Aton’s history and values: interview with Giorgio De Nardi


Aton’s history

Aton was founded in 1988 by founder, Giorgio De Nardi, to do business in a different way and create value through software and services for sustainable business growth.

We are often asked at trade shows, events, meetings with schools, and even when interviewing candidates why the company bears this name. Its fascinating history opens the discussion to issues that are close to our hearts and represent the very essence of Aton.

Together with the Marketing Team we decided to ask these questions directly to Giorgio, so we won’t elaborate any further and leave you with his story:

How was Aton born?

I have often been asked where the adventure started. It all started when I started working as a junior salesman in the IT sector. I soon realised that the market was a real Wild West, made up of broken agreements, delays, approximations and often the ‘exploitation’ of customers’ ignorance. I could not see how my values could coexist with this reality. The second motivation, equally important, was the distress at seeing the poor conditions that reigned within the working environment. There was no respect, but hierarchical rank power reigned, with forms of bullying that went far beyond tolerability. It was difficult to imagine teamwork in an atmosphere where individualism prevailed and the terror of making mistakes was constant. Coming from years of playing sports, and with a deep sense of the team, I could not recognise myself in that way of playing. And so the idea was born to create a company based on the values that I considered important. I wanted to create a company that was different, that was ‘clean’ and transparent, that respected people and worked to make a positive contribution to the community. I wanted to amaze the world and do it in a way that would have a positive impact on everyone and do it together with those who share these values. Not just a means of producing profits for shareholders, whatever the cost, but a company that is fully responsible in the context in which it operates, towards its employees, their families, customers, the environment and the local area and even competitors. These motivations drove me to create a reality ‘in my own way’ and is the reason why the Aton Group exists and every day stimulates the commitment and skills of the people involved in our project to achieve the common goal.”

Why the name “Aton”?

“Thirty-four centuries ago, Pharaoh Akhenaten reformed the ancient Egyptian tradition, plagued by violence and corruption, by promoting a new pacifist civilisation attentive to collective needs, idealised by the Sun, called Aton. For this he fought hierarchies, castes and nepotism on behalf of his people, leaving his mark as the first great social leader in human history. That is why I chose the name Aton and its values to represent who we are, what we do and how we do it. Our commitment is a solid guarantee of respect, consistency and sustainability towards all our stakeholders, in a win-win logic of continuous value generation, not by subtraction, but by addition.”

What makes Aton unique? 

“At Aton, we are committed to promoting a new form of enterprise, where the value of people is at the centre and hierarchy is replaced by the desire to create a true us, driven by the awareness and commitment of all. To do this, we have been inspired by a self-organising model, which stimulates entrepreneurship, self-responsibility and continuous improvement, and allows the dynamic merging of different groups according to needs. What makes us truly unique is our approach to work. For us, work is not just a source of income, but an opportunity to enjoy that continuous growth-oriented tension. We want to share together a gymnasium of life and a great adventure, always putting our best foot forward.”

How is this better versionfielded‘?

“We are a Benefit Company, certified as a Great Place to Work, and our Articles of Association include objectives related to social, environmental and economic dimensions (People, Planet, Prosperity). We have built an organisation based on listening and confrontation, on respect and justice, and I am convinced that only by creating an environment where people can give their best, by accompanying them, we can be the evolution we want to see in the world. This is the reason why Aton exists and every day stimulates the commitment and skills of the people involved in our project to achieve the common goal. This is the profound motivation that led us, in March 2021, to become a Benefit Company. For us, money is important, but as a means, not as an end. The real goal is Prosperity, understood as a healthy, balanced, stimulating and rewarding existence, in a holistic concept of the person. A well-being that is material, but also psychological, emotional, relational, spiritual. From March 2023 we are a certified B Corp, and thus become part of a global community committed to an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic paradigm.”

Who are the “atonpeople”?

“With us, employees, the atonpeople, are not only considered a trade union counterpart, but the very identity of the company. With their rich world of relationships cultivated every day, at work and in private life, they can extend our values away from business, as generative cells of an inexorable existential revolution. We are a team that wants to grow together by putting the P of PEOPLE at the centre. We chose to move from the traditional hierarchical, control-based organisational model to a networked model of self-organisation. Sacred respect for the environment is represented by our third P in Planet. We want to leave our children a better planet than the one we received as a dowry. To do this, in addition to minimising waste and consumption for our production, we have oriented the development of our competitiveness towards environmental protection, with solutions and services aimed at improving the sustainability of our customers’ business.” 

This concludes our interview, which we hope may have been interesting and, why not, brought some food for thought.

Do you share Aton’s values? Do you want to make a difference with us?

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