Commissioner in the mirror

The midfielder role (Ligabue’s “Lele Oriali”) must always be your first inspiration

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Credits: Marc-Olivier Jodoin onUnsplash

When a new Minister is appointed to the Public Administration — or a new General Manager of AgID, or a new Special Commissioner for the Implementation of the Digital Agenda (for the first time, in this case) — many journalists and professionals feel obligated to give suggestions regarding which priorities to follow and how to achieve goals. In this sense, the digitisation of the public sector becomes a much debated subject like the endless discussions on the national football team; digital is everyone’s business, becomes part of daily conversations and thus, turns everybody into something of an expert. And for some, it is the cure-all solution to most of the country’s problems, just like when Italy won the World Cup and all problems seemed to fade into the background, for a while at least.

This is the context in which I have made the decision to anticipate all potential technical Commissioners and write some advice in first person. Sure, maybe it is a little megalomaniacal of me to do so, but at least my thoughts will be immediately clear.


Dear Commissioner,

I still haven’t quite figured out how they could have chosen you to replace the recipient of the Italian Digital Ballon d’Or, but hear me out: do not aim to win the Ballon d’Or yourself. Limit yourself to having, as a maximum target, the midfielder role just like Luciano Ligabue’s “Lele Oriali”, because humility must always be your first inspiration.

You haven’t been called to revolutionize a broken organization, but only to try to give continuity to the technological jewel of the Italian public sector. Therefore, respect the skills that you will find within the Team and you’ll see that everything will become simpler.

Never lose sight of the spirit that has always helped you through the most difficult moments. As Fiorella Mannoia says, “Remember that irony will save your life”. Be yourself, for better or for worse. Your sincerity, which is raw at times, was what many public employees appreciated the most about your way of doing business in these last years. Don’t make proclamations if you are not convinced. If you believe that goal is impossible, say so; never use the phrase, “We will do this or we will do that.” It’s not in your nature. Rather, say, “We will try to do this or we will do our best to try and do that.”

Continue the work of disseminating digital culture in all possible and imaginable ways, without excluding anyone: disabled people, pensioners, public and private employees, the unemployed, university students and those still in grade school. You once said that a country’s progress is also measured by the degree of digitization achieved. Never forget this!

Always try to find the maximum convergence possible regarding the objectives that have been entrusted to you.

Digital is neither right wing nor left wing; it isn’t Real Madrid or Barcelona. Good digital technology is about transparency, efficiency, inclusion, a fight against corruption. It is better health, better schools, better jobs, and above all, a better future.

Never stop looking at the full scope of what you are asked to automate. If it is buggy, the software will be buggy. Digital is not a panacea for solving all problems. Always call attention to what clearly doesn’t work.

You left a role you loved and people you deeply respected, to whom you were very attached: this has costed you a lot. Always remember that it is mainly thanks to these people, some of whom are no longer here, that you have been chosen. Stay in close contact with them and focus on playing a team game.

Credits: Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

Nevertheless, if at some point you come to the understanding that you are not up to the new role or that you don’t have the tools to make it work, have the courage to pass it on to the next person.

The Team’s mission is to try to simplify the life of citizens, never forget this.

Make sure that ethics are always what guides you and lastly… remember to always validate your bus tickets!

Good luck!

Luca Attias


In his first call for talent, my predecessor, Diego Piacentini, wrote:

We are looking for real “missionaries” who will have the opportunity to contribute to the mission by acting as “flywheels of innovation” for the country.

Now we are looking for more missionaries to continue this work.

The open positions for becoming part of the Digital Transformation Team are as follows:

Chief Data Product Manager

Cybersecurity

Mobile/App Development

Open Source Project Leader

Service Designer

Site Reliability Engineer/DevOps Engineer

Software Developers

Technical Program Manager