 26, she discovered to have a destructive autoimmune disease. Since back then she has been living a life of reduced mobility and severe pain. For her, being free means to decide the life you want to live despite external conditions or limitations. Borders are there to be crossed.
What’s the purpose of your organisation?
My purpose is to inspire and catalyse transformation in people. To “set them free” from internal or external limitations.
By giving every person on this world the chance to discover, unblock and fulfil her or his unique potential, and by positively channel this potential, we improve our lives and create a better world.
This is the purpose I collectively share with the members of radicalfuture, a global network of independent professionals, innovators, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs.
I founded radicalfuture in 2003 to enable transdisciplinary and crosscultural collaboration and connect people who want to understand and solve emerging and future issues and create meaningful innovations.
What have been your critical lessons learnt along your entrepreneurial journey?
To know that it all lies in my own hands and to take radical (in the sense of rooted or grounded) responsibility for my life and my actions has been a life changing lesson for me.
Of course I might not choose the situation I find myself in, but I experienced that I can decide how to feel about this particular situation and how to react to it.
Taking responsibility for yourself makes you free and helpful. I am sure you heard several times this message when on the plane “Put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help someone else.” You won’t be of any help to a person next to you or other persons on the plane, if you haven’t first saved yourself.
What are the characteristics that in your experience entrepreneurs require now and in the future?
Future entrepreneurs have to be able to manage creative fluidity, radical openness and radical collaboration, build new ways of thinking, living and working that celebrate diversity and enhance individual potential rather than force rigid order, structure and homogenisation.
Future entrepreneurs are authentic leaders. Authentic means to be purpose-driven, empathic, self-actualised and conscious.
What would be your 5 top tips for purposeful entrepreneurs?
- Love humankind and believe in love as a source of creation, transformation and change. Lead with the heart, care about others and show understanding for them.
- Think holistically and systemically to understand how the choices you make in your everyday life individually and collectively change our future.
- Be a future maker rather than a future thinker.
- Don’t try to persuade people to change. If you embody change and lead by example, others will follow.
- Don’t have fear! Be radical and courageous to make a positive difference.