A chat with…Fulvio Renoldi Bracco, CEO of Bracco Imaging SpA
Welcome back to Endeavor talks about! This month we had a chat with Fulvio Renoldi Bracco, Endeavor Italy Board Member and CEO of Bracco Imaging SpA, a multinational company operating in the life sciences sector and a world leader in imaging diagnostics.
When did you first hear about Endeavor?
Through an entrepreneur friend who participated in the development of startups in Europe and Latin America as a mentor. He was the one who told me about the different and really useful approach Endeavor is taking.
How was your meeting with the Italian board and what convinced you to be part of it?
I was very impressed by the Italian board’s passion. Passion for wanting to help those in business, but especially for wanting to spread entrepreneurial culture. I sensed that they were very well prepared, people who are well acquainted with the difficulties of our country’s entrepreneurial system but who are ready to put themselves on the line in person to help deserving entrepreneurs grow despite the obstacles. The seriousness of the selection process also convinced me; better yet, it gave me a sense of duty to be part of this organization.
I was very impressed by the Italian board’s passion. Passion for wanting to help those in business, but especially for wanting to spread entrepreneurial culture.
Where do Endeavor and “your world” meet?
I ask myself this question constantly, and it is what allows me to continue learning from Endeavor. I lead a company that has been an innovator for some 95 years, offering solutions designed around the needs of patients. But innovation without the entrepreneurial soul is at risk of being lost; you have to constantly find and renew that entrepreneurial spirit, which comes through connecting with people. This is something I have in common with Endeavor.
What aspects of a company do you consider when you first come across it?
The first thing I examine at is the entrepreneur, the person who holds the keys to making a startup work. I value a down-to-earth and realistic attitude and financial preparedness. I also focus on analyzing the problem and take the opportunity to see if they have the tools to realize their vision and how Endeavor can help them. Careful entrepreneurs who plan every small step give me confidence. You have to be nimble, lean, but also get support and choose your fellow travelers well.
A successful entrepreneur is an open person with great listening skills.
What makes the difference between a successful startup and a failing one?
As I said before: realism, focus, preparation, the ability to go into detail, and above all, the choice of people. The latter remains one of the most important elements, because they are the people you work with on a daily basis, but also your external references. A successful entrepreneur is an open person with great listening skills.
And between a successful startup and one that stays afloat?
It is not easy to say, but there, too, people are important. Those who pay attention are able to revive the initial idea when they notice that something is not working, and this is essential to make that extra leap.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
As I represent the fourth generation of a family of Italian entrepreneurs who have conquered a niche sector like medical imaging globally, from the beginning I have tried to use listening, combined with a good dose of humility, to learn not only from my family, but also from those who had been in the company longer than I had as well as those who had just joined it bringing new ideas. Listening means being open to anything new, to change, the ability to trigger innovation. Being able to listen is a great achievement to me.
What about your biggest mistake?
Mistakes are part of our profession, but I have always tried to learn from each one and question myself. I have always remained curious to try new approaches, even making mistakes. You have to teach people how important making mistakes is for a person’s growth, both personally and professionally. I have learned a lot more from mistakes than from success.
What method or routine brings you concrete results?
My method is listening. I have always gotten very good results when the process involves the people I work with and who I value. I also want to get to the bottom of any issue I am not convinced of.
One must always invest in relationships because they are what remains over time.
What did the Covid-19 crisis teach you?
To answer that, I would have to go back to two years ago. This is a world that is profoundly shaping us, but I have had confirmation of how important it is to invest in people. This crisis has rapidly and radically changed the way we work. We adapted just as quickly, or almost as quickly, and the first thing we did was to put people’s safety first. In this way we were able to preserve the trust we created and create an even stronger bond with the people we routinely work with. One must always invest in relationships because they are what remains over time.
Is digital and technological development an enemy or an ally of traditional SMEs?
It is an ally, absolutely. Digital skills and openness to change are the way to maintain the success of our SMEs, which are backbones of the Italian business fabric. According to DESI 2020, Italy was still far behind. The health crisis has certainly changed the scenario, as digital transformation has accelerated to streamline internal processes, reduce costs and ensure agility in the workplace. The big challenge for SMEs in the near future will be to move from a tactical to a long-term strategic approach that incorporates digital development in all processes, even in the production of our products. We need a major cultural change that the country is capable of supporting.
What are the sectors where you have seen the most growth that have the most potential in the near future?
The pandemic has quickly brought some areas that were not central before and on which there is a lot of push today in terms of market demand to the forefront. One is related to the green economy and the digitization of services and products with strong leverage on AI and life sciences. The common denominator is the need to preserve the well-being of people by improving the quality of their environments, which are two very important goals and represent the DNA of the sectors with the most potential in recent years.
It’s good to have something like Endeavor that supports innovative entrepreneurs by giving them the opportunity to learn from other global business leaders. It is a very important contribution.
Why do you think something like Endeavor is important for our country?
Even today, creating startups in our country remains complicated. We are aware of the fact that we are not in Silicon Valley, and we see many entrepreneurs with innovative ideas not reaching the market. We need to know that when you decide to set up a startup, exchanging ideas with those who have achieved leadership positions can be incredibly helpful to accelerate the growth of your business. So, it’s good to have something like Endeavor that supports innovative entrepreneurs by giving them the opportunity to learn from other global business leaders. It is a very important contribution.