Interview with Stefano Poretta
Electronic Engineer & MBA
As a Consultant at C Quadra, Stefano is responsible for diversification and new businesses. He coordinates the start-up process of new business lines in coherence with the assets of the group:
- Responsibility to design new product/services concepts
- Technical and economic feasibility
- Research of technical, commercial, and development partners
- Business model definition
- Intellectual property issues
- Fundraising (public and private)
1. What is the focus of your activities?
Innovation is the pivot of our activities, but real innovation often involves the other tree competencies - says Stefano. The three competencies are management control, marketing analysis, and project management. We cover various projects from very simple ones to ones that are challenging and complicated.
2. How do you stand out on the market? What is your focus?
Our focus is innovation to technology; electronics, mechanics, design, except biotech. One of the most important aspects where we make a difference is that we have an established network with major universities and research centres in Europe. We are also well-connected to over a thousand SMEs, private investors, and large companies in Northern Italy. Through our networks, we can find a solution to a wide array of technology-related tasks that our clients require.
“The squaring of the circle, you always try, but you never succeed.
Only you get closer and closer.”
3. Do you find substantial differences between the Asian and European markets when it comes to innovation?
- To answer in short, yes, I see the two continents being different. In Europe, researchers are often more interested in academic career and publication, than to build relationships with enterprises. For this reason, it is crucial to find the right researcher: the one that has the interest to establish such relationship. In Asia the road from ideation to production and market is short. When people or organizations want to build something interesting, there are many, eager sources and resources to facilitate that. Europe moves slower.
- In Europe, there are many small companies, and it is essential to put them into a network. In Asia, there are more prominent companies that can cater to full projects on their own without having to corporate with another organization.
4. How do you decide what company you cooperate with?
- If an enterprise has an idea, and they ask us for help, our first step is to try to understand what potential that idea has, and if we can patent it.
- The second step is to do an internal brainstorming to find technical solutions for the project, and decide if we have enough competence to create the product. When we don't, we reach out to the universities to see which one can assist us – we have a broad network to support our activities. We often end up putting different organizations together to co-create and execute the project under our management.
- Our next step is to understand if the idea is feasible. What are the costs associated with the project? Is there a ready market for the idea?
- We also check if this idea process has all the elements for us to be able to execute it. When all the investigations are finished, we move into project management mode and help to plan and complete the project from beginning to finish.
5. According to your industry experience, what advice would you give to our Hubbers inventors?
• Always be prepared in advance for intellectual property issues, especially in Asia, but this is a universal issue.
• Ensure there are enough competences and skills in your team to execute your project.
• Don't jump into a project without conducting a feasibility study. You might find that there is a market for your product, but you might have to adjust your plans in the fields of marketing, technical side, or operation. Do not assume that if you can make the product, it will automatically sell.
We've received more than 15k proposals, and the overall experience is that if the idea is right, we can find a solution for everything else. But, the idea must be reasonable, and it must be workable. When inventors want to make a big step, and they don't have the competence, we can help them. Not having a budget while their idea is exciting, we can still help them. If the product idea doesn't have a market, that is a problem because, without that, the product cannot be sold hence not a feasible business opportunity.
Stefano is an in electronic engineering, crowd-funding, project management, start-ups, product development, and marketing analysis.