SEIUNISA Innovators met with Attilio Palumbo, a graduate in Civil Engineering for the Environment and the Territory from the University of Salerno, who has been a project manager for national and international initiatives since 2013, for projects both private and supported by the Prime Minister’s Office or the European Commission.
Face to face with Attilio Palumbo
Post covid the EU has placed digitization and environmental sustainability as central themes for investment. Her vision has enabled her to see, for several years now, these two issues as priorities in the various projects she has launched. What do you think could be the turning point in the near future? In what areas do you imagine the concept of innovation can evolve?
Innovation is present on so many areas, ranging from cosmetics to motor skills, from engineering to so much more. The covid created an initial jolt, but it also curbed interest in environmental issues in favor of the issue of people’s health. Looking also at the balances in international geopolitical scenarios, we can say that we are coming from the longest period of peace ever: hopefully it will last, but a geopolitical jolt such as a clash between the great powers could create misalignments. Therefore, to prepare for these eventualities, we can create digital businesses, perhaps even international ones, so that we can be independent of what happens in a single state. Areas where innovation will be made will certainly include Machine Learning, Web3.0 and Digital Health.
Will college always remain the primary choice of education that a student will undertake after high school, or are there shorter, more specific specialized courses?
I have been thinking about this for several years, and it is to address this need that Talents4Planet was born. The European Commission itself, in 2022, came out in favor of microcredentials as a means of supplementing the framework provided by university education; this need is evident now and will be increasingly so in the future because of the very speed of digital and because of the fact that universities are more reluctant to change degree programs. Imagining an even faster future, microcredentials will be favored for direct education, while the university will remain more directed toward pure research.
How are you developing the theme of social sustainability and welfare along with the theme of environmental sustainability?
The coworking space of The Green Hub is a physical place for meeting and gathering that enables a development of the area, increasing its value through the contamination of the ideas and passions of the people who experience this space. They provide everyone with basic knowledge about environmental sustainability issues so that future entrepreneurs can comply with it. An impact in welfare can be generated precisely by leading by example, creating moments of comparison and dissemination in the territory.
Can Greenhub be a model of land redevelopment to be inspired by and applied in metropolitan areas?
Enhancing hamlets in metropolitan areas is also important, and this is also the case with The Green Hub, which also promotes this idea in terms of marketing. It is not pure hamlet redevelopment, but more wide-ranging, even indirect redevelopment, as the goal is to redevelop the way young people think and the way they do business.
How much attention is growing for the topic of e-health at The Green Hub?
There are no courses on this topic at The Green Hub partly due to the fact that the Hub has not yet been approached by companies in health care and pharmaceuticals. However, as there is significant investment in the sector, it is not excluded that in the future there will be companies in the area that are interested in profiles with these skills.
Attilio Palumbo’s advice to Innovators.
More advice was given to future entrepreneurs during the talk:
- Have a vision board, a framework of what we want to become or what we want to achieve some defined time frame. Such activity is critical for a startup, but it is also critical for self-empowerment: you need to put goals on paper and pursue them, even if they change and are revised during the process;
- Don’t just stay in books, but above all, do, get involved and get out of your comfort zone: even if the economic remuneration is not satisfactory and if morale is low, especially in the early stages it is important to experiment to figure out what you really want to do in life and to figure out what your preferences are;
- Acquiring some soft skills (Illustator, WordPress, managing social profiles, managing the work of a team or other) is essential for those who want to do business or even to improve the brand reputation of oneself;
- When presenting the product of your work, it is good to be enthusiastic: passionate people are wanted in business, and the way you present your ideas can radically change the outcome;
- Always thank anyone who has provided support at any stage of the process;
- Anyone can follow the euro design way and can participate in these calls; it is not necessary to have all the skills required for full project development because, often, you will find yourself delegating a lot of work to experts in the field, so you are never alone. You can also start by taking simple courses on YouTube, which are free, and then eventually go deeper.
Who is Attilio Palumbo
The post-graduate years are of continuous experimentation and characterized by the word “doing,” essential for his personal and professional growth: in 2011 he launched his first venture, Virtuos Italy, a site whose goal was to collect good environmental practices in use in various Italian municipalities. He did not profit from this experience, but he gained a number of soft skills (such as Illustrator, WordPress, organizing work in a team, and managing social profiles), which would later serve him well throughout his career.
Since 2015, he has focused on design and self-entrepreneurship: thanks to the skills he acquired in the course “Project Cycle Management, how to write and manage a project,” he has seen his ideas funded and implemented seven times, as Green Generation. This experience will prove pivotal to the realization of The Green Hub.
In 2018 he founded The Green Hub in Cava de’ Tirreni, a reference point for startups and innovators investing in digital and environmental sustainability issues. It is not only a coworking space, but at the same time an incubator for startups and a place for (free) higher education on specific skills required by companies. Through the “Talents4Planet” brand, in fact, The Green Hub acts as an intermediary between prospective workers and companies in the area, and also carries out this matching through hackathons. The adjective “Green” encapsulates a broad concept, i.e., it not only contemplates environmental sustainability and zero impact in the strict sense, but also emphasizes the need and goal of training a generation of talent who are sensitive to Climate Change and have the skills of “just transition.”
Since 2019, he has been Director of Support and InfoCenter at corporate VYVO Inc. a group that is developed along different branches: “HELO,” a branch whose goal is to develop smart devices that can collect and process data about the person through cutting-edge sensors and algorithms, such as smartwatches or smart scales Blockchain and NFT, whose goal is to aggregate and anonymize the data produced by from HELO’s smart devices so that the customer can always maintain ownership of their Web3 Digital health data.