The research activity of the Center focus on the development of an integrated framework for understanding the dynamics of innovation and entrepreneurship, with a particular interest on how to apply best practices and new ideas to the local ecosystem.
The innovation process is studied according to a systemic approach. In this perspective, the research activities are oriented at investigating not only the characteristics of innovative start-ups, but also the role of different stakeholders (large corporations, financial institutions, regulatory bodies, universities and public research centres, incubators) that contribute to shape the environmental conditions of local entrepreneurial ecosystems.
The key research topics that the Center is involved into can be summarized along the following lines of activity.
This research line focuses on the digital transformation and its impact on industry structures, strategies, business models, work practices, and new competencies required to the workforce. The research activities are focused on the effects of digital transformation on Italian sectors with a comparative perspective with United States and other countries of the European Union. The aim of such focus is to shed light on the causes of the widening productivity gap that Italy has accumulated with some countries of the European Union and the United States after the emergence of the Internet as a new paradigm for information exchange.
Green entrepreneurship, sustainability, and circular economy. This line of research is dedicated to the interplay between businesses and the environment. It analyses three macro-themes: (1) circular economy market strategies, new business models and digitalization as an enabler of circular economy practices; (2) eco-innovation and patenting activities, green innovations (including radically disruptive technologies such as artificial photosynthesis), and (3) green start-ups and social entrepreneurship, looking at sustainability also in terms of governance, gender and inclusivity, triple-bottom line frameworks (profits, people and the planet) and concrete examples such as B-corps. This line of research focuses on strategies for scaling up sustainable and inclusive solutions within enterprises, considering large-scale trends such as Industry 4.0, climate resilience, and actions in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, both from the firm perspective and systemically.
Entrepreneurship education is an emerging area of research and includes several topics related to the analysis of the impact of entrepreneurship education on the creation of new firms; the effectiveness of entrepreneurship teaching methodologies in fostering entrepreneurial attitudes and skills. By a methodological viewpoint, the research activities be based also on comparative case studies of academic institutions and research centres worldwide. The results of this line of research are expected to provide valuable knowledge for the development of new training initiatives and for the evaluation of the related expected impacts. The line of research is also meant to adopt innovative teaching methods with the relevant contribution of large companies that are expected to provide both mentorships and specific challenges to be addressed.
Open Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
This line of research is dedicated to the analysis of the collaborative landscape characterizing entrepreneurial ecosystems, emphasizing the role of open innovation in facilitating the flow of knowledge, technology, and ideas, forging new connections, and sustaining entrepreneurship. It investigates how open innovation principles can stimulate and sustain relationships among various stakeholders—ranging from young and innovative start-ups to large, established companies and institutional investors. By understanding the dynamics of these collaborations, the line of research seeks to uncover how open innovation contributes to the growth of the entrepreneurial landscape.
Particular attention is given to the role of universities in sustaining entrepreneurial activities and promoting knowledge and technological transfer; supporting the local context in the creation of new companies; fostering new relationships among young and innovative start-ups, large and well-established companies, and institutional investors through open innovation principles.
Entrepreneurial finance and innovation
This line of research is dedicated to the analysis of the features of private equity markets and their impact on the entrepreneurial success. Within such broad area, the research activities focus on specific topics, such as the role of publicly sponsored venture capital funds, the impact of the characteristics of target firms founding team on the likelihood of success, the phenomenon of cross-border investments in innovative start-ups, the evolution of the business angels segment. This line of research is also meant to provide relevant strategic policy insights for the development of local financial ecosystems that can effectively support the growth of new ventures in different sectors.
Intellectual property rights
This research line is dedicated to the economic analysis of intellectual property rights (IPRs), under different perspectives. IPRs represent fundamental assets for technology transfer and their effective management requires specific advanced skills, also in the context of academic patenting. An appropriate use of IPRs can favor the set up of collaboration between large companies and start-ups.
The research activities focus on:
- The analysis of IP management practices in small and large firms and the development of advanced methodologies for technology intelligence based on patent data-mining;
- The study of the barriers to the development of efficient markets for the trading of IPRs between firms and between public research institutions and companies;
This line of research is dedicated to the study of social and sustainable motivations and perspectives in innovation and entrepreneurship processes. It considers for-profit, nonprofit and hybrid organizations, their relationships and related policies. It aims at identifying and investigating the role of supporting institutions such as social incubators and accelerators, but also social co-working spaces and dedicated programmes in traditional accelerators, incubators, universities. How such institutions affect the emergence and the evolution over time of social business models is a key issue to be addressed. The diffusion of an entrepreneurial culture for social innovation and the creation of social start-ups require specific supporting institutions and policies within the ecosystem. Finally themes linked to the new trends in philanthropy (e.g. venture philanthropy) and new trends in non-profit organization and management is explored.
This research line is dedicated to study the impacts of the digital transformation on strategies, business models and new competences in the tourism industry. The research is conducted at national and international level, by collaborating with many universities as Grenoble École de Management (France) and Audencia Business School (France).
The research activities focus on:
• Investigating the mechanism of value creation and capture in the hospitality industry;
• Studying the technological solutions more promising for the tourism market;
• Investigating the impact of the online platforms on the tourism ecosystem;
• Examining the digital competences needed in tourism;
• Studying the mechanisms behind improving the sustainability of tourism destinations.