What is innovation and how can it be achieved in daily life?

Today “Innovation” is a keyword used in a huge variety of contexts. In the business world, it has become almost synonymous with fame, fortune and money, and it is a tool that can make your business much more competitive. But what is innovation really?

If we Google it, we get the following result:

“Innovation – Every novelty, change, transformation that radically modifies or in any case causes an effective rejuvenation in a political or social order, in a production method, in a technique.”

Trying to translate it into simple words, innovation is nothing more than a change that positively transforms a situation or status quo. The concept of innovation is closely linked to one of the main dogmas of Lean Manufacturing: continuous improvement. If, within a company, it can be carried out through investments in R&D, Industry 4.0 technologies, innovation can also be carried out at an individual level. Each of us can achieve continuous improvement and be an innovator.

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, there are 5 characteristics that distinguish the most innovative people:

  1. Ability to associate ideas, problems and situations: as Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is connecting things”. Innovative people are able to generate ideas from old solutions, also taken from other areas, recombining them in a different way.
  2. Ability to ask questions: innovative people ask “Why?” and “What if?”, and they try to understand how existing processes (i.e. the status quo) can be modified to provide better results and are able to change their assumptions, going beyond the boundaries dictated by their own thinking and imagining opposite alternatives.
  3. Observation: innovators must be able to observe common phenomena in detail and without preconceptions.
  4. Experimentation: an innovator must be able to effectively translate new ideas into prototypes and pilot projects.
  5. Relationship: with this term, we intend to highlight that some of the innovator’s time and energy must be dedicated to the relationship with individuals capable of providing him with a radically different perspective on the same problem.

So, the question now is “how do you innovate?” Here are two pieces of advice I’d like to share:


Our brain often tends to rest in routine, in already known thought patterns and, for this reason, finding the mental space to innovate is difficult. Innovating means allowing your mind to accept risky ideas, stepping outside the comfort zone and questioning your own little world. The price of freedom is uncertainty! If you can handle the emotional fear of not knowing what will happen, then you can absolutely be free and, without preset patterns, thinking out-of-the-box becomes simpler.


In our private and working lives, we tend to always relate to people who have the same mentality and worldview as ourselves, because they will always be ready to support our theories when necessary. Of course, It’s helpful to work with people who understand you and think like you, but not always. So, when you can, it’s always best to surround yourself with people who have a different mentality than your own. It is impossible to grow up without understanding the point of view of people with ideas distant from yours.

Ok, now what? How to put these tips into practice?

The options are many. You can start small, in daily life, traveling, meeting people with different lifestyles, attending multidisciplinary conferences, reading, etc. Otherwise you can make some slightly more “drastic” choices. Mine was to apply for an International MBA at MIP. What prompted me to limit my social life, choose to go back to school and devote time to classes and exams? Was it madness? Masochism? Maybe in part, yes, but the main motivation is the continuous search for personal innovation, which nowadays is becoming more and more a necessity rather than an option. And what better environment to reach it than in an international context full of ideas like an MBA?


About the author
Marco Di Salvio

Student of the International Part Time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano.
Industrial Engineer currently working @ Gucci as WW Supply & Demand Planner, based in Florence.
Tech passionate, Cinema-lover, Sports addicted.
Solving the world’s problems one spreadsheet at a time.


From technology to luxury, via MIP: the experience of Merry Le

MBA Alumna tells about the success achieved at the Mark Challenge, a competition for startups in the luxury & yachting field. A result also made possible by the ability to best exploit one’s skills


There’s a phrase, attributed to André Citroën, founder of the French auto manufacturer, that goes more or less like this: “Knowing how to do something is nothing without making it known.” Because sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t finding an excellent idea and developing it. It can be much more complex to effectively describe it, especially when faced with a varied audience, with different educational backgrounds. How do you convince everyone? It was the question asked by Merry Le, who after attending the Master in Business Administration programme at MIP Politecnico di Milano became the business strategy lead for Moi Composites. The company, a spinoff of Politecnico di Milano, is active in the 3D printing on demand market and received the Special Award in Yachting from the Mark Challenge, a competition for startups in the luxury sector. «Our patented technology, Continuous Fiber Manufacturing, allows production of unique products in a more efficient and economically accessible manner», explains Le. «Characteristics that go hand in hand with the production needs of a luxury sector like yachting, where customization is regularly desired.  The Mark Challenge seemed to us to be the right forum to promote the unique advantages of our startup. There was one main obstacle: since it is a technological process innovation, it was difficult to make the more technical aspects comprehensible».


The importance of a good pitch

Merry Le and her colleagues, all four hailing from MIP and the Politecnico, thus decided to take advantage of their knowledge network, including MIP professors: «We presented the project to several people to get feedback on its effectiveness. So we simplified the language and made some messaging more clear. The actual presentation, then, involved a further complication», says Le, «because it took place in the middle of the Covid-19 health emergency,  everything was done online». But the strategy of Moi Composites paid off, because Merry Le and her colleagues were awarded and won the possibility to present their pitch to the Monaco Yachting Clustercommission. Not only: the presentation itself was voted by the public as the best pitch. «A success that I and my colleagues achieved, thanks also to our different backgrounds, which allowed us both to develop a solid business plan, and to work with an innovative technology.»


The future of luxury between personalization and sustainability  

The characteristics of Moi Composites’ business are well suited to the latest developments in the luxury market in general, and not only of the nautical industry: «The current trend is that of personalization. Customers are increasingly looking for tailor-made products suited to their specific needs. It’s a trend accompanied by an increasing demand for environmental and social sustainability, as well as circularity», continues Le. «I am convinced that, despite Covid-19’s major impact on the economy, and thus also on luxury, we are more prepared to face the change.  The 2008 recession struck suddenly, taking everyone by surprise; but because of that crisis people now learned how to manage recovery and to become more creative and proactive.»


The wealth of the MBA  

Merry Le attended the Master in Business Administration at MIP because, after years of a career, she felt the need to broaden her expertise: «The world is changing rapidly, and it’s increasingly important to be able to count on skills that allow you to best understand and face changes underway». An American from the East Coast, after 14 years in the aerospace manufacturing industry, today Merry Le, in her new position as business strategy lead, can use the knowledge acquired during the master’s. Not only: the project work with which she participated in the Mark Challenge was proposed to her by MIP. And if you consider that Moi Composites, with headquarters in the nearby town of Pero, was created thanks to the support of Politecnico di Milano, it appears evident that MIP’s strenght isn’t limited to education, but can also provide a geographically near productive fabric, made up of high-level companies that are constantly seeking professional skills of the same calibre. «My experience was fantastic», concludes Le. «I would recommend the choice of an MBA to anyone. What attracted me most was the emphasis on tech and big data, but more generally I felt the need to learn something new in a new environment, not just to improve and fine-tune the skills I already had. Further value added is provided by the heterogeneity of the class: the students came from 20 different countries, and this allowed us to be exposed to new points of view. An invaluable wealth».

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Enjoy your visit!



Nice To MIP You: our doors are open again! We look forward to seeing you in September.

At MIP, we have always been open. To new ideas, new technologies, new stimuli, new people. From September we will be even more so. Our lecture theatres, our campus, our study areas and, in general, all our spaces, are ready to welcome professors, staff, collaborators and, above all, students from all over the world, both new arrivals and those who already know us.

We want the reopening to be a special moment, which is why we have taken all the necessary measures to make our premises welcoming and, above all, safe.

Get ready to enjoy an experience at MIP in the spirit of safety, technology and charm that only a modern and cosmopolitan city like Milan can offer.



MIP is reopening with complete safety thanks to the adoption of a three-point strategy. The first consists in prevention: in addition to measuring temperatures at the entrance, MIP will be providing a free supply of disposable masks, while social distancing will be ensured by clear signs. The second point involves sanitisation: all of MIP’s areas will be constantly disinfected; the ventilation systems will guarantee the continuous renewal of air and it will be possible to clean your hands thanks to the sanitising points located throughout the school. The third point is related to services: we have created an email address, life@mip.polimi.it, dedicated solely to your questions about safety measures. The common areas for study and leisure will be reorganised. Educational activities will be guaranteed online and on campus, to meet all your learning needs.


MIP, which has always been innovation-oriented, can draw on a consolidated experience in digital education. Our digital learning platforms are ready to host all of our lessons, with both live streaming and recorded sessions to ensure continuity for those who are unable to attend in person.

On the campus side, however, we are working to ensure social distancing through careful planning of both times and spaces, the latter of which will be expanded. The lessons will be organised over two different shifts, and we are working with businesses to ensure the continuation of corporate testimonials and all projects that involve them, including company visits.



The MIP campus is located in Milan, a modern, European city that offers students from all over the world countless opportunities for study, work and fun. Over the years, it has seen the birth and development of international excellence, especially in the fields of fashion, design, entrepreneurship and finance. Milan knows how to combine typically Italian characteristics, such as creativity, hard work and entrepreneurship, with an international and modern approach. In recent decades it has come to embody the concept of the industrial and hardworking city, and today it has established itself as the Italian capital of startups. Constantly forward-looking, it is the right place for those who want to grow, better themselves and innovate. After the lockdown period and following the directives issued by the relevant authorities, the city has returned to opening up a large part of its activities and to offering all its services, which have helped to position it as one of the most dynamic and avant-garde cities in Europe.


The illimity academy gets under way: first master in credit management in collaboration with MIP Politecnico di MIlano

Illimity, the high-tech banking group founded and led by Corrado Passera, has established the illimity academy, the corporate business school whose objective is to create high-level economic and financial educational paths for new professionals in the credit sector through teaching programmes and training in the field. 

The illimity academy’s first master is dedicated to credit management and its structure has been developed together with the MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business, which also has responsibility for scientific guidance. The aim of the course, which will start in September 2020, is to develop new generation Credit Managers with the characteristics sought by neprix, the servicer specialising in managing illimity’s corporate distressed loans. 

The course, which combines a paid internship with direct tuition by a team of lecturers with a background in the academic and consultancy world as well as members of illimity management, will have a duration of six months and accommodate 25 students who are about to graduate in the humanities or science or have just graduated in those areas and been awarded a degree (bachelor’s or master’s) not more than one year earlier. 

At the end of the course students who stand out for ability, motivation and potential will be offered a permanent position as Junior Asset Manager. 

Selection will take place in two stages: candidates must firstly send their applications and a motivational video to www.illimity.com/mastercredito by 30 June, while during the second stage selected candidates will be interviewed to assess their skills and potential and to determine whether their profile is in line with illimity’s values and business culture. 

The selected students will attend the course on a daily basis, this alternately involving classroom teaching (400 hours) and tuition at illimity’s offices where the internship will take place (540 hours). 

The illimity Group will bear the majority of costs for the Master, which amount to €10,000 + VAT per student. Participants will be asked to make a contribution of €2,000 + VAT, which will then be reimbursed if they are hired. Study grants will also be available and the internship will be fully remunerated (€700 gross a month plus luncheon vouchers). 

Marco Russomando, Head of Human Resources at illimity, stated: “We have decided to champion the illimity academy as a means once again of investing in talented young women and men and training people in the skills of the future. People are our real strength and resource in illimity, and the numbers go to show that: after little more than a year we can already count on 500 illimiters of all ages, people with a background in 120 different sectors, arriving from 19 countries and having an average age of 36. We have always set our sights on young people, right from our beginnings, and want to continue in this direction. It therefore gives us great pleasure to undertake this journey and arouse interest and readiness in the academic world, starting with a top-level partner such as MIP Politecnico di Milano”. 

Laura Grassi, MIP lecturer in finance and scientific director for the Master stated: “Concentrating on continuous training, selecting young talents, promoting the company’s business and involving the very managers who will lead the change are the distinctive features of this course. One in which MIP, the Politecnico di Milano’s business school, has made its expertise and know-how available and put its belief in the collaborative spirit of an initiative where teachers at key Italian universities will alternate in the classroom with renowned professionals and illimity top management”.