Gang

MaurizioMaurizio Travaglini

My role is to create a physical, social and intellectual space that allows people to do their best work, while learning more about their ‘best self.’

I play this role as a consultant, as I lead my team in designing, producing, facilitating, and documenting collaborative co-design experiences for 50 to 150 people whose organization or community is facing challenges at the crossroads of strategy, leadership, innovation, and change. I have designed and facilitated over 200 of these Labs in more than 30 countries, across 5 continents, helping all kinds of teams address a variety of strategic, complex and wicked problems. These Labs take place in a space designed to enhance collaboration, where participants work together full time for three to five days. These full immersions yield three main outcomes: 1. a solution, and/or a new concept, and/or a set of experiments that represent a new possibility for the organization; 2. a new connection between the participants, who learn to work together in a far more productive manner; and 3. individual development in areas that impact a person’s leadership and his/her capacity to innovate and lead for innovation.

In 2003 I founded Architects Of Group Genius in Milan as the vehicle through which I deliver this work. My team is made up of 10 full-time staff, plus a network of 15 professionals across Europe and the U.S. Over the past 13 years, we have worked for the CEOs, Board Members and Executives of some of the most admired organizations in the world, including Acumen, Art Basel, Audi, The Bridgespan Group, Ferrero, Fiat-Chrysler, General Electric, Harvard Business School, Harvard Innovation Lab, Independent Sector, London Business School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Media Development Investment Fund, OECD, Shepley Bulfinch, Telia Sonera, UniCredit, Unilever, Volkswagen Group, and the World Economic Forum.

From 2014 to 2017, I have taught in the Executive Education Department of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), as the Academic Lead of the Leadership and Design Thinking Program and the IndyProject Program (the latter is part of the GSD’s Advanced Management Development Program). Since 2015, I have served as Adjunct Professor of Leadership and Innovation in the Executive DBA Program of the École des Ponts Business School in Paris.

In 2016 I participated as a Forum Fellow at the Davos Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.

I am the co-author of Unlocking the Slices of Genius in Your Organization, part of the Harvard Business School centennial publication Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice (2010); my co-authors for this publication are Professor Linda Hill (Harvard Business School), Greg Brandeau (CIO of PIXAR Animation Studios), and Emily Stecker (MIT).

Before founding Architects of Group Genius, I spent 15 years working abroad in Paris, Brussels, Madrid, London, Geneva, and Montreal. During these years I served as Director of the World Economic Forum Davos Annual Meeting Program, and spent over a decade in management and consulting roles at Nokia, J.P. Morgan, and Accenture. I hold a degree in Economics and Business Management from Bocconi University in Milan, and I am fluent in Italian, English, Spanish, and French. I am a yoga practitioner, the finisher of two Ironman races, and I have completed “The End of the World Marathon” in Antarctica.

 

Andrea Ghisalberti

To me, providing a tangible shape to a new venture means combining beauty and content, order and evolution. This is where I find meaning, and this is what I do.

I love to start from the beginning: the first trip, the first meeting with the sponsor team, the first visit to a possible venue for the Laboratory, and the early difficulties. Ideal conditions for a project are unlikely to exist: I’ve learned not to consider limits and obstacles as a problem, but as the unique available opportunity to let a project grow. Taking some risks.

The moment we gather 50 (or 800) people in a room is the peak of a process which started way earlier. Creating a Laboratory is often a job that is discreet and hardly visible, though necessary in every single specific aspect to create that intellectual, social, physical and digital space that allows participants to experiment in an unconventional way, within a safe and inclusive environment.

Often, I lead the production of a project from its early stage, following the organizational, managerial, financial, operational and logistical details with a healthy sense of obsession. These aspects are always essential for the facilitation team to start building the right space, different every time, that will meet the participants’ needs and the purpose of the project.

Together with the team, I commit myself to make a harmonious relationship between structure, process, aesthetics, dynamics, and content emerge, from the first stage of the communication process until the content’s final reprocessing.

Through conversations and exchanges with the team members, I contribute to designing the laboratories’ activities, which are the outcome of a collective thinking developed thanks to the sum of our differences.

By co-facilitating the working groups during the Laboratory, I am able to better perceive what difficulties and challenges the participants are tackling, and therefore to better coordinate the facilitation team in its efficiency and, in some way, ‘’elegance’’ in its availability to serve them. This awareness also allows me to do what I feel is the right use of other facilitation tools, such as music and images.

I am Senior Consultant for Architects of Group Genius. Since 2006, I produced, co-designed and co-facilitated more than 100 laboratories in 15 different countries over 5 continents, 6 languages and many more cultures.

I hold a Degree in Economics and Business Administration. Since the first university years I aspired to deepen my knowledge of the greatest modern revolution we are living through—the digital one—and around this exploration I took the first steps of my profession, before landing in Architects.
I love to observe the details, even the less obvious, within the social processes, I keep traveling, and I try to always remain a little uncomfortable.

 

Barbara Fabris

Unveiling to everyone what not everyone can see.
With this sentence I can define the essence of my practice, of what I do. Someone could say it is a creative practice, but I actually believe it’s a mix of imagination and pragmatism, a synthesis.

Graphic design is the ideal means of expression for me. It is my favorite environment, satisfying, inspirational, fascinating. Graphic design is unselfish, it is a new way to explain things and ideas, and to make everyone understand them better. This is the aspect of it that I prefer, in addition to its artistic and aesthetic sides. I make things look different, I modify their elements until they achieve their best level of expression, taking people to places otherwise accessible to only few through imagination.

I landed in Architects of Group Genius in May 2016. Here I found a place where I can combine my different-complementary capabilities; here I can use my skills to help things reach their perfect shape and their right position; here I have the possibility to apply graphic design to different domains. For instance I can help to elaborate a concept or prepare the space to host someone else’s work, I can create something new – a book, a sculpture, a web layout – or I can fix something broken. To shape things in a different way, sometimes it is necessary to add something, but most of the time it is inevitable to remove what’s superfluous, and often my role consists in knowing what needs to be removed.

Before Architects, I did different work experiences between Rome, Venice and Milan, in graphic design studios where I had the opportunity to work on different kinds of projects in the editorial, web design and brand identity domains.
In 2013, I got a degree in Industrial Design in my home town Venice, which gave me a particular sensibility for decadent beauty. Thanks to my thesis’ subject, an awareness campaign about teenage food disorders, I developed a specific attention for the people I want to communicate with.

I love images and Japanese literature, I nurture an unusual fascination for whales. I am an amateur watercolorist.

 

Chiara Ghidelli

I am an Architect Of Groups Genius since 2006, when this organization was only three years old.
As a Senior Designer, my role is to imagine, design, organize and manage collaborative experiences focused on development and learning processes, and aimed at helping people to co-create new meaning for themselves and new solutions for their own world(s).

Within individuals and situations precious possibilities are hidden, which too often remain unexplored and unexpressed: my effort is about creating the context to nurture their awakening, and helping people to find the courage to bring them to life and put them to work. I try to create and hold the space for authentic conversations and deep work – inviting people to frame their true challenges together, rumble with them, imagine a different world from the one they know, and finally co-design solutions to (re)build it anew.

My practice is about observing, interpreting, and facilitating the evolution of these social, intellectual and emotional spaces within individuals and small working groups – as I believe that these are the units of change for an organization and (why not?) the world. I do it by creating/writing narratives and co-designing/co-facilitating processes that invite people to move across the thin line lying between the understanding of the existing context and the glimpse of a possibility for transformation.

During our Labs, my role is to design, accompany and facilitate the participants’ work process. I also coordinate the facilitation team’s efforts in order to multiply the impact of the participants’ work. I’m fond of the documentation phase after a Lab, because it allows me and the team to reframe its story in all its complexities – so that it resonates with participants, allows them (and us as well) to give new sense and meaning to their experience, and augments its impact. (Here are some examples of these work-products.)

With the same care and passion, I am involved in the individual development and collective coordination of our collaborators and team(s). Along these years, I have been working to discover my own and others’ “slice of genius,” to refine its expression in new and more evolved ways, to support the never-ending enquiry towards a more authentic version of myself, and to accompany others in this complex – sometimes terrifying, sometimes exciting – path of discovery and growth.

Before Architects I worked as an editor for some years in a small publishing company, where I was in charge of the relationships with authors, writing and editing every sort of texts, and translating from English and French to Italian. At the end of my Classics studies, my thesis in Anthropology of Ancient Greece represented my first attempt to observe and interpret the evolution of a society through the narrative lens.

My life outside Architects is full of books of all types, because I deeply believe that “stories have the power to change the world.” My wardrobe is a rainbow of multiple shades of black and sharply colored sneakers.

I love the precision of the right written word and graphical element to accurately express and strengthen an idea.

 

Giordana Vilardi

I joined Architects in 2015.
With my colleagues, I share the same desire to be a positive influence on others’ lives, to change or improve the perception of their own selves, to help them develop their talent(s) in a non-conforming and non-uniform way.

My practice unfolds around three concepts: “observation,” “understanding,” “interpretation.” During the Labs, I carefully observe the participants’ different moods, the dynamics, and the relationships they weave together. I seek to understand the reasons beyond their actions and words, and then I try to interpret this understandings and use it when we co-design, set up, and write down the flow of activities.

During the post-production phase, I express my (re)creative side by reframing the outcomes and by integrating new elements into the unfolding narrative to form its wholeness: words, images, and sometimes also music.

From my philosophical and historicist background I cherish and try to constantly nurture the capability for abstraction, for connecting the specific to the universal and vice versa. My intention is to offer a theoretical basis to a practice, continuously moving from one to the other and extending their meanings.

I studied Philosophy in Naples, the city which gave me birth and raised me, and to which I owe my redeeming irony and a particular sense of survival: a kind of optimism made of confidence and will.

Before landing in Architects I worked for an independent publishing house as editor and press officer: I have always loved books and their capacity to foster conversations and create invisible communities of individuals who have something in common — their own humanity.

I love drinking coffee while looking through the window, I love panoramas, and the sea, more than anything else.
I always save the best bite for last.

 

Giulia Ricci

I joined Architects Of Group Genius in 2011. The core of my practice can be defined as the research of the adjacent possible* a space for novelty that the people and the organizations we work with engage in exploring and mastering, one step at a time. I believe that in order to explore this often mysterious –but vital– space in the life of every individual, organization, and community, it is necessary to deeply understand its inner meaning, moving along its boundaries and imagining all the possible ways in which the present can reinvent itself. At the same time, a process of concrete experimentation is needed, which consists in moulding –almost by hand– the matter that will be created-shaped-developed.

This is the space that I feel is the most interesting to explore and work in.

Whatever the outcome our Labs  aim to achieve — the creation of a new product, the definition of a new strategy, the approach to a new way of working together, the emergence of a new professional path — through my work I try to stimulate participants to imagine and explore their own adjacent possible. During the entire Lab process, my research, writing, and reframing efforts allow me to transform the content into thought-provoking sources of inspiration for the work-growth-learning-change-creation experience participants are immersed in. My work combines concepts, models, theories, images, numbers, and words. Using all these components, I try to facilitate the emergence of new scenarios and possibilities… whose exploration and understanding are vital to later choose what to focus on and experiment with.

I have taken part in the design and production of more than 40 Laboratories for different organizations and communities, such as OECD, Volkswagen Group and General Electric. I am particularly interested in –and focus my efforts on– our working sessions dedicated to learning and individual development, as the Leading For Innovation Lab, the academic programs at Harvard Graduate School of Design, the IndyProject Program, and the Leadership and Design Thinking Program.

I hold a Degree in Economics and Social Science from Milan’s Bocconi University.
I love to observe the reality through the lenses of a camera and to spend as much meaningful time as I can with my children.

*The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself. The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them. Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations.

 

Mario Marseglia

Since May 2016 I am in charge of finances and operations for Architects of Group Genius.

Our projects sometimes require our presence in many different places around the world over a very short period of time (and even simultaneously), with teams made up of collaborators from different continents, often managing extremely complex activities to carry out within tight deadlines. 
This is why it is essential that one of us work not “from within” but “on” the Laboratories. Someone that makes sure that all aspects which are not directly linked to content flow in the best possible way – for the team to be able to focus exclusively on the work, confident that “the machine” is under control. 
It is with this intention that I perform my role in Architects.

Precisely because we are a team: everyone brings their own contribution and plays their own part within the whole.

I was always fascinated by the order, perfection and truthful character of numbers. This is how I was conquered by all that is financial planning, management, programming, and control, within businesses. On the other hand, my objective has always been to be able to consider the people I work with, and be considered, trustworthy. That’s where my natural tendency to treasure human relationships comes from.

In other words, I love to transmit confidence and empathy, precision and reliability at once. In Architects I have found a space where I can fully express these qualities precisely because of the particular way we manage our activities: we are immersed in a perpetual lab where exchange and feedback, sharing, interactions and dialogue are indispensable components of the work.

Before landing in Architects I was in charge of trade and business development for an organization representing entrepreneurs (Confartigianato), I worked for the most important franchising network in the service industry (Mail Boxes Etc.), I developed a new clients network for a cosmetics and pharmaceutical company (Alès Group), and I managed networks for direct and indirect sales in the consumer goods and real estate markets. 
Finally, I took part in the launch of a startup offering endurance sports products and services to companies and individuals (almostthere.eu).

During my free time (not much…) I practice endurance sports, which I am passionate about: I am an amateur runner and triathlete, and I have crossed the finish line of many dozens of races over –almost– all distances.

All other members of our GANG will be online soon