In 1960 a group interested in testing new teaching and research methods started to form in Ancona around the new Faculty of Economics and Commerce and around Giorgio Fuà who was its leading light. As a result, the Olivetti Foundation and the American Social Science Research Council were oriented towards Ancona when, in 1966 – with the support of the CNR – the group planned a pilot course for the post-graduate training of economists.
In order to realise this project, a non-profit organisation was established on February 8th, 1967, consisting of academics and other figures from the cultural sphere, called “ISTAO – Adriano Olivetti Institute of Studies for the management of the economy and of enterprises.”
The choice of name pays deference to the far-sighted ideas of Adriano Olivetti concerning corporate social responsibility and highlights his role as a promoter of innovation.
The first full-time annual course was held in 1967, and since then ISTAO has been continuously engaged in its training and research activities.
In its first four years of activity, ISTAO courses have been dedicated to the education of Applied Economists destined for academic careers or for work in public and private research centers.
In 1972 a special program on “Enterprise Management” was implemented (supplementing the “Applied Economics” course) to meet the demands of managers ready and willing to assist in the growth of enterprises. This program, which has been adapted over the years, is still offered by ISTAO in the guise of the Master in Enterprise Strategy and Management.
In order to meet the demand for more specialised figures in specific sectors, other Master’s degrees and post-graduate training Courses were established, on various topics: Human Resources, Internationalisation, Marketing, Finance, Technological Innovations and Ethics, following in the footsteps of classic Olivetti teaching methods.