"Forgetting the tracks that take us home."
To describe his view on innovation, Marco Polito, CEO of Cassa di Compensazione e Garanzia (CC&G), quotes a rhyme by one of the greatest Italian singer-songwriters, Fabrizio De André. You may think: what does the famous songwriter from Genoa have to do with innovation and CC&G, a company of the Borsa Italiana Group, that eliminates counterparty risk, and guarantees successful outcome of all trades taking place on guaranteed markets? You will find out by reading this interview - the third episode of People & Innovation.
Marco, choose three words to describe CC&G.
«Challenging, engaging, on the frontline».
Cassa di Compensazione e Garanzia is innovative because…
«Because markets never stop, they keep evolving, and CC&G must always stay up-to-speed or ahead of the times».
Talk to us about an innovative project that has been realised just recently.
«One of the most interesting current projects has to do with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can help us to determine the closing price of tens of thousands of financial derivatives products. Following a series of developments, AI is the final step of our evolution. The function of AI is to identify potential anomalies and, in thus, stand alongside the role of a manual check. Artificial Intelligence does not take decisions autonomously, but rather assesses congruity and detects anomalies that may arise.
What did you particularly like about this project?
«First and foremost, it allowed us to improve outcome of the process. Second, the whole process became more fluid. Lastly, we were able to provide better security and reliability to the entire market. And there is a personal touch to it: I introduced the prototype of this project as a CRO; subsequently it went through its own evolution, which led to its conclusion in 2020 with this last release».
What were the most significant challenges that you faced in this project?
«There were no particular issues, notwithstanding my personal involvement. Quite often the one who comes with an idea or launches a project does not want to see it altered in any way. It is not my case. On the contrary, I encouraged those involved to do not hesitate and go beyond what I had accomplished. If you fall in love too much with what you have achieved, you don’t progress. So, welcome innovation!».
What does it mean to be “innovative”?
«Exactly like I said before, it means to be free, uncoupled from the past. To that verse of De André, you need to lose yourself to embrace change. Not to remain attached to what was achieved in the past and anchored in our “comfort zone”, because then it just turns into a vicious cycle that can be summarised by “this has always been the case”. It is necessary to have a healthy detachment».
What is the first thing to which you associate the term innovation?
«Without a doubt, curiosity».
What is an indispensable instrument for your sector that should be brought into the future?
«More than a physical instrument, I would say it is necessary to have a certain kind of attitude to live your life on a verge of your comfort zone. If we are not willing to adapt to change, we become, from an evolutionary standpoint, more fragile and we risk ending up like Dodos (a type of bird that became extinct in the XVII century due its inability to fly, ndr). Innovation indeed happens anyway, whether we want it or not. We only have a choice – to follow it, or to drive it. ».
A “vintage” object that you would take with you to the future?
«A pencil, because it is an object that, implicitly, makes us aware that we all make mistakes in life. The worst thing, in fact, is not to commit an error, but not to admit it and persist in persevering.».