At work with Alberto Garuccio

Alberto Garuccio, head of innovation discovery at Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo tells Efma’s Boris Plantier about his working life.

At work with Alberto Garuccio

Tell me a little about your background.

My background is in finance and I have a real interest in financial services technology. I have gained over 15 years’ experience in innovation, change management and digital transformation at KPMG, Fiat Group, Banca Sella and Intesa Sanpaolo. I became head of innovation discovery at Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center in 2018.

What does your workplace look like?

It’s an amazing open space office on the 31st floor of the Intesa Sanpaolo skyscraper in the heart of Turin.

Could you describe your usual working day?

I usually wake up at 6:00 every morning and I spend 30 minutes reading innovation and technology news, checking social networks and thinking about new ideas. I leave home at 7:15 to take my 10-year-old daughter to school before I head to the office. I also make time to go to the gym, which I manage to do 3-4 times a week.

My working day contains meetings with peers, startups and experts to find new opportunities in the fintech and insurtech space; organizing work with my team; reviewing studies and reports; and attending or organizing internal workshops in Italy or abroad.

What is your favorite food?

I have always loved all traditional Italian recipes but recently I have fallen in love with sushi and Japanese food. My wife is a food blogger!

What do you do when you need a break from work?

I love spending time with my family. When I have an hour of free time, I use it to draw and paint.

How do you build a successful team?

In a big bank like Intesa Sanpaolo, you cannot select all of your team members. For this reason, the most important thing in my opinion is to define a clear goal for each team member and to help them achieve it. This helps to foster engagement and transparency. Innovation is not a linear process, so it is also essential to accept mistakes and try to learn lessons from them.

There is a saying that we learn more from failure than success. Tell me about one of your failures and what you have learned from it.

Sometimes people think that brilliant startups with amazing technical solutions, disrupting business models or great teams could resolve corporate issues or gaps, but it is not enough. Through managing many projects, I have learned that ‘soft’ variables – the right levels of internal trust in new ideas, or good relationship management of internal stakeholders – set the right goals to achieve and are more important than finding the best overall solution, because it might not be the right solution for you.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to succeed in financial services?

Deliver, deliver, deliver! Use your time in an effective way and boost your personal skills. In the end, innovation is ‘only’ realized old activities in a new way.

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Workforce management