How to help an artisan to improve the production of custom-made bicycles with new technologies that do not undermine the nature of his work? How to present the experience of building a mosaic by enhancing the places of know-how through the potential of augmented reality? These are the questions that Upskill 4.0, a spin-off of the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, founded by Stefano Micelli, Professor of Economics and Business Management, together with a wide range of institutional partners, including UniCredit bank, is trying to answer.
The answers to these questions come from the original encounter between artisans with an established tradition and young students involved in higher technical education (ITS) and university students. Through the methodology of design thinking, problems perceived as unsolvable are redefined, broken down and tackled thanks to new technologies. A dedicated team of experts accompanies the working groups so that the solutions identified are actually consistent with the original specificities of craftsmanship and, at the same time, project the know-how of tradition into a new economic and technological dimension. Upskill is based on a simple assumption: in order to relaunch many craft activities, it is necessary to imagine virtuous short-circuits between training and innovation.
Young people must be brought closer to traditional crafts by giving them the opportunity to reinterpret them from new points of view. Natural repositories of digital culture, students in the technical sector have the opportunity to look at established activities with new eyes, bringing an original contribution to their realisation. The convergence of objectives between Upskill 4.0 and Fondazione Cologni has already translated into important forms of collaboration in the territories, Venice and Milan in primis: in Venice, these two partners are an integral part of the project 'Venezia Capitale del nuovo artigianato' (Venice Capital of the new craftsmanship) promoted by the Venice Foundation, in Milan a special collaboration is underway for the realisation of a support programme for artisans within a project promoted by Cariplo Factory.