IGStories | 8/2/19
DigitalRoom4: The space where the generational gap disappears

Innovazione Rete
« When I first started, in 1982, a working environment like the Digital Factory was unthinkable », Enrico Varese has been working in Turin for Italgas for over 35 years in the regulatory area and has an experience in the company which is strictly linked with a lifetime of memories.


At the time the most advanced tool we had was a “Texas Instrument” calculator and some punched cards. Skills and the company’s know-how were absorbed by osmosis, and observation and listening of the experienced colleagues were the guidance


With Enrico there is Carlo Cirigliano 33, a young chemical engineer, and together they are re-writing the rules of the transfer of knowledge in Italgas to ensure that the heritage of company’s know-how is acquired also by the younger generation.

Together in the DigitalRoom 4, they were part of the team that had as primary goal this ambitious project and to create an environment and a method for knowledge-sharing, in which also technology had a key role.

« It is true that the job of a gas distributor is mainly the same, but this doesn’t mean that the company has to be the same as 100 years ago.», Carlo explains.

Each room in the Digital Factory follows a project which comes to life thanks to the collaboration of 20 people (it could also arrive up to 40). The main goal is to create a new way of working, to face problems and to find new solutions. The physical environment welcomes sharing, the common work and the focus on a common goal.

You can easily find hanging diagrams on the glass walls, post it, photos, notes: everything represents vividly the confrontation and the team reflections.



« The younger colleagues takes notes on iPad, I do it on paper- Enrico smiles but wants to underline- they are really prepared, they have a vision of the future and an approach that I would like to define proactive ».

Room 4 has created a sort of professional pass of the torch, and Carlo says how important was the relationship with the more experienced colleague «Enrico is an important figure, a person from whom I learned many operative and regulatory information, but also on how to handle relationships, how to behave in different situations with different people. These are not things that they tell you, they are things that you understand, live».

Enrico talks with professionalism, equilibrium and calm in his suit; Carlo with his white shirt and his warm and joyful smile brings energy through his words, his eyes and his gestures. From this mix of experience and the bond of innovation and passion for the technology, new determinant results surfaced, both for the results of the project and for the professional relationships.


The Digital Factory’s environment gave a physical dimension to the working team, As Carlo is convinced that « The environment favours the possibility to interact with other people and increases the involvement of colleagues. While sharing there isn’t individualism: in the Digital Factory the concept of team is taken to the extreme. ». Not only, «also the glass walls represent an invitation for the participation of other colleagues ».

The augmented reality glasses, studied for Room’s 4 project, are the practical example, a generational handover tool, the concrete example of knowledge transfer.

They allow to have a field technician who works while connected with the controlling room which follows her/him remotely, so that the younger workers learn from the expert technician directly on the field.


«If I think about that when I started there even were computers and now I am participating at the introduction of the augmented reality I see the leap that Italgas made. We became really an innovative and international reality.», looks back Enrico, but without nostalgia, but with realism, and adds: « the iron part, if I might define it like that, seems to have changed less, but we have introduced new materials, new technologies also from abroad. Now we will try to be less blind on the facilities. The glasses represent perfectly this change ».


«What really matters in the Digital Factory is the focus- explains Enrico - the determination to reach a goal with a different working methodology in which we were helped by many consultant that followed us through the whole path ».

What strikes of the two is that they both have sports watch: Enrico uses it to bike on the hills around Turin, Carlo to run. The sportive metaphor comes naturally for the collective team effort, to reach a common goal.

In the metaphor we have also that the age difference explains different approaches. « When I was younger I loved the downhill- says Enrico-now I think about the climb, the resistance, to arrive until the end. »

Every morning in the Digital Factory the day starts with a «stand up meeting – explains Carlo - it’s a sort of a ritual in which every participant gather while standing in a circle and it helps to see the current situation. The Room’s work it’s not always carried out altogether and following the same subject, so this meeting is where all the activities come together».


Sharing is not just a job, these spaces were re-invented in a transversally view to cut the distances «There are some moments playing table football when the generational gap disappears» says Carlo.

«This environment has the merit to have brought to light and to have valued the meeting between competences, which is part of a bigger process. Italgas is now facing an important moment of staff renovation, many of the operatives will retire in the next years and there is a great need to facilitate as much possible the interaction, the exchange and the knowledge transfer. »





Teaming up is not just a cliché for the company. Enrico talks about Italgas of 30 years ago «People hung out together on Saturdays to have a barbecue, we met with all the families and spent time together ». Nowadays the working environment changed, but there is still a sharing of skills and passions and the spirit is the same as in the past, even according to Carlo: «I met a group of very cooperative and enthusiastic people; it is said that dragging the group is the business owner but often the opposite is true: it is the group that drags ».

Enrico and Carlo are sure that being protagonists of the change which will bring an improvement in life, in the job and in relationships is a beautiful experience that brings satisfaction and pride to be a part of a company like Italgas.


The Digital Factory is a factory for ideas and innovative solutions which supports Italgas in its process of digital transformation. It was born to create the perfect environment in which to experiment the ‘‘learn by doing’’, a real permanent laboratory.

In Milan’s offices four digital rooms were created: in each of them works multifunctional teams which have the job of creating new ICT solutions and new working processes in an established period of 16 weeks.

ultimo aggiornamento 15 June 2020 02:46 UTC