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In 2021 his first book was published, in Italian: “L’età dell’eccellenza – Come innovazione e creatività possono costruire un mondo migliore” (Il Saggiatore). His first book in English, “The Human Side of Innovation. The Power of People in Love with People” (Berrett-Koehler), focused on innovation, design and leadership, is planned to be launched in October 2022. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Mauro served as the first ever Chief Design Officer at 3M, where his mission was to build and nurture a design sensitive culture in a technology driven global corporation. His teams, based in the U.S., Italy, China and Japan, won many of the world’s most prestigious design and innovation awards.
Mauro began his professional career at Philips Design and then created his own design firm, Wisemad Srl, in Italy with the celebrated entertainment producer and music star Claudio Cecchetto. His work on wearable technologies has been showcased at the Louvre in Paris as well as the Seoul Art Center. Over the years he has been part of the board of directors of several organizations. At the moment he is the President of the Politecnico of Milan Foundation in the United States (Fellows of Politecnico), sits on the board of directors of the Design Management Institute of Boston, and on the advisory council of other design, art, innovation and business institutions. He currently lives and resides in New York City.
As an award-winning innovation leader and first Chief Design Officer of two multinational corporations – one in food & beverage (PepsiCo) and one in science and technology (3M) – Mauro Porcini has been working for the past 25 years to design and build human-centered and design-driven cultures of innovation, creating from scratch entire capabilities, made of hundreds of creative talents, spread in every region of the world.
With his teams he is responsible for leading a new approach to innovation that generates new products and impacts existing brands, across every touchpoint, from physical to virtual – packaging, experience, events, fashion and art collaborations, retail activations, architecture, and digital media – completely transforming the user journey across all channels. But human-centered innovation is not just about the people we all design for. It’s also about the people driving the innovation process. Putting people first requires what Porcini calls unicorns: “people who are in love with people” and who have a genuine fire in them to create meaningful solutions for actual human beings. Some have qualities you might expect—the ability to dream and execute —but when was the last time you heard an executive ask prospective hires if they were kind, optimistic or humble? What are, in detail, their super-powers? How does he find these talents, hire them, grow them and retain them? And how does he tackle the massive responsibility of building new culture and new capabilities in highly complex organizations? How does he leverage design thinking as a strategic framework to guide innovation across the entire organization? How does he create a shared human-centered mindset to drive new business and fuel organizational growth?
In this talk, Mauro reveals the values and cultural shifts your company needs to embody if it wants to truly embrace innovation and stay ahead of change. He shares forward-thinking examples and methods you can start implementing right away. And he makes even the most technical concepts accessible for any audience. “Focus on kindness,” says Mauro—“you’ll be surprised how the most basic soft skills – learned during childhood – will fuel internal and external success.” Mauro will demonstrate how your team can rally behind the concepts of design thinking in order to implement true innovation, solve the most complex problems, challenge the norms, and be more prosperous than ever before.
“We did a search, and we saw that he’d achieved this kind of success at 3M. So we brought him in to talk about our vision. He said he wanted resources, a design studio, and a seat at the table. We gave him all of that. Now our teams are pushing design through the entire system, from product creation to packaging and labeling, to how a product looks on the shelf, to how consumers interact with it.”
“Porcini has no fear of failure. At PepsiCo and at 3M, a company he helped put at the forefront of people-first design-led innovation, his practice has always been to “land something that creates value, even if it’s not perfect. Then everybody will want to be part of it.” In Porcini’s view he’s still running a startup, inside a billion-dollar multinational corporation: “For me design at 3M, design at PepsiCo are like startups within the company.”
“The dapper Italian started a new gig this summer at PepsiCo as the company’s first chief design officer. Trailblazing a role at a Fortune 500 enterprise is nothing new for Porcini. Prior to PepsiCo, he spent 10 years at 3M, where he started as a design manager and worked his way up to become the company’s first chief design officer. The self-described change agent evangelizes for the incorporation of design principles into all of an organization’s processes — something he’ll do from his powerful perch at PepsiCo to drive growth and innovation.”