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Published by Alberto Cottica
A regional development project in Italy, funded by the Equal European initiative, gets a grip on the local stakeholders.
A regional development project in Italy, funded by the Equal European initiative, gets a grip on the local stakeholders.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Alberto Cottica on Apr 28, 2007
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01/01/2013

pdf

 
 YOU ARE HERE
A
NARRATIVE
 
OF
 
SHIFTING
 
NARRATIVES
 
ABOUT
 
THE
B
OOSTER
 
PROJECT
 
IN
P
ESCARA
 
AND
 
OURSELVES
Alberto Cottica
Version 3.1 of April 27
th
2007
Summary
1. Introduction.....................................................................................................................................32. The early stages: stalemate and alienation (July 2006).................................................................53. Telling about the project: the integrated tools action and the launch of a communication staff (July-September 2006).......................................................................................................................74. Booster in town: meetings and courses design (October-November 2006)..................................95. A development strategy on the informal channel: atlas of music creativity and project work(November 2006-January 2007)......................................................................................................116. Some good advice to finish off.....................................................................................................14Footnote 1: hacker tradition and music in Pescara..........................................................................15Footnote 2: Booster's internet tools.................................................................................................15
www.thehubweb.net
 
You are here 3_1.odtThis document is a deliverable of the Booster project (IT-G2-ABR-033),funded by the Equal European initiative. I wrote it with the invaluablecontribution of Marco Colarossi, Elisa Petaccia, Roberto Marrone, AntonioFebo, Paolo Verri and all of the Booster project's communication staff,regional network and development partnership. Anna Natali and TommasoFabbri read a previous version and gave me precious advice; I would like tothank Tommaso in particular for his learned explanation of the methodologicalimplication of my modest efforts. Obviously the responsibility for anyremaining error or omission (very likely, given the subjective nature of theaccount) is solely mine.Milano, April 23
rd
2007Page 2 of 17
 
You are here 3_1.odt
1.Introduction
In July 2006 I found myself working at a project aimed at developing – both inthe creative and in the social and economic sense – the music scene of theItalian city of Pescara, called Booster and funded by the Equal programme of the European Social Fund. The partners of the project were the vocationaltraining arms of the three main Italian trade unions, (Enfap-UIL, coordinatingpartner; Smile-CGIL; Ial-CISL) and two consultancy private sector companies,Pixel (based in Rome, headed by a Pescarese), and The Hub (my owncompany, based in Milan). I was the only one with any business relationship tothe music industry: everyone else was in the vocational training business. For several reasons, and according to several different criteria, the project was notgoing well: practically invisible, lacking any substantial relationship with other stakeholders in the area, it looked like it was doomed to irrelevance.Besides our own, personal shortcomings and those of the organizations werepresent (cultural and technical weaknesses, lack of a unifying commonlanguage, low propensity to cooperate) we also had a credibility problem. Atthe kickoff of the project (July 2005) not only we did not know the area (atleast with respect to its music- and creative scene) but the area did not knowus. We did not have a strong brand; we did not even belong to a clearlycomprehensible category. We were an Equal project: and the people weneeded to work with – musicians, local promoters, labels – were not used todealing with ESF projects, and they found it puzzling that a group of peoplethat did not work directly for some local or regional authority could proposeand agenda for change. Worse: in Pescara, as in all of Mezzogiorno, peopleare generally very cynical towards regional development initiatives, that theyinterpret more as a way to hand out some public money than as a resourcefor influencing our common future
1
.In order to get these people involved and to earn credibility in their eyes wedeployed a strategy that yielded far better results – and even more
different 
ones – than was anticipated. I think the most interesting point about this storyis the fact that the people who were working on the project have changedpeople in the team, the role structure within it, the relationships within andwithout it, our goals and even the physical places we were operating in. In aneven more spectacular way, we have changed our 
narratives,
i.e. the way wethink about what we do and the people we interact with. As a consequence,this experience did not have the look and feel of successfully implementing apreviously decided strategy. The feeling was rather that, as we madeprogress, the environment in which we moved changed, opening up newopportunities that broadened the space of possible moves and,consequently, possible results. Looking back on it, I think that the projectshowed what Lanzara
2
calls “negative capability”; in other words, that itaccepted to start a course of action with an incomplete map and aninadequate toolkit, planning to upgrade both with information and tools picked
1
Studiare sviluppo, 2006,
Lo sviluppo ai margini – Due anno sul campo a sostegno di progetti integrati in aree periferiche del Mezzogiorno,
Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze Dipartimento Politiche per lo Sviluppo, rapporto di ricercahttp://www.dps.mef.gov.it/documentazione/docs/2006/1865_Losviluppoaimargini.pdf 
2
Lanzara, G.F., 1996,
Capacità negativa – Competenza progettuale e modelli di interventonelle organizzazioni,
Il Mulino, Bologna
Page 3 of 17

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