Adriano Olivetti: Life of an innovator

Adriano Olivetti: Life of an innovator

A shroud and halo of myth surrounds the figure of Adriano Olivetti.

He was one of  the most prominent figures in the Italian cultural and industrial panorama, the one reserved for the stories of excellence.

An entrepreneur, a man of culture, patron, politician, social reformist, and innovator that saw the future and transformed his ideals into reality.

Olivetti introduced new organizational methods and humanistic idealism fueled his entrepreneurial life, by implementing dramatic changes in Italian business and in industrial relations.

But what makes him an icon to follow and admire still today?

Read our blog below to find out, then!

Who was Adriano Olivetti?

Born in 1901, Adriano Olivetti was a hard-working and curious student. He started off in the typewriters factory owned by his father.

After travelling the United States, he adopted and implemented new ideas in the management of the family business.

His only scope was the modernization of production and the manufacturing of innovative products.

You should not think that he wanted to implement these changes for the sake of profit only, however.

Olivetti’s managerial push was to create products tailored for a changing society, that of Italy in the 1950s.

Indeed, the Italian economic boom of those years required structural changes in the architectural structural of industries.

Applying those changes meant to catch up with broader societal transformations such as consumerism and technological advancement.

Historians agree that his business model favored the adaptation of the Italian industrial system for peacetime needs.

But how this period impacted the operativity of the Olivetti business?

Years of economic expansion consacreted the Olivetti company as a true and innovative technological brand both in Italy and abroad.

The Olivetti then produced the machine Lexikon 80, the calculator Divisumma 24, and the well-known portable typewriter Lettera 22.

Entrepeneurial and industrial successes were not the only focus of Adriano Olivetti, however.

Intellectual activity and the study of politics and society and its applications characterized Olivetti at the time.

His Innovative stance

First and foremost, Adriano Olivetti was the pioneer of the open space store.

In 1954, he contacted architects and designers Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti, and Ernesto Rogers. He commissioned them a store at the 584 of the Fifth Avenue, New York.

However, he dictated that what he wanted was not just a store. He wanted an architectural space made of vision, intuition, and design.

Beauty and technology merged together in this project, then.

He did not live long enough to witness one of Olivetti international successes the P-101 the first desktop computer. You can read our dedicated blog on it here.

Conclusion: Adriano Olivetti

Adriano Olivetti had a sparkling personality that did not wish just to produce technology, but also shaping the future

Olivetti suddenly died travelling on train in 1960. His legacy is his company which left behind.

Today Olivetti employs hundreds and is a abroad-orientated and international business.

Adriano leaves behind a certain idea of culture and progress – both industrial and social.

What we could learn from this story?

What chracterized most his entrepenueal life was a passion and a desire for knowledge. He focused mostly on bettering products to meet the needs of people.

Finally, you could read more about his story at the website of the Adriano Olivetti Foundation here.

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