“Fabbrica Futuro” [Future Factory] by Marco Bentivogli and Diodato Pirone

Fabbrica Futuro

The book

Developing a new narrative in contrast to the prevailing vision in the mass media about factories being like one of the circles out of Dante’s Hell: this is the message from the General Secretary of Fim Cisl, Marco Bentivogli, and the Messaggero journalist, Diodato Pirone in their book “Fabbrica futuro”.

The book is the story of an ethnographic journey through the Italian automobile industry in a phase of profound technological and organisational transformations. The old vertical and authoritarian factory is making way - amidst many difficulties and contradictions – to a horizontal or low hierarchy factory, where human capital have become people. This transformation could not have left the most renowned Italian industrial player untouched. Even in FCA’s factories, ‘verticalism’ and paternalism have now been replaced by widespread responsibility, not out of any gratuitous generosity but rather because of a new industrial culture that needs to rise to the challenge between the social parties regarding worker participation.
However, Italy is still behind the pack culturally. As the mass media continue to churn out stories about a model of factory that no longer exists, politicians are divided into the camp of those who are openly opposed to industry and others who have no knowledge of industry. In this bipolarism far-removed from reality, the challenge becomes that of fitting together like pieces of a jigsaw the many positive experiences to emerge from the real country and which make Italy one of the main global exports of precision mechanics and machinery.

The book by Bentivogli and Pirone is “counter-cultural” and offers a sort of manifesto of a productive Italy, of work and creativity, that stands in contrast to the immutable sides of the country, but it is also a secular exploration of factory work: about how work actually takes place on assembly lines in a modern automotive factory, in its positive aspects and in its contradictions. What emerges from the description by the two authors is a major reduction of exertion that is also translating into an increase in the mental “stress” of 4.0 factory workers, who are required to be much more careful and work with their minds as well as their hands. In these factories we are seeing a collapse in the divisions between manual and intellectual work and new competencies are shifting the duties of workers and “bosses” alike.

“Fabbrica futuro” does not aim to be a point of arrival of an intellectual reflection on work and the post-modern factory that is limited to a small number of enlightened people, but rather the starting point of an ambitious process to bring into factories and real life in order to profoundly change perceptions in a country that has the potential to return to being a major force in the world.

The authors

Marco Bentivogli has been the general secretary of the Italian Federation of Metalworkers Cisl since 2014. He has covered all the main industrial disputes (FCA, Alcoa, Ilva, Whirpool). In 2018 he launched with the-then Minster of Development, Carlo Calenda, the “Industrial Plan for the Italy of Competencies”. In 2016 he signed the innovative National Contract of metalworkers which first established the subjective right of training for all workers. In August 2018, with Massimo Chiriatti, he launched the ‘Blockchain manifesto, Italy’. Since January 2019 he has been a member of the Committee on Artificial Intelligence that was set up with the Ministry of Development. He is the author of “abbiamo rovinato l’Italia?” [have we ruined Italy? (2016) and “Contrordine compagni” [countermand comrades] (2019).

Diodato Pirone, a journalist at “Il Messaggero”, who deals with economics and politics. He has covered the evolution of the main industrial systems, starting from the automotive industry and FCA, and macroeconomic issues, from public accounts to pensions, as well as covering and analysing electoral systems and political consensus. He has always been fascinated with factories and has spent time looking and analysing the evolution of jobs in the manufacturing sector. His various publications include an essay on Sergio Marchionne for the magazine “Il Mulino”.

For me

I heard about this book recently - I can’t remember whether I heard about it on the radio or had seen a review somewhere … I recommended it to my husband, who - as a Piedmont native - is very interested in anything regarding Fiat - what is now FCA. I recommended the book, he bought it, read it and suggested I read it too. So I took advantage of the Christmas holidays to read it. Like the other book I read recently about Sergio Marchionne, by Tommaso Ebhardt, this is a book that - despite its subject matter - is a real page-turner and very interesting. Bear in mind that it is written by a trade unionist, Marco Bentivogli, who would make an excellent politician (I mean that positively), unlike many trade unionists we hear about in the news.

Fiat, or rather FCA, as it is presented in this book, is quite surprising. It is a modern and competitive company on a global scale, in terms of the organisation of its workforce, production and applied technologies. I was quite surprised to hear that frankly and do you know why? Because this book really shows what Marchionne and his boys at Fiat did, not just for the United States or Finance, but for Italy and its workers.
Every chapter, each of which is dedicated to one of the five FCA factories in Italy and to a new aspect of factory work, is fascinating. The workers work well, in clean environments, they eat healthily, and aside from their hands, they also use their brains. In other words, new ideas are advancing thanks to new technologies and new working methods and instead of stealing jobs from workers are actually improving the quantity and quality of these jobs. Read it to believe it.

Thanks Sergio and … thanks Marco!


The professionals at GoodGoing! stay up to date by reading about all sorts of things. This book is particularly useful because it shows that the quality and quantity of work can improve and that industry is still a cornerstone of our economy. At a time where everything seems ephemeral - like fashion, tourism and food - a mainstay like industry should be a source of pride.

About the author
Cristina Gianotti
For more than fifteen years Cristina Gianotti has been working in Coaching - Career, Executive and Business Coaching – supporting managers, professionals and entrepreneurs that are interested in investing in themselves and their own professional development. She comes from a management consulting, management and entrepreneurial background. In 2016 she published her fisrt book "E' facile cambiare lavoro se sai come fare" (It is easy to change job if knowing how) with bookabook. In 2018 the second one "Connecting Dots: il networking questo sconosciuto" (Connetting dots: the unknow professional networking").

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