Since 2017, the Prada Group hosts a series of cultural events entitled “Shaping a Future”, with the aim of stimulating a debate on the most significant changes taking place in contemporary society. Throughout all the editions, Prada collaborated with the Schools of Management of Yale and Politecnico of Milan.
On 1st September 2020, the fourth edition of the “Shaping a Future” series of conferences, entitled “Shaping a Sustainable Multilateralism”, was held at Ca’ Corner della Regina – the Venetian headquarters of the Prada Foundation. The morning of debates was part of the programme of two days of events promoted by the newly established Soft Power Club. The event started with the rebirth of the concept of “soft power” and new forms of collaboration and multilateralism that are proving to be of strategic importance for achieving global objectives such as the protection of the environment and of cultural heritage in a post-Covid scenario.
The conference stressed the crucial role of the creative industry, which has made it possible to affirm the identity of Italy at an international level and which constitutes a key element for the rebirth of soft power itself, since this industry founds its growth on culture and an ability to interpret continuous changes taking place in society.
The third edition of the conference "Shaping a Sustainable Future Society" was held at the Prada USA headquarters in New York on November 8, 2019, before an audience of over 250 people composed of students, academics, and personalities from the worlds of art, business, and finance. The event explored the meaning of social responsibility within business and society in an attempt to define what this truly means. Leading figures from international businesses, institutions and organizations shared their reflections on the moral obligation of public and private entities to create an environment that promotes freedom, equality and justice.
During the morning session, speeches by architect Sir David Adjaye OBE and Paralympic athlete Simone Barlaam were coordinated with a roundtable discussion that explored the growing sensitivity to issues such as respect for human rights, cultural identity, and equal opportunity, and more generally the role of companies in contributing to social development. The discussion, led by Raffella Cagliano, Professor of the School of Management at the Politecnico di Milano, and Kate Crawford, researcher and expert in Artificial Intelligence, explored the role of digital innovation in redesigning everyday life, along with the risks of the self-serving misuse of digital technologies.
Over the course of the day, the Yale Center for Customer Insights presented a research project developed in collaboration with the Prada Group aimed at investigating the impact of social issues on consumer purchasing choices.
On November 20, 2018, the second conference entitled "Shaping a Sustainable Digital Future" was presented in Milan. In this occasion, the Group explored the interplay between sustainability and digital innovation. Business leaders and representatives of institutions and international organizations debated the overarching theme, offering their insights and experience in trying to analyze how technology contributes to the sustainable development of business and society and, at the same time, reflecting on the pressing risks in terms of sustainability posed by technology’s onward march.
During the months preceding the event, both business schools partners of Prada launched a student contest open to an extensive audience of students (mainly graduate students) who were invited to develop insights on the theme of the conference.
The first Conference, entitled “Shaping a Creative Future”, was held in Milan on March 20 and 21, 2017 and, in front of an audience of over 300 students, professors, professionals, entrepreneurs and journalists, focused on the analysis of new possible connections between creativity, sustainability and innovation.
The conversation focused on four engaging topics: “Brand heritage and market value”, i.e. the influence of the history of a brand over its products and the preservation of artisanal skills; “Design for sustainability through innovation and tradition”, the marriage of tradition and innovation to achieve sustainable results; “Sustainability and value creation”, innovation and sustainability as key factors for the creation of value; “Driving creative excellence”, which examined leadership as an inspiring element for creativity and innovation.
The conference was anticipated by a dynamic work session, resumed in the discussion of the next day, in which representatives of business and associations met with the professors and students of the two Universities to develop a critical perspective on sustainability and innovation.