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RECEPTION 2.0 2560 2113 Spii

 “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” (Oscar Wilde)

We have decided to give our company a new face!

We started from the place where hospitality originates and which represents our business card: the reception.

This area represents an image of the team, the cleanliness of the spaces, the services offered and the care we have towards our guests.

A good experience starts from the first second a person enters our work environment, until the moment they leave it, and we already begin to offer the best possible experience.

It is therefore about our image, the vision and the mission that we convey.

We felt it was our duty to give our reception an image that reflects us, both in terms of appearance and hospitality.

As soon as you walk through the doors of our company, our philosophy of thought is clearly visible: “Think different” – a message that invites you to think outside the box to be projected into the future in search of innovative and unconventional ideas.

Continuing towards the entrance, on the ceiling you can see a black symbol, which tells the story of a journey and expresses the soul of our company.

The symbol is oriented towards the people represented on the bottom of the wall and shapes the segment of a track in a central perspective: imagine you are driving a train observing the two parallel lines that converge to infinity.

And here we are. Projected towards a road to go and a goal to reach …. together!

Our Vision sees the human being at the center of an automated and robotic future world.

Creating the best conditions for interaction between humans and machine, through technology, style and ergonomics is our Mission.

The source of inspiration are people, their desire to grow and learn with enthusiasm and passion, their proactive contribution to create a place where creativity, skills and different cultures can coexist.

People represent the origin of technological change.

SPII technology is designed to be at the service of people, evolving while respecting the environment, thus ensuring a unique value.

This image also represents our Community: a space designed to inspire new ideas, share technologies and experiences, among people from all over the world.

During the stay at our company, the first moments of contact are relevant.

The welcome will be given by the smile of our receptionists, who will take care of creating a welcoming and warm atmosphere upon entering the company.

During the short moments of waiting, you can sit in our relaxation room and have a coffee or a glass of water offered by our staff.

Inside the room, a display with a video shows our company reality: who we are, what we do and how we do it.

We started by giving our reception a new look, but there are still a lot of projects in the pipeline and we can’t wait to show you our next changes!

Stay tuned!

WhereverWeCan – wherever inspiration lies, with passion, curiosity and courage.

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli

Innovation and the power of a train drivers’ community

Innovation and the power of a train drivers’ community 1024 576 Spii

We ended our latest technical article on “How to include train drivers in the design process” with a rather open question: how can you overcome all the problems and obstacles that obstruct the way towards a true User Centered Design (UCD) of train desks?

How can you really involve train drivers, the actual users, in the design process, overcoming the limits given by time, space and limited resources?

If you remember, though, we also gave you a peak into our answers: we need to make good use of the last and most evolved digital innovations.

This can be done in two ways: one is creating new innovative solutions, and it’s the direction we are working on with ItalDesign and our incredible V-Desk.

The other one is leveraging on the existing solutions, bending them to our needs towards a “social innovation”.

Today I want to tell you more about this second kind.

It all starts with a question

We started from traditional driver desks, from a console that identified us as a manufacturer of train parts.
In time, we raised our mission to man-machine interfaces that adapt to everything, a new kind of ergonomic products that opened up new scenarios: everything became possible.

A new question popped out in our heads: “what if…?”.

We understood it was not just about updating our main product, it was time to actually restart from scratch.

We wanted to challenge ourselves, our competitors and our clients.

To guide them into worlds they could not have imagined, with the courage to ignore outdated paradigms, but without totally destroying them. We wanted to connect with what already was, without precluding new worlds that we couldn’t even imagine.

So, when we started the process of designing IntelliArm, we didn’t know much.
We just had this epiphany: that we couldn’t give anything for granted.

The way things had been done until now was not clearly the best in terms of ergonomics. They were what we believed to be the only options just because no one had ever tried something different (except for Star Trek, of course).

So we knew we needed to start from scratches. From a blank space, at which center we had to place a human being, to start designing around him or her.

Not just any human being, though: we needed a train driver.
Possibly we needed more than one, so that we could confront different opinions, bodies, ways of driving, etc.

But where could we found them? And how could we convince them to offer us their practical knowledge and to spare their precious time informing our design choices?

We realized that we had the answer before our eyes.

A powerful tool at our fingertips

What am I talking about, you ask? Simple: the social networks.

Where else can you find hundred, thousands, possibly millions of people who have exactly the characteristics that you need? Where else can you interact with them as if they were one, asking them to express their opinion and listening to their voices?

We were lucky enough to have this amazing opportunity at our fingertips: SPII’s community online is strong, cohesive and engaged. The visitors from our website span to almost every Country in the world.

SPII’s LinkedIn profile in particular had grown over the years organically, counting thousands and thousands of followers from all over the World. They span among train drivers, train managers, train crew, technical personnel and so on.

We had seen it over the years, through their comments, their social shares and the technical answers they gave to our posts. We knew they had something to say.

A comment on one of our articles

This is why we did the simplest thing, something that no one had done before: we just asked them what they wanted to improve.

We wanted to lead the way.
But they needed to tell us where to go.

We didn’t know the answers…but we did know the questions!

Use the tools you already have wisely

So, we had our human being(s). We just needed the tools to listen to them and put them at the center of our design.

Wait, we had the tools! LinkedIn allowed us to do something really powerful: polls.

So we started creating polls at every step of the way, to verify and inform our choices about IntelliArm’s design.

One of our Polls on LinkedIn

The answers were extraordinary.
We knew we were on to something.
So we kept questioning.

People clearly had something to say. And they wanted to say it, eventually!

Suddenly we were swimming in comments and feedback on what was wrong and what needed improvement, directly from the people who would know it best.

We let these informations lead the way at every step of our design process, and when we were done, we knew we had something really disruptive. Not so much as to be frightening, but just enough to be a real change in the industry.

What we didn’t know was if the community of train workers would agree with us.

So we asked them.

Innovation is a delicate thing

You need to push the boundaries of what is known and is working, but not so much that people will not follow you because they are scared.

When a community of thousands of train staff confirmed our theory, we knew we had done it right.

And the success of IntelliArm, including prizes like the Red Dot we were awarded with, definitely confirmed it.

We knew it was not only a design exercise, or a new product development.
It was the beginning of a new era for the industry, one where we could change the rules of the game. 

We pictured a future that involves the users in the creation process. And we made it real.

One where the design process is bent to the human being at its center, as stated in our Vision.

Just wait and see what this “social innovation” will do when combined with “hard innovations” like V-Desk…

Until then…

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol




The world is evolving, especially towards the technological path.
It is changing faster than ever and we are changing with it!

During the last few years, the collaboration between SPII and Italdesign has been strengthened and new ideas and projects were born. 

The combination of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and physical products are the essence of V-Desk

The new product was created thinking about the train driver’s needs in terms of Ergonomics, Design and Technology but also the car builder’s needs of reducing time to market, customization and flexibility. 

In a few months HMI devices will get a boost towards the future!

SPII and Italdesign are pleased to announce a première dedicated to TRAIN DRIVERS

In September, at Italdesign’s headquarter, a selected group of train drivers will be the first to see, to touch and to test the V-Desk.

After that, the official presentation to train operators and car builders will be during the Expo Ferroviaria Fair!

Welcome to the future…

No, to the present!

V-Desk is now reality.

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli

sezionatore modulare

Let’s make safety a team goal!

Let’s make safety a team goal! 1004 602 Spii
Picture 1 – source: Verga Formazione – Electrical Risk Course

We speak more and more often about workplace safety referring to the set of measures and assessments that must be implemented to protect the health and integrity of workers from surrounding risks.
Each company, therefore, cannot exempt itself from giving the subject the attention it deserves by leveraging on two dimensions: prevention and protection.

Whether it is a construction site, an office or your home, risk factors, accidents and injuries, occupational diseases must be eliminated or, at least, reduced and controlled. This is certainly also reflected in the productivity and development of the company itself.
Certainly some types of work present greater dangers than others; for example, the maintenance of railway vehicles and exposure to high voltage electricity requires the presence of highly qualified and trained personnel in addition to the presence of safety devices, such as voltage detectors, earthing switches, insulation sticks.

The protection and safety of maintenance systems, on board trains or infrastructures, is therefore guaranteed by means of devices capable of ensuring maximum reliability for operators, even in the most severe environmental conditions (for example, in coastal or industrial areas or in presence of extreme temperatures …).

Picture 2 – manually operated earthing switch complete with safety locks.

Interrupting the power supply and then grounding a high voltage circuit efficiently before performing maintenance is essential for the safety of personnel.

The human factor is fundamental and our goal is to allow the operator to act easily and without the possibility of error, in complete safety and serenity.

In this context, our manually operated earthing switch is a valuable ally in the daily work of thousands of maintenance workers. Ergonomics, ease of operation and certainty of the result are essential features for these safety devices. At SPII we design solutions that want to make life easier: easy to define, configure, install, use and maintain.

Picture 3 – manually operated modular disconnector

The modular and multipole disconnector is used for applications from 600V to 3KV DC. It is highly configurable according to the specific application: it can vary in the number of poles, in the switching sequence and in the operating mode (manual, electric, pneumatic).

Picture 4 – earthing switch, front view (operating lever and safety lock)

The safety of our devices can be further increased by integrating diagnostic modules for sending information, for example temperature, position or contact wear, to CBM systems or they can be equipped with safety devices such as locks, exchangers or key holders.

Picture 5 – knife switch (1)

Our traditional knife switch is also used for grounding the HV circuits downstream of the traction converter. The blades, in this configuration, are operated directly by the maintenance operator by means of an insulation stick.
The range of application is very wide in terms of both voltage (from 600-750V DC to 3KV DC) and rated operating current. Also in this case, the solution is plug & play and can be supplied with an integrated box for all components, complete with wiring and pre-tested in the laboratory.

Our disconnectors are compact, flexible in use, reliable and require little maintenance.

Picture 6 – knife switch (2)

Technology, Safety and Ergonomics? These are the keywords.

Learn more:

See you next time!
Valentina Marrese

spii evo 3

The right idea is not enough, it has to be a convincing idea

The right idea is not enough, it has to be a convincing idea 1041 741 Spii

If you truly want to change a company’s culture into one fueled by the knowledge that “it depends on me“, you need two important elements:

  • A management that promotes change, and encourages the people who work for the company to suggest how to achieve it;
  • Engaged people willing to put themselves on the line for the change they envision, offering solutions and new ideas to improve the company;

These are the fuel and the tinder that can start a positive fire, which burns down what is not essential, what doesn’t work properly, and from its ashes builds something beautiful and purposeful.

It is just the beginning, though: because good ideas are not worth much on their own. They need to have someone willing to fight for them, to see them through the good and the bad times.

Great ideas, most of all, need to be convincing: successful ideas are the ones that can be presented as solutions to common problems, with benefits for both the people and the company.

This was the kind of ideas that we wanted to scout for during our change management journey, SPII Evolution.

How do you create a pathway for people to not only gather ideas, but also to advocate and “sell” them successfully to the management? That was Evo’s challenge.

From good ideas to great ideas

The first part was easy. Well, easy if you see it in the perspective of a six-months long project, at least!

It was important to involve everyone in the process, from top to bottom. To create a strong sense of purpose in every participant, a desire to be heard, to give their input. This is why all the colleagues where divided in 4 groups: Water, Air, Fire and Earth.

Each of them was encouraged to build a strong identity as a group, for example finding a battle cry of their element or a motto, building competitiveness and desire to win.

But most of all, SPII Evo leveraged on one of the most important and universal forces that drives any human being: the desire to make a positive impact around us.

Through a set of activities, challenges and situations, we encouraged everyone to take a critical look at their surroundings with a proactive mind, and brainstorm ideas that could positively change the company, impacting both its people and its competitiveness.

And then?

From great ideas to convincing ideas

Once they gathered the best ideas, it was time to turn them into convincing ones.

And how do you do that?

Simple: you make sure people strongly believe in their importance, and then you give them the tools to properly present them.

Do you want a different chair? Do you believe it would benefit you because you would be more comfortable?
Great! But what’s in there for the company?

Does it improve your productivity? Does it reduce the cost of sick days? Does it increase morale?

A convincing idea is one that benefits each of the parts involved equally, one that is mutually beneficial.
One that you can present as a solution to everyone’s problems, that is achievable and convenient.
One you are willing to take responsibility for, because you truly believe it will be for the best of everyone involved.

These are the ideas that SPII wanted to encourage, find and carry out.

From convincing ideas to successful projects

The whole SPII Evo project combined elements of public speaking, negotiation, sales and much more. The goal was to stimulate people not only to find these ideas, but also to properly pitch them during the final event.

An official moment, when everyone felt thrilled and excited to present THEIR big idea in front of a jury and the rest of the company.

A staged event that needed to engage the audience, surprise, entertain and convince the management, and ultimately…result in real and long lasting change.

So when everyone on that great day showed up dressed with the colors of their team’s element, or shouted their battle-cry out loud, or even started playing “One vision” by Queen with an electric guitar…well, that’s when we knew it had worked really well!

Starting from real-life company issues, situations that sometimes weren’t even problematic until we started looking into them, some great ideas, convincing ideas, emerged.

Are you curious to know some of the changes that emerged from this incredible experience? A perfect example is the EVO room.

A dining area born from a need: the desire to get to know each other better within the company.

There are many ways to achieve such a goal: you could set up coffee vending machines, you could organize company events, and so on. But the best one, the one that best fit SPII’s values and its people, was to physically create a space for it.

A dining area where one could rest, meet others, engage with colleagues, eat a home-cooked meal and share it with a friend.

It was not the only right answer, but it surely was the one that best answered to a need that both the company and the people had.
And it was all completely born, raised and developed from the team who originally had it during SPII Evolution.

Because by the time the jury and the management agreed to it, it was already clear: they didn’t just suggest that idea, they had successfully sold it to the company and had become advocates of change.

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol



It started Red Dot Design Week: you can see award-winning project on

We want to share with you our celebrations as Red Dot Design Award winner 2021!


See you next time,
Simona Gianoli


HOW are you available to contribute to the design of new train’s cab?

HOW are you available to contribute to the design of new train’s cab? 1024 825 Spii

Our latest poll just ended and the result is absolutely significant: more than 300 train drivers would like to be involved in the design process of a new train’s cab.

Train drivers raised their voices and we are going to listen to them!

Stay tuned…

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli & Valentina Marrese




We all need to come back to normal life!

EXPO Ferroviaria 2021 Fair will be for sure a way to start again with new products and disruptive ideas.

What about a future where Virtual and Augmented Reality will be more and more present in railway sector?

SPII S.p.A. and Italdesign prepared something really special for you!

Read more about V-Desk and stay tuned….

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli & Valentina Marrese

spii evo 2

Does change need to start from above?

Does change need to start from above? 1379 729 Spii
spii evo 2

We have mostly been led to believe that “real change starts from the bottom up“. That any important, consistent change needs to originate from the mass, the people, because if it comes from above, from the leaders, then it means it was prompted, induced.

Sure, for it to be true and permanent, change has to be really pursued from the very people that need to endure it.

But we believe that, in a company, this is not enough.
When we want REAL change within an organization, there needs to be harmony, there needs to be cohesion.

This is why we think that some changes need to start from above as well.
We believe that if the management is not the first line fighting for change, actively demonstrating that it CAN happen, it will never actually do.

This is what we learned during the journey of SPII Evolution.

How do you start a change?

Change is not something that happens on its own: like a fire, you need the right tinder and the perfect fuel to start a flame. If you only provide one of the two, you will not gain much.

So when a company wants its people to be directly involved in the improvement, well…it needs to ask them how!

Usually, the contrary happens. Often are those “above”, the management, the ones who decide which change needs to happen, based on their analysis and knowledge, and pass it on to the various people within the company.

This approach may work well in some cases…but what if the management doesn’t have the full picture of what’s going on “below”?

If you think about it, it’s not them who actually move the levers, push the buttons, engage with clients everyday, use software and hardware, etc etc.

Maybe they have surveyed and questioned the people who actually do it, but still, they may not see it all.
They could not even realize if there is discomfort, if something out of their radar is wrong, because it’s not what they deal with every day.

So how can a company have the full picture?
How can the management really understand what kind of change is needed?

Well, it can just ask!

If the management does this, if they really ask for their people’s point of view, and listen to it with passion, curiosity, and critical spirit, something “magical” can happen:

  • People feel empowered and involved, with a real chance to have a say in their company’s direction.
  • It provides the company with hands on consultants, who really see what’s going on because they deal with it every day.
  • It removes every alibi for people not to change: both the management and the staff are bound to change, because no one can say “ehy, it didn’t depend on me“.

This is how you not only encourage change, but also a “depends on me” culture.

Leadership is the perfect tinder to spark change

SPII EVOLUTION was designed since the very beginning as a journey that would engage the top management first.

In order for it to work for the whole company, the leaders had to become both an example and a sponsor.

This brings a powerful message: one of willingness to listen.

Most of all, one of openness to new solutions that can bring real value, to the company and to each of the people who work there. Solutions that will become projects.
Projects that, if good and well structured, will become reality.


With a 5 step program called SPII EVOLUTION, each of them designed to transform the participants into an army of the best consultants a company could wish for; because no one can find more effective solutions than those who know the situation hands on.

During this journey, which spans across months, all of the people working in the company are divided into groups and led through a number of steps designed to brainstorm, define and ideate tangible solutions to improve the organization.
Each group competes with the others in order to find and suggest the best course of action.
And the management listens. It REALLY LISTENS.

It’s a game-changing moment.
You can’t fake it, you can’t pretend to listen and then go on with your own ideas. If you do, you will end up losing this energy that is growing…or worse.

It is a powerful tool, but it can also be dangerous: it takes courage to go with it until the end.
But if you do…then what happens can be incredible.

The incredible power of leaders who sponsor “DDM”

What does all of this lead to?

To a change in the company culture: as we wrote in a previous article, a culture that changes from “it depends on others” (Dipende Dagli Altri or DDA) to “it depends on me” (DDM, Dipende Da Me).

It’s not for everyone to do that kind of training: encouraging the whole population of a company to engage, to bring out, to give input – it is a great challenge.
But if the management dares to ask each and every one of them to propose the most drastic, craziest, dreamiest thing they can imagine, and then listens to those inputs and implements them…it can turn a company around completely“, said Fabio Tognetti about the experience of SPII Evolution.

spii evo 3

Today you can breathe this kind of culture all around SPII.

It starts to turn a wheel of change that falls back on everything: even the newly hired who didn’t actively participate in the program find themselves permeated with it.

Sentences like “if only I had…”, “if it were this way…“, “if it hadn’t been done that way…” are banned from the vocabulary.

They all become one:
“what do I do with what I have? How do I get the best out of it?”.

It’s like getting home late at night, starving, just to find out that your fridge is half empty.
You can start whining, and complain because you didn’t have time to go for shopping.
Or you can take on the challenge and prepare yourself a creative dinner with what’s there.

Bottom up…AND top down!

This is what happens when change is encouraged from the top…and then takes place from the bottom.

That kind of change is really “integrated“, and its impact can resonate through time and space.

This is the power of a leadership style that encourages people to change by becoming advocate for it.

As Paola put it during the final event of SPII Evo, just before she and the rest of the management started listening to the presentation of the different projects:
“that enthusiasm you see in me is more yours than mine, because I am just a mirror”.

See you next time,
Ilaria Cazziol

banco di manovra mosca 2020



On 21/09/2020 the new train of the Moscow Metro 2020 was presented. It entered service in the autumn of the same year.

Here you go one of the most beautiful train in the world: the new underground train of the Russian capital “Moscow 2020”.

Moscow 2020 is a latest generation train, completely innovative and has our driver desk inside!

During the official ceremony, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said:

“We started renovating the rolling stock of the Moscow Metro in 2010 and now we have one of the youngest fleets among the metropolitan systems in the world” […]

“Today we welcome the new Moscow 2020 train, which clearly surpasses its predecessors thanks to its parameters. […]
The Moscow Metro is considered as an example by the designers. Our wagons, built in the 70s, are still used in Europe today. The new generation “Moscow 2020” will certainly serve as an experience for Europe and America “.

The driver desk was designed according to the following guidelines: innovation, modernity and comfort.
Entry to the driver’s cabin is permitted using an individual access card which also activates the complete traffic control and safety system.
The new generation train driver desk is more ergonomic and has almost twice as few buttons thanks to the large touchscreen monitors.

The ceremony was also attended by the Locomotive Engineer Instructor Andrej Blochin: “The desk is avant-garde, modern, much more ergonomic than the previous ones, the software incorporates that of smartphones, which allows the train driver to make decisions faster, in complete safety “.

The deputy head of the project Arcadiy Sajzev was also interviewed and he underlined the importance of combining tradition and innovation, with a look at the future version of “Moscow 24”.

Spii is proud to be part of this great project and to be on board the trains of the future!

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli & Valentina Marrese