I have known Ennio Armato, Branch Manager of IFF, for over 10 years. 

When he first talked me through his webinar project about the narration of the perception of the COVID phase 1 and asked me if I wanted to join in, I did not have a shadow of a doubt.


Aided by his team gifted with outstanding professional skills and human depth, Ennio conducted a study in 5 European Countries and the US to take stock of people’s experiences, fears and hopes.


According to Talent-Up’s vision, epitomized by the strategic model, it all begins with people and active listening. The aim is to foster awareness, empowerment and to positively impact both personal and organization’s performance and well-being with the aid of one-of-a-kind synergies encompassing techniques, tools, and skills.


How could I ever have let go of this cross-cultural opportunity to read the social evolution of changes, expectations, language…through the lens of the innovative approach to research promoted by IFF?

And so here am I after the webinar to talk you through techniques which seamlessly fit into the liquidity of the present times, the study learnings, the hazards and opportunities to ride, which the findings and verbal feedbacks collected shed light on. 

 And since we are talking about research innovation, I would like to give the floor to Ennio. What type of questions did you administer? What innovation tools did you use? 


We have been living at a time in history when conducting research is no easy task: just think about the difference between running in-depth interviews face to face or Focus Groups complying with social distancing!

Technology has implemented new interaction modes which are being used more and more often of late. We have decided to tap into them, starting from the Social Media.

Our listening solution (other than a mere data collection, for it allows real-time interaction!) is called Cube Survey and can reach out to people all over the world through simple posts.

To the aim of the study, we addressed the 5 leading European Countries and the US by administering two open-ended questions and one close-ended question meant to gauge the degree of future “optimism”.


Ennio, I would like to take advantage of the presence of Alessandro Imborgia, Business Development Manager at IFF, to further explore Cube Survey. Alessandro, would you mind telling us how it all works? 


Cube Survey makes the impossible possible: with the aid of sponsored posts we succeed in intercepting targets who are usually hard to get in the panels. And thanks to the usership who share with people having similar characteristics and/or interests, recruitment proves even more effective.  

The design of the posts is the result of mindful research and study activities, from the image used to the call to action: everything must work consistently and synergistically so that the (right) target feels engaged to interact. 

As to the survey “Quarantine Voices” we have used the image of Decathlon mask!Decathlon mask

May I publish a short excerpt of the webinar I attended as speaker? I think it provides a great opportunity to listen live to what you did, how you did it and, why not, to have a look at a few figures too!

I invite the readership to save 5 minutes and to enjoy the video clip (in English, due to the international scope of the survey and webinar).

And now let us come to the study findings. 

 What is Talent Up’s takeout of the research findings?

 We decided we would take a qualitative approach with a mind to highlighting the core.

The Big Picture.

And be the pioneers for the other players involved in IFF’s digital marathon, so that they could focus on figures breakdown, cultural differences, and investigations.

What information have we sourced?

  • 70% of the respondents claim to have identified at least one like during the lockdown!

What does it mean? That we are naturally gifted with the ability to transform problems into opportunities; that we can broaden our perspectives and see beyond.



Despite the cultural differences in place, as human beings we share a few similarities:

  1. For instance, the need to find our own center, our own balance. The accord with the context we live in, the environment we work in.
  2. The adoption of a nature-friendly working pace and method: namely our human nature and the nature hosting us, the nature we are immersed into. Keeping in mind that the energy available is always the same and, unless it is replenished, it will inevitably use up!
  3. The work-life balance might no longer be an issue: working contexts where individuals can express themselves, manage time (for instance by supplementing remote working with digital tools to cope with distances), are recognized as an integral part of life and gratification.

Nobody likes to feel shackled. Nobody likes to feel their freedom is being restrained when they perceive, even in the least, this is the result of arbitrary or questionable choices. Drastic measures, the failure to find responses, muddled communication, unfulfilled promises, the use of conditional verbs and broad smiles going hand in hand with catchphrases and poorly used PNL hint at dictatorship. They trigger off discontent and show a potential lack of respect even of regulations enforced for the greater good.


So what?



  • Strengthen yourselves and the people who are the throbbing heart of your teams and companies! Start from actively and genuinely listening because that is where you will spot the opportunities and, based on these very foundations, you will be able to build cohesion and engagement, two must-have requirements for the sake of performance and well-being!
  • Have your companies and households adopt models acknowledging the worth of every single person, empower them to grow, develop and express themselves. Allow for the necessary time, get rid of redundancy, implement tools and connection/interaction modes keeping pace with modern times, while having them coexist with face-to-face relationships. Promote integration. Develop an inclusive, open-minded perspective vs. an exclusive, micromanagement approach: it is no longer time for bossism and judgment. It is no longer effective and may be even detrimental.
  • Adopt a clear, straightforward communication; share the purpose, the motivations. If we understand the reason why, we can embrace any request, even the restriction on our freedom. But if we are not told the reason why we feel we are making trade-offs or driving even only minor changes in our routine, we will shy away.




12% hold the view that sociability will be impacted for the worse.

Do they fear perhaps “the others” are not going to comply with the rules and a new lockdown is going to be back, thus triggering off aggressive phenomena? Or do they worry that their health, if not even their life, might be at jeopardy? Do they fear embracing one another will no longer feel the way it used to?


Choosing what relations will be like is up to us. Each one of us.  

I have never endorsed the slogan “Everything will turn out for the best”. Instead I believe “we can determine the turn things will take”. Based on our commitment, courage, civic-mindedness, and, where possible, sphere of influence. 

We have got the opportunity to redesign relational and cultural models with a view to shaping a new life outlook and prosperity for our children and ourselves.


Seize the moment.   


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For further information or queries, do not hesitate to contact us at barbara@talent-up.it


The mission of Talent Up sits in recognizing, giving voice, empowering talents while helping them stand out. Be they personal or in the framework of an organization. With a mind to generating well-being and performance. Nurturing and helping them flourish.

We avail ourselves of coaching, emotional intelligence, artificial intelligence, managerial consulting tools and creativity.

We cover a comprehensive journey, from the initial listening stage to mapping the T0, defining/optimizing vision, mission, and strategy all the way down to implementing action plans, training, and empowerment.

The tools we rely on help us measure the impact choices have on performance and the results evolution.