As part of our research series dedicated to helping innovation districts “Organize for Success,” Julie Wagner traveled to Milan, Italy to meet leaders at the Milan Innovation District (MIND). She selected this district because, like many districts, MIND is contemplating how to create a strong governance model, which as leaders there explain, is the essential next step to ensure their district evolves over the long-term.
Why Governance Matters
In this first video, Julie highlights the recent research brief, “Why Governance Matters,” outlining how innovation districts—important centers of innovation taking on challenges such as climate change, cancer and infectious diseases—require some form of governance. Specifically, Julie describes why these complex geographies need governance to organizationally design how to make smart and synergistic decisions across actors and across landowners. Also in the video, she explains how the release of this paper comes at the same time when leaders at MIND are weighing how to create a cutting-edge governance model.
A Look Inside MIND and their ambitions to create effective governance
Julie takes the stage with Stefano Minini, Project Director for Lendlease at the Milan Innovation District. In this short video, Stefano lays out why this fast-evolving district is shifting its efforts to create a “proximity of intent”. Stefano lays out multiple reasons for why MIND leadership will dedicate the time it needs to create governance, offering new insights for other districts around the world.
What governance means: A view from Arexpo, the Leading Government Partner at MIND
Julie sits with Mercedes Lucchini, International Relations Manager of Arexpo, which is the leading public partner in MIND’s public-private partnership. In this conversation, Mercedes offers what the next level of governance could look like at MIND. She highlights, for example, how the evolution of their governance model must be a flexible, nimble model that allows them to easily adapt to changing macro-economic conditions and other emerging realities. Mercedes also offers other insights about the role of leadership and their commitment to governance, which other districts and interested actors will learn about by watching this video.
Why MIND still needs governance even with its collaborative innovation platform
In this video, Julie talks with Giacomo Cavalli, Relationship Manager at MIND. Giacomo first explains the platform known as Federated Innovation and how it has become an “innovation driver” for MIND. This has required creating a safe, IP-protected environment for companies and industries to develop and test new ideas with a dedicated team. Yet, even having established this platform and process of open innovation, Giacomo argues that MIND needs governance to raise their level of ambition—not only as a local player but as a global player.
Advice on Why Districts Should Develop Some Form of Governance
In this second conversation with Stefano Minini, Julie asks what advice he has for other innovation districts that are still debating whether they need to create some form of governance. Does governance matter? Stefano was quite clear in his response, importantly calling out the role of senior leaders to drive this work that will ultimately shape both the strategic nature, and the sustainability of a district. Julie closes with a compelling call to action, considering MIND’s accelerated role on the national and global stage.