Video: Jeffrey Schnapp of Piaggio Fast Forward on Bringing Two Engineering Cultures Together

By Kaitlin Milliken, Staff Writer

Piaggio Group, the manufacturer of scooters and motorcycles, is headquartered in Pontedera, Italy. Its relatively-new innovation center, Piaggio Fast Forward, is located in an industrial neighborhood just north of downtown Boston.

“One of the roles that Piaggio Fast Forward plays within the company,” explains Jeffrey Schnapp, the CEO of Piaggio Fast Forward, “is to bring engineering staff from the Piaggio Group to Boston, to our facilities, to get them involved in [our] projects, which go beyond traditional or conventional approaches to light transportation — motorcycles, scooters, small trucks. They involve robotics, machine intelligence, artificial intelligence. For these engineers, its a whole new realm of experience, but it’s also a whole new model of how you work. The scale is different, the rules of engagement are different. They go back to the parent company and bring a little bit of the spirit, the virus, that we try to infect them with.” Engineers based in Italy also bring their “wealth of experience” to help Piaggio Fast Forward’s team tackle tough challenges.

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