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02/07/2012
THE JOURNEY OF A COMMUNITY

Umberto Seletto

At a time when the most famous social network was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and created capitalization of tens of billions of dollars, the subject of communities might seem to be almost worn out.

In reality, it is not only virtual communities that appear totally spontaneously, but also new ways of being together that become regular appointments.

In a world in which knowledge flies on the wings of a click, comparing, investigating and seeing if the experiences of an operator are shared become a requirement that is not touched by the crisis in conventional forms of associationism.

The origins of the incipit can be very strange. Today I will tell you about one of my experiences. A story that is probably like many other stories that some of you can or wish you could tell. I’ll tell you about mine because it is connected with my business, where nothing is sold, nothing is bought and the person who takes part in it is not a guest but feels the need to share ideas. It is a sign of optimism in the space that still exists for people to meet and not only by mail. The story began on the streets of New Orleans at the time of the NADA (North American Dealers’ Association) convention in 2009. So tyre retailers have nothing to do with it, but the needs are very similar. In this case, it so happened that a large group of people involved in selling new vehicles decided to take part in the US car dealers’ convention with the aim of trying to understand how problems that were assumed to be mutual were handled in a context that is so very different. They wanted to talk and communicate, not just read reports. Someone came up with the idea. Not only did the event fill a plane, it was also a kind of migration. The vision?  To travel through thoughts and hopes to the ideal road for a collective. A journey towards greater dealer autonomy which led to a gathering of reflections, authenticity, passion and action. It was an informal, non-institutional, wide-ranging meeting that Professor Domenico De Masi described as the " Post-Modern model".

Everyone was motivated by the idea of trying to collect new ideas that would be a source of inspiration in their own business on the other side of the ocean.

On my return, I also reflected and came up with the idea of cultivating the seed of comparison and relive that moment. To cut a long story short, I presented my idea to some friends for consideration and called it “Anticrisis Day”. It is a community, but to me it is more that that; it is a dream, an ideal whose main driving force is sharing ideas for overcoming negative moments. It is a world of enthusiasts who meet every year and believe in respect, mature dialogue and great professional and social commitment. It is an all-embracing space for expression. It is an anti-crisis lever for operators in the automobile supply chain. The results have confirmed that there is a huge need for this type of community: operators ask for in-depth economic information and wide-ranging observations on society, so much so that there are now also "Anticrisi Day Journals – Lateral Thinking and Reflections on Automotive Issues". The aim is to fill the recount and narrate gap that seems to traverse the automotive community. The journey will continue  in Valtellina on 11 and 12 November.

The story of this community is emblematic of how people spontaneously feel the need to meet, to network and increase the sector’s culture when issues become pressing. 

Like all communities, when the network has been created, the initiatives multiply.

In other words, the need that has been recognized concerns the creation of a community composed of professional experts of the automotive supply chain who are meeting for the first time in an unstructured context to create sector culture, to share a language and establish new lexical convergences. 

The consequences were also interesting: the event that began with a visit to NADA in the United States aroused the interest of William P. Underriner, chairman of NADA.  He and his wife, Mary, were guests of the Anticrisi Day dealer community and its many initiatives. We were honoured by Underriner’s visit because there could be no better testimony to the fact that is possible to come out of a crisis than a segment that only a few quarters ago was in a critical situation. 

There are no miraculous recipes for overcoming the crisis, but if it is true, in the same way that it is true that the customer must be central to all reflections, then a socio-economic observatory on mobility will be created at the next meeting by Stefano Palumbo and Domenico De Masi with contributions by numerous high-profile experts. 

The results of the study will be presented in Valtellina on 11 November during the 2012 edition of Anticrisi Day and enlarged upon at the next Autopromotec exhibition. In the same way that the Internet has not killed the printed word but has forced newspapers to evolve, virtual social networks have not eradicated people’s need to meet. On the contrary. 

That’s why I told you this story.

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