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Learning Together

People at Ferrari never stop in their pursuit of excellence and education is a key pillar of the Company. As CEO Benedetto Vigna says, “You are always learning, from everyone, and everywhere: the mind never tires of learning”
Words: Daniele Bresciani
Photography: max&douglas

"I can't satiate myself with books." That was said almost 700 years ago by Italian renaissance scholar Francesco Petrarca. And the use of that verb 'to satiate' gives an idea of the necessity to 'nourish' one's own knowledge, and of the uncontainable desire to know. 

It took centuries for the idea to spread of the necessity of schooling being available to everyone and still today there is much to do to bring this about, especially in the underdeveloped countries. That said, sometimes we have the impression that reaching that objective access to knowledge is regarded as sufficiently gratifying, that one can be satisfied with one's current state of knowledge.

In these images we feature Ferrari people who have attended the Global MBA and the Scuola dei Mestieri. From left: Matteo Angelucci, Emanuel Erasmo Tinervia, Leonilde Iannuzzi, Filippo Petrucci, Rocco Picerno, Danilo Di Bonito, Bruno Petrini, Tatiana Selogna, Manuel Giaquinto, Giulio Camiletti, Jonathan Scolaro, Angelo Fumarola, Michele Orlandin, Annalisa Vessia, Olimpia Ferrara, Francesco Di Matteo, Lavinia Negromanti, Domenico Ciccarelli, Cristian Imperiale, Guillaume Sigaud de Bresc, Alessio Fumato, Giuseppe Del Gaudio

At Ferrari, where 'feeling gratified' is simply not contemplated, that is not how things are. And it wasn't how things were in the immediate post-war period, when one Enzo Ferrari, even before founding his factory at Maranello, set to work establishing professional evening courses and, in 1963, founded the school that to this today carries the name of Dino Ferrari.

It hasn't been how things are in recent times either, as evidenced by the series of educational initiatives that Ferrari has promoted in Italy, such as the re-construction of the school in Amatrice following the 2016 earthquake, and abroad, in collaboration with Save the Children.

And, more than ever it isn't our way of doing things today, either. You only have to consider the donation of IT material to the region's schools during the pandemic; the 'Arcipelago Educativo' project - in collaboration with the Fondazione Agnelli and Save the Children - that guaranteed lessons for the most disadvantaged kids; the inauguration just a few weeks ago of the e.DO Learning Center at the Istituto Fermo Corni in Modena, a school laboratory that will offer innovative learning experiences in disciplines such as mathematics, science, and technology to the region's high school students and teachers.

From left: Domenico Ficarella, Anna Mazzucco, Angelo Balistreri, Bartolo Violante, Federica Rotondaro, Alberto Virgillo, Francesco Migliore, Giovanni D'agostino, Giovanni Rufolo, Cosimo De Paoli, Paolo Benemia, Martina Rovolon, Francesco Spizzica, Lorenzo Natali, Nicola Terdich, Monica Luciani, Stefano Luparia, Caterina Iadicicco, Biagio Vorzillo, Giuseppe Sciacca

But Ferrari activity in this field is not only outward facing. Learning, especially 'continuous learning', is a concept very close to the heart of CEO Benedetto Vigna. "I begin from the concept that in life 'to become' is more important than 'to be"," he says. "Personal growth is the foundation for the growth of a community or, in this case, of a company. To learn means to remove obstacles, it means overcoming dogma, it means strengthening the capacity to adapt to change, above all in uncertain times like these.

Likewise, I strongly believe in transparency and in the sharing of our own knowledge. Putting it at the disposal of others means 'emptying' oneself a little, to then prepare yourself to fill up once again, in order to learn once more. It's a continuous cycle." 

He adds: “I'd say that the most important symbol of our life is the question mark: if you want answers and you want to continue to learn, you have to always ask yourself questions.”

Vigna also believes communication is key, from people in all positions, saying: "In a hierarchical organisation the exchanges are vertical and therefore limited: those who are above talk only to those who are directly below them, and vice versa. But if these communications become open, and fluid, the number of exchanges increases, there's an exchange of information and knowledge. This is all added value. You know something? Put it at the service of others, and when others do the same your own personal growth benefits, too.“

From left: Valerio Rinaldini, Letizia Belletti, Vincenzo Parlato, Alberto Buccola, Maurizio Galiano, Valerio Simonini, Cecilia Sacchi, Raffaele Risolo, Alessio Rubino, Laura Sgarbazzini, Marinella Montecchi, Francesca Mincigrucci, Giuseppina Buonaiuto, Simone Lis, Federico Rasulo, Lucia Ciriello, Marianna Migliaccio

That is why continuous learning is fundamental. Whoever is prepared to learn grows and becomes enriched. Working in a team enables others to grow and also enriches the company. And someone who acts in this way is not afraid of questions or of criticism, because their ability is not being brought into doubt. Instead, it's simply an attempt to approach a situation from a different perspective. 

And Vigna feels that building on the past and recognising events is important, saying: “We have to recognise the dates when something happens that changes our way of working, that has made us grow. The first date we've highlighted is the first of August, when the team brilliantly resolved a mechanical issue that had been giving us some headaches. Solving that problem saw the team come out of it stronger, with a heavier portfolio of experience, and with increased self-confidence. You always learn, from everyone and everywhere. Because the mind never tires of learning.”

Continuous learning. Precisely.