Episode 153 – Mauro Porcini – A Story Teller’s Passion for Human-Centred Innovation

“We should put the human being back in the centre. If we do, it’s better for our society, but we’re also going to create better people, more happy, that are going to give so much more to our companies. We said earlier multiple times, that passion, love for what you do is indispensable.” – Mauro Porcini

  • [02:08] Patrick introduces his next TEDM guest, Mauro Porcini.
  • [03:32] Mauro and Patrick get their conversation underway. Mauro shares that he even has a hard time explaining to his Mom what it is he does as a designer of 25 years! He does his best to define his broad role in a new approach to innovation and branding.
  • [07:12] Shaping of a designer. Mauro brings us back to his humble beginnings, his environment growing up in Italy, the influence and inspiration from his parents and their passions, the values taught to him, and how he relates them as a foundational piece toward happiness for anyone.
  • [14:47] Mauro’s educational and professional journey started with two dreams which eventually led to a new road that fulfilled his dreams as a child, and one he hadn’t previously known existed!
  • [20:08] Although academically gifted, Mauro’s nature also included a need for artistic expression which his parents encouraged. He recounts a story from his childhood in which the constructs of the school and his teacher, in an attempt to “normalize” students, had him questioning right and wrong over the trivial matter of how he held his pen. Follow your nature.
  • [26:19] Once he found his passion in university, practice and nurturing his own growth was driven by the love of what he is doing. This drive has led him to achieve the extraordinary results he has. Mauro feels if we pursue what is imposed on us by our parents or influences, not what we love, it will drop away or we will be miserable for making the compromise.
  • [28:17] Mauro illustrates how he challenged the status quo of boxes and siloes in the corporate world by successfully showing them he could do so much more. First by giving them what they asked for, second by considering and anticipating what more they will need as society changes, then working behind the scenes to give it to them before they ask for it. Mauro synthesizes the 9 steps he took to change the game.
  • [38:17] As a driver of innovation and change, what were some of the challenges Mauro encountered with redesigning the culture of a big corporation like PepsiCo and 3M? Mauro defines and describes the 5 phases of designing any kind of new culture in business. 1) Denial; 2) Hidden rejection; 3) Occasional leap of faith; 4) Quest for confidence; 5) Holistic awareness
  • [53:25] Advice from Mauro on exceeding expectation and making yourself indispensable. Whether recruiting executive sponsors to champion culture change, or peer support to drive your vision: the question we need to ask them is, how can I make YOU successful? Develop a deep understanding of the ambition’s goals, needs, and wants of people in front of you. Leverage your skills in a unique and unexpected way to help them succeed and to help them shine. Build trust, build credibility, become indispensable.
  • [59:19] Patrick reflects on Mauro’s advice from a business owner standpoint and the advantage of providing that indispensable value.
  • [62:04] In the last couple of years, the importance of work/life balance has been amplified. We are realizing new dimensions in our life and ultimately, we seek to find happiness on this journey. We invented work to satisfy and serve our basic needs. Now, we need to find a way to both serve and provide contribution through our work and prioritize happiness outside of it. Mauro closed his book with ways to design happiness. From his viewpoint, there are 3 dimensions to that 1) Self-reflection, search for identity; 2) Selflessly give love, and reciprocally we will receive love; 3) Be of contribution without expectation of receiving.
  • [68:51] Hybrid working. It is a reality in many job sectors, and Mauro believes time by yourself in your own environment combined with the ability to re-connect with people in the office to talk, mentor, collaborate and celebrate each other is fundamental. Put the human being back in the centre to create happier people who will want to give back and go above and beyond for your organization.
  • [70:58] Mauro acknowledges there are those who won’t align with this thought process. They may see it as esoteric and fluffy. In his experience we must embody what we believe in, and the culture change we wish to design. Then, quickly show results through our projects in how it CAN work, and gain some forward momentum. It’s likely not enough to present the idea and language; walk the talk and supply tangible proof points to gain the credibility.
  • [77:53] The driving force behind authoring his book The Human Side of Innovation, began with a passion for writing and inner desire to story tell and mentor. For Mauro this desire came through in many platforms, and as he spoke and taught and learned, his instinct to share became a powerful tool to write a “playbook” of what has worked/what didn’t and what comes next. His book is truly an integration of the growth and experience he has gained from childhood through to present.
  • [86:37] Wrapping things up with a little rapid fire! The book Mauro is currently reading (first one with reading glasses!), plus a recommended read; his favourite swear word is Italian [but he’s trying not to say it anymore]; message at the pearly gates; room-desk-car; favourite singer; favourite movie.
  • [81:16] Mauro’s gratitude.

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