Ascanio Colonna di Paliano

Ascanio Colonna di Paliano

On a sabbatical

Rome, Italy

An Industrial Designer with experience across digital and automotive product development. A disruptor, always colliding with bureaucrats, fighting to liberate the untapped potential I see around me. Obsessed with Human Factors.

@ascaniocolonna LinkedIn


Recovering workaholic, I took a sabbatical after reaching the unsustainable momentum of working 15 hour days 7 days a week as a design manager for a Chinese car manufacturer.
I realised, only once I broke free, that my habit was driven by my desire to fix the companies I was working for, to liberate the potential of individuals and teams around me. My problem has been that no matter how much I climbed the ladder, I couldn't effect a wide-enough impact.
Don't get me wrong, I was the worst head ache of departments such as HR, ICT, Security, Project Management, Design and Engineering at an international scale, because I always pushed to disrupt the ( obsolete ) way things were done.
As a car designer I grew into leadership quite naturally: in the early stages a car designer ( or stylist ) is required to lead, influence others ( namely 3D virtual modellers and clay sculptors ) in a paradoxical paradigm of accountability over the work of peers. When I eventually graduated into higher positions of responsibility, I quickly realised how little does formal authority impact the business, and how much letting go of control, trusting and nurturing people does.
My business, leading teams across Italian and Chinese car manufacturers, has always been about people first. In plain conflict with how the organisations were setup. I observed how every aspect of organisations, and the industry, has become dysfunctional and cultivated ideas on how to change it.
I now know what is my purpose in life: to give my contribution to the catharsis of the large enterprise, unleashing the unfathomable potential of collective intelligence when a common purpose and consciousness bring people together.

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