The course provides basic elements to future strategic analysts and private or public decision-makers for understanding the phenomenon of scientific and technological innovation, its potential and impact on economies and societies, its challenges, and the related managerial, organizational and policy issues. It also provides conceptual and operative models to analyze and formulate strategies and policies for the development and utilization of technological innovations in business or public decisions, to maximize their possible benefits and minimize their negative societal and environmental impacts.
FIRST PART: management and policy issues in science and technology innovation
a) basic concepts of science/technology innovation: research, invention, innovation, etc.; innovation and the economy: effects on wealth production and distribution; long-term innovation cycles
b) supporting technical advance: scientific and technical knowledge as an economic resource; public and private roles in scientific research and innovation production; protecting innovative capabilities: intellectual property rights and their protection; analysis of patent databases
c) innovation management: business strategies for innovation; public policies and “systems of innovation” in various national/local contexts
SECOND PART: impact assessment
d) impact assessment of new technologies on society and environment: techniques of technological forecasting and technology assessment; data collection and assessment of selected cases of innovation “megatrends” (e.g.: energy production, digital communications, artificial intelligence, new medical
e) analysis of societal impacts: change of socio-economic paradigms induced by technologies (e.g.: radio communications, Internet, automobile production, etc.); design-driven societal changes through product innovation strategies (business cases, e.g.: Olivetti, Apple, Bialetti, Piaggio); digitalization and the case of teleworking; global challenges and the role of technology (health and climate)
f) communication in science and technology: approaches to contrast fake news; examples and cases drawn from current events
Methods of active learning/teaching will be largely adopted. Sessions will be typically structured as follows: conceptual introduction of an issue or question (mini-lecture); presentation of a related real-life situation/case-study; individual or group reflections (or other active-learning techniques like e.g.: real- time exercises, one-minute papers, debates, etc.); in-class discussion; recap by the instructor through appropriate interpretative or operative models. During a lecture time, more sessions can be proposed. In preparation of lectures, students may be asked to do some personal research and analysis of materials before the class. Groups for teamwork activities will be formed in a way to mix different nationalities and background, to improve students’ capability to engage in multi-cultural contexts.
Some classes will consist of co-curricular activities held at historical places in Venice where students will draw inspiration to reflect on specific innovation-related issues (e.g., visits to: Negozio Olivetti – design- driven innovation; Arsenale di Venezia – public policies for innovation; Murano Glass Museum –problem of innovative knowledge protection). Also, exercises of data analysis will be proposed to students, e.g., use of the European patent database “Espacenet”.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- understand basic notions and classifications of concepts related to innovation and innovation processes
- interpret the role of innovation in businesses and societies
- use essential classifications and models of innovative process for business management and public decision-making
- understand and use classifications of strategies and policies for innovation
- understand the basic mechanisms of intellectual property right (and, especially, patents)
- understand the role of public policies to support the innovation process in different national/local contexts
- plan and use basic techniques of technological forecasting and technology assessment
- develop approaches and conceptual references to critically analyse today’s global challenges posed by
science and technology
- understand the major issues of communication in science and technology, including the problem of fake news
Soft and transversal skills:
- capability to actively organize and participate actively in teamwork and to positively interact with peers
- capability to present, communicate, and debate the results of personal research and analysis
- capability to develop original knowledge of a topic through personal research and autonomous reflection
Approximately at the end of the first part, students will take a written exam with two open questions related to the main topics treated in the first part of the course. This will count 45% of the final assessment.
During the second part, students will be asked to conduct a teamwork project consisting of an impact assessment of a technology. They will give a final presentation in front of the instructor and class at the end of the course and will (individually) respond to the instructor’s questions on specific points treated in the second part. The assessment will be based on the results of the whole group and also on the individual contribution of each student. This activity will count 45% of the final assessment.
During the course, students will be occasionally proposed small exercises or group discussions. Their active and fruitful participation will grant them another 10% of the final assessment.
The following table summarizes the assessment methods, evaluation criteria, and percentage of the overall grade.
|Assessment method||Topic||Evaluation criteria||% of overall grade|
|Written exam (2 open questions)||first part||Accuracy and completeness of answers; use of correct terminology; appropriate written communication||45%|
|Teamwork project and presentation||second part||Accuracy and completeness of answers; use of correct terminology; efficacy of presentation||45%|
|Exercises and open discussions||all course||Appropriateness of answers or contributions; active involvement; capability of critical reasoning||10%|
The course will make use of materials handed out by the instructor, including selected parts of textbooks (see list below) or other occasional sources (e.g., newspaper articles), and originally produced materials and case studies.
Tidd, Joe and Bessant, John R., Managing innovation: integrating technological, market and organizational change, John Wiley, New York, 2020
Schilling, Melissa A. Strategic Management of Technological Innovation. McGraw-Hill Education, 2005. Allistair, Nolan, Business innovation policies: selected country comparisons, OECD Paris, 2011
Agola, Nathaniel O., et al. Inclusive Innovation for Sustainable Development: Theory and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan UK Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Hall, Bronwyn, Rosenberg, Nathan (Eds), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier, 2010 Braun, Ernest, Technology in context: technology assessment for managers, Routledge, London, 1998 Porter, Alan, Forecasting and management of technology, Wiley, New York, 1991