Go for the talent, go for Talents in Motion!

A brain people in a Country that is not an island

We always read it in the pages of newspapers. In the breaking news. Among many dossiers circulating on web information streams. In the radio news, for those who still listen to them. The brain drain is still a kind of slogan. Absolutely perfect in the matching with sensationalism. Perfect for sporadic studies or, worse, for anecdotal stories. And so, let’s go with terms like: brain drain, brain exodus, talent emigration, brain overflow or brain bank or brain trust, or human capital flight. There are many, many labels that, over the time, have become stratified in the collective imagination with the aim of giving a name to the migration of highly qualified people phenomenon, and to the complex of dynamics that are strictly connected to it. So many, that sometimes you don't even understand what they are exactly talking about. Who should be considered highly qualified? What exactly is migration? "Brain drain" is a formula born around the Sixties (1963, to be exact), with which the English Royal Society found it adequate to label the phenomenon of important migration of its talents, researchers and scientists mostly, towards the States. Not long after (in the Seventies), the term went on to identify an unidirectional flow which, negatively connoted in terms of loss of resources, moved along the periphery-center axis, progressively emptying the developing (for resources and educational baggage evolution) Countries to the advantage of the most established ones. This type of perspective, which a certain sociological literature has readily defined as standard view, lasted until the end of the Nineties, a period in which it clashed with a series of regurgitation, exchange of brains and direct flows towards "other” (Countries (Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia in the very first instance) from those traditionally in the forefront of the markets. It was exactly like this, that the same concept of brain drain, which is in any case and absolutely the one we hear the most about today, began to falter, as it was no longer able to exhaust the overall reality. New and totally different types of flow began to assert themselves, such as those identified as brain exchange or brain circulation. Brain exchange, the first, and the circulation of talents, the second, against a former migratory view that was found to be polycentric, circulatory, temporary, and also subject to exchange phenomena of a "commodity-not-commodity" such as knowledge and know-how.

It’s a brand new world, the one we’re living in today. A world in which competences are evolving also and above all in comparison to a paradigm of globalization and market competitiveness. A world that still sees politics keeping an eye (and much more than just an eye) fixed on the knowledge-based economy. In which drainage and circulation of brains are sometimes coexistent, coincident, complementary motions. Even if a good part of the media, especially in our Country, has easy play in launching apocalyptic appeals to decadence and irreversible impoverishment. Although often this climate of constant alarmism, rekindled by the scoop of the day, overflows in the public debate reshaping the way we wade to the reality that surrounds us. Even if, still, it is on this trace, more or less erroneous and distorted, that a certain hasty policy builds actions and interpretations. Someone said a long time ago that ours is "a people of poets, artists, heroes, saints, thinkers, scientists, navigators, transmigrators". True, but not only. Ours is also, today more than ever, a people of brains. In a Country, moreover, that has never been (and never will be) an island. As such, Italy must measure itself consciously with what’s happening outside its national borders. To do this, it must find the strength and the lucidity to look inward, shedding light on weaknesses as well as potentials, and relying on its value. Talents in Motion project is born exactly from this specific attempt. To restore luster to the conscience of Italian brains, whether they are still at home or abroad, so that our Country is given the opportunity to become a center of excellence, to become an active part of a larger talent circuit. That’s what makes brains and knowledge move beyond States and Regions and Cities. Because knowledge (just like music and art in general) belongs to everyone. And the only way to make it really shine, is to make sure that somehow everyone can enjoy it.

Hence the idea of integrating and overcoming a vision (rigid and far from comprehensive) like the one traditionally offered by the brain drain, to the advantage of the more conscious concept of circulation of talents. From here, again, the effort to create foundations and paths to make Italy a pole of attraction for cosmopolitan talent, in terms not only (and not simply) of returning our brains currently active abroad, but also of active reception of foreign talents willing to move to Italy, side by side with the league of willing people of various and complementary extraction (managers, politicians, academics and opinion leaders) of which this initiative celebrates sensitivity and foresight, to actively contribute to this new and essential chapter. Because this is not about being designers or calculators. Instead, it is a question of looking ourselves in the mirror. To discover agitators of men and Talents. Exactly as "the Drake" Enzo Ferrari said. Go for the talent, go for Talents in Motion!

Patrizia Fontana