• Strategic collaboration in the areas of the circular economy, open innovation, cybersecurity and neuroscience applied to the management and development of human resources
  • Cisco’s technology, the financial instruments of Intesa Sanpaolo and the expertise of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center to support the country’s growth


Milan/Turin, 23 September 2020Cisco, world leader in network technologies, Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s leading bank and one of the top banks in Europe, and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group company dedicated to cutting-edge innovation, have signed an agreement to develop projects focused on sustainability, digitisation, innovation and human resources management.

The Memorandum of Understanding strengthens a relationship in place since 2016 and includes a strategic collaboration in areas such as the circular economy, open innovation, cybersecurity and applied neuroscience, with the aim of jointly implementing initiatives and services that help Italian companies adopt innovative processes to give new impetus to the country’s growth.

An alliance for the circular economy

Regarding the circular economy, Cisco is committed to providing the enabling technology, Intesa Sanpaolo, through Banca dei Territori and the IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division provides access to the 2018-2021 circular economy fund – which provides up to 5 billion euro to companies transitioning to new circular business models – and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center provides its expertise through the Circular Economy Lab, established in Milan in collaboration with Cariplo Factory.

By adopting digital technologies, companies will more easily focus the development of their business on the principles of the circular economy which encourage recycling, recirculation and reuse of goods and raw materials. In this regard, Cisco offers Cisco Connected Goods, a model that leverages connectivity, data analysis and software dedicated to tracking the life cycle of a product from the manufacturer to the end customer, allowing them to understand a product’s history and sustainability characteristics, right through to the parties who can give the product a “second life”, enabling them to salvage it, reprocess the materials and reintroduce them to the market.

Bringing together open innovation ecosystems  

As for open innovation, the MoU between the two Groups includes a series of wide-ranging collaborations, the most important of which is represented by Cisco‘s participation, together with FCA and Iren, in the Smart Mobility Corporate Club – an initiative launched last August by Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center in Turin – which aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the area of smart mobility by also leveraging the international startup acceleration programme led by Techstars. Club members benefit from bespoke services, priority access to technological experiments with Techstars startups, technological consultancy and scouting for Italian and foreign startups through the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center network.

Synergies for secure growth

In the area of cybersecurity, the aim of the agreement is to share expertise to mutually create innovative services benefiting the two Groups and the market, and to support the sharing of expertise on cybersecurity through workshops and other dedicated events to be organised with the support of the Chief IT, Digital and Innovation Officer Governance Area of Intesa Sanpaolo and the Artificial Intelligence Lab of the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, established in Turin together with the ISI Foundation.

Empowering people through neuroscience

The last aspect of the agreement concerns the use of neuroscience in the field of human resourcesCisco has developed a “fluid” staff mapping system that allows expertise to be leveraged and activities and projects carried out to be optimised. Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, through its Neuro Science Lab created in collaboration with the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, is involved in numerous studies and projects focusing on human resources, learning and marketing. The two companies aim to pool their expertise and experience to develop new services for companies, particularly regarding smart working.

Through this agreement, the best technological, financial and educational resources are being mobilised to support the growth of the country and its businesses, linking it with efforts to promote circular economy models that make pursuing growth and sustainability possible” – commented Agostino Santoni, CEO of Cisco Italia. “We combine our strengths and the innovation ecosystems that we collaborate with to expand a partnership that has been uniting us for a long time. Together we can make a significant contribution to the global competitiveness of Italian companies, reaching out to them locally thanks to the strength and widespread presence of Intesa Sanpaolo. We will be able to offer them all that technology has to offer as part of our commitment to the digitisation of the country.”

“The strategic partnership with Cisco strengthens the innovation activities of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group and provides us with additional tools to support Italian companies in several areas that are extremely important for their competitiveness such as the transition to a new circular economic model, dialogue with startups, digital data protection and protection from cyber-attacks, as well as, the introduction of neuroscience to manage and enhance the efforts of the most valuable resource, human capital” – stated Guido de Vecchi, General Manager Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center.