February 15 is for us at Upskill 4.0 a date to remember. We presented in Milan in front of the top management of UniCredit Italia the projects carried out with the support of Fondazione Cariverona. It was an opportunity not only to share what we have accomplished this past year but also to gather important indications for what we will do in the near future.
We want to tell you how it went. Let's start first of all with the projects.
We presented four projects representative of as many leading sectors of Made in Italy: Dario Pegoretti which produces bicycle frames in Verona for light mechanics, Progetto Quid which also in Verona does upcycling of textiles for fashion, Coplant which is an important nursery in Canneto sull'Oglio in the province of Mantua for agriculture, and Reverse which produces sustainable furniture systems in Verona for the home/furniture sector. Under the guidance of the Upskill 4.0 team, the companies collaborated for 10 months with students respectively fromITS Maker in Modena,ITS MITA Academy in Florence, FITSTIC in Bologna, andITS Fondazione Malignani in Udine.
Upskill students and project managers took turns on stage at Unicredit Tower Hall to present proposals to address the project challenges the companies had defined.
Students fromITS Maker in Bologna together with Sofia Ressia of Upskill 4.0, presented a prototype of a new mask for welding bicycle frames that through the combination of augmented reality and 4.0 sensor technology allows the welder's work to be guided with extreme precision, but without eliminating the craft component of the work. This was an explicit request from Pietro Pietricola and Cristina Wurdig of Dario Pegoretti: to have a system capable of assisting the delicate work of welding but without automating it. It seemed an impossible challenge and instead through the Design Thinking method and the creativity of the students, a solution was arrived at that could use technology to empower the work of the craftsman. Peter and Cristina welcomed this solution with great enthusiasm and said. "they can't wait to be able to start experimenting with it in the company".
For Project Quid, students fromITS MITA in Florence, coordinated by Elena Masi of Upskill 4.0, focused on a project dedicated to the theme of leather and in particular to the recovery of the many production scraps related to this material. They created a new collection of highly customizable accessories (bags) with a design that combines aesthetic quality with the need to recover as much fabric as possible. In addition, the students developed a new digital interface that allows the end consumer to be able to visualize the bag in 3D. Waste recovery and on-demand production. For Valeria Vallotto, vice president of Progetto Quid, the students responded to the challenge "with eyes full of beauty" while actually going about solving a major issue: that of surplus leather.
Students from theITS Fitstic of Bologna worked for Coplant, coordinated by Michele Tagliavini of Upskill 4.0, creating a new image positioning for the nursery within the traditional nursery industry. The solution the students arrived at is based on two elements. The first is a renewed digital presence for the 30th anniversary with a new logo, a new website, a new communication strategy, and a new Instagram page. The second is a web configurator, created through collaboration with Vitruvio Virtual Reality, which through augmented reality allows consumers to choose plants based on climate zone and visualize their evolution through the seasons. This is an innovative solution that thus gives Coplant the opportunity to dialogue directly with the end consumer as well. Michele Tusi, the nursery's sales manager, said that these solutions will be, "the basis of the company's future development."
The challenge launched by Reverse was to come up with new designs with new materials that could be made with the machinery already in the company's woodworking shop. The students who took on this challenge were students from ITS Fondazione Malignani in Udine, coordinated by Tiziana Obici of Upskill 4.0. The solution arrived at is. NOT (Not Only Wood), a modular seat that can be adapted to both indoor and outdoor spaces. In addition, the students selected new recycled materials such as Wasbottle (a material made from recycled plastic, with a heterogeneous texture that is always unique) and MOSSwall (the patented stabilized moss for exclusive indoor spaces) that can be applied using the same woodworking techniques. For Federica Collato, one of the founders of Reverse, the proposed solution is "immediately applicable in the company" but represents a highly sought-after proposition in the market.
We now come to the feedback we collected from UniCredit.
Remo Taricani, Deputy Head of Italy at UniCredit, speaking at the end of the presentations, said: "I did not expect so much substance and so much capacity for innovation and networking between schools and businesses. Upskill 4.0 is a concrete demonstration of how working synergistically can help promote virtuous processes of innovation at the fabric of micro-enterprises and SMEs in our territories, leveraging the specialized skills of ITS. We leave even more convinced that we are on the right track, we need to accelerate."
For Stefano Gallo, Head of Territorial Development & Relations at UniCredit: "This meeting is not a point of arrival, but an intermediate point of a project born now three years ago. Right from the start we believed in the Upskill 4.0 project because we think that today there is a new model for supporting territories, one that is more inclusive and capable of contributing to the strengthening of human capital. In the project presented, we saw an important ecosystem at work that brings together Fondazione Cariverona, ITS, Upskill 4.0 and the University."
Let us say that these feedbacks are a reason for us not only to be extremely satisfied but to be further stimulated to continue along the path we have been tracing these years.