Ongoing Projects - Innovation

Enhancing SMEs’ Innovation and Resilience in Italian Manufacturing Clusters: Leveraging the Medieval Future through Digitalization

Nicola Lattanzi

The surge in supply chain trade between high-tech and low-wage nations in the late 1980s ignited a shift in the global economic landscape triggering the worldwide fragmentation of production. The mid-2000s signed a turning point in global trends. Over the last two decades, supply chains have undergone profound structural transformations, gravitating towards knowledge-rich and regionally concentrated configurations. In recent times, disruptive forces like pandemics and unpredictable geopolitical dynamics have starkly illuminated the vulnerabilities of long-distance connections, prompting a profound reassessment of ongoing business strategies within the context of deglobalization.

Within this framework, scrutinizing local production systems, particularly the resilient industrial districts, assumes newfound centrality. Industrial districts are geographically tethered clusters of interconnected enterprises, epitomizing indispensable components of robust economies. They often harbor specialized knowledge, skills, and infrastructures that enable companies to adapt to the ever-evolving market conditions swiftly. Moreover, industrial districts foster an environment conducive to innovation, facilitating the exchange of tacit knowledge deeply rooted in the venerable artisanal traditions dating back to the Middle Ages. The bedrock of businesses’ identity and competitive prowess are in the ancient craftsmanship skills embedded in local contexts.

Understanding the pivotal role of regional systems in creating value along the supply chain has never been more crucial. It serves as the guiding light for the spatial reconfiguration of production stages and informs the formulation of policy interventions.

This project offers a framework for investigating the performance of Italian enterprises within diverse regional landscapes. Particular emphasis is placed on the interplay between digitalization and innovation, striking a delicate balance between tradition and cutting-edge advancements in the era of Industry 4.0. Within this visionary framework, we delve into the concept of a “Medieval Future,” propelling us to embrace our historical roots as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of industrial transformation.

Information shocks and gender prosociality: Evidence from anti-HPV vaccination

Michele Cantarella

Immunization is a vital and cost-effective public health intervention for disease prevention and societal resilience. Despite extensive information campaigns promoting vaccine accessibility, vaccine hesitancy remains a challenge. Recent events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, revealed that hesitancy is not solely due to a lack of information but is influenced by heuristics, distrust of authorities, and fear of side effects. Misinformation on social media and digital echo chambers exacerbates the problem. It is often difficult to disentangle these factors preventing vaccinations from the idiosyncratic perceived risks that individuals face from infection.

This discussion underscores a second important aspect of vaccination behavior: vaccination is not only a personal choice but also a prosocial action that affects the health and well-being of others. Prosocial behavior can also induce vaccination among individuals who would not otherwise do so if they are properly informed about the risk others face if they become infected. Prosocial behavior can be influenced by the family, community, and gender, among many other determinants. In this context, the digital environment can reinforce all these behaviors.

This research project has three main objectives: (i) to understand the role of prosociality in vaccine hesitancy, net of individual benefits; (ii) to assess determinants of gender bias in prosocial behavior; (iii) to understand how digital media usage affects vaccine uptake conditional on altruistic tendencies.

To achieve these goals, we utilize a natural experiment involving the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in Italy. For males, vaccination against HPV is almost exclusively a prosocial decision because serious health consequences of HPV infection in men are quite rare. Hence, vaccination behavior can now be studied net of negligible perceived risk of illness. This project aims to address the research questions above by producing novel survey data on male HPV vaccination, combining quasi-experimental approaches with information experiments.

Understanding New Product Portfolio Management: attention and decision drivers under Financial and Ethical information

Mattia Adamo

The research project “Understanding New Product Portfolio Management: Attention and Decision Drivers under Financial and Ethical Information” aims to elucidate the complex decision-making processes in New Product Portfolio Management (NPPM), focusing on the interplay between financial and ethical considerations. In an era where Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations are becoming increasingly significant, this study seeks to understand how NPPM balances financial returns against ethical implications in the predevelopment stage of product pipeline.

As businesses globally pivot towards integrating ESG factors into core strategies, understanding the dynamics of decision-making in NPPM, especially the weighting of financial and ethical considerations, becomes crucial. This study not only aims to reveal the inherent biases and preferences in financial evaluation but also seeks to determine how ethical considerations are integrated into these decisions. By examining the cognitive processes underpinning investment decisions, the research will provide novel insights into the congruity or discordance between traditional financial metrics and ethical imperatives in NPPM.

Measuring the Diffusion of Innovations: A New Approach

Federico Nutarelli

The innovation literature emphasizes the importance of the diffusion of new technologies for economic growth and the long-run dynamics of economic systems. However, extant literature has so far lacked empirical measures of the process of knowledge diffusion, and of the extent to which new inventions lead to new products commercialized and sold in the market. This project develops new data and indicators of knowledge diffusion by combining patent invention and citation data, on the one hand, and Google Trends data, on the other. We use this new database to empirically analyze the patterns, pace and effects of technology diffusion, and the extent to which these differ across territorial units.

In assessing our method’s validity, we contrast it against traditional innovation diffusion measures (e.g. based on patent citation data). We also investigate foreign product competition’s potential impact on patent popularity. For instance, a new product introduction, like a Xiaomi phone, might incite comparisons with competitors, such as Apple. We propose constructing counterfactual scenarios (CF1) to estimate patent popularity in the absence of such market dynamics. Recognizing a potential7-year gap between patent initiation and product launch, our study delves into how products derived from the original innovation might influence diffusion patterns. We propose a second counterfactual analysis (CF2) to explore the potential influence of these akin products on the original’s diffusion trajectory. Overall, our research offers a comprehensive perspective on innovation diffusion, integrating nuanced factors like patent volatility, citation patterns, and market dynamics, seeking to provide a more holistic understanding of the phenomenon.