Research Lines

The School focuses on three main areas of research – management, applied economics and industrial engineering.
Around these broad research topics, the School organizes some multi-disciplinary research activities called research lines. They draw on the competencies developed within the three research areas and integrate them to address emerging scientifically challenging issues of great practical and societal relevance.

Sustainability and Social Challenges

Sustainability and Social Challenges

The research line studies how business enterprises and other organizations contribute to tackle the big societal and environmental challenges of today.
We investigate the ecosystem for sustainability and social inclusion (e.g. impact investment, policies), strategy and innovation for sustainable value, new governance models (e.g. hybrid ventures, partnerships). We also develop instruments and methods for sustainability, from performance measurement to process redesign and work safety practices.

New Dynamics & Impact of Globalization

New Dynamics & Impact of Globalization

The main issues analyzed consider international economic integration, multinational firms’ competitiveness and strategies, and the effects on growth and convergence across and within countries.
In this context, macroeconomic policies for economic and financial stability, microeconomic policies on industrial sectors, local competitiveness and sustainability are evaluated balancing the necessity of a deep theoretical grounding with the added value of a strong applied econometric focus.

Health and Social Care Management

Health and Social Care Management

Researchers involved in this research line carry out cutting-edge applied research at the intersection among technology, medicine and management to advance health and social care. Researches deals with Service and Operations Redesign, Digital Transformation, New Medical Technologies, Real-World Evidence and Policy-Making. All researchers share the belief for a multi-specialty approach that integrates different perspectives and methods and for collaborative research with leading Institutions in Italy and Europe.

Challenges in Supply Chain Management

Challenges in Supply Chain Management

Organizations are coping with their global networks to deploy
their strategies and optimize
their performance.

The complexity of supply chain activities highlights
crucial hot topics in supply chain directors’ agendas,
from financial performance optimization to sustainability, from risk mitigation to new digital technologies.

All these elements must be considered in designing and managing new frontiers
in key supply chain areas: sourcing, operations planning, logistics and distribution.

Innovation & Design Leadership in the Age of Distributed Knowledge

Innovation & Design Leadership in the Age of Distributed Knowledge

Innovation used to be rare. The mantra was “we need more innovation”. Today, creativity is diffused, and ideas can be easily accessed digitally. The consequence? The new challenge is not quantity, but quality. Not more innovation, but what is meaningful for society, users, and businesses. This research helps leaders to navigate the new nature of innovation and design: how to find a direction in a changing world? How to engage communities of scientists, innovators, and users? How to frame alliances, and design open processes so that talent serves a collective purpose, beyond individual goals?

Innovating Public Services and Cultural Institutions

Innovating Public Services and Cultural Institutions

This research line aims to tackle the challenges attaining to public service providers and cultural institutions.
These entities share the willingness to contribute to better citizenship, community development and finally Public Value.

The projects embedded in this research line tackle: Management, regulation and innovation of public interest sectors; Performance measurement and management in public organizations; Service provision choices; Transformation trends, such as digital innovation, networked governance; Evaluation of the public sector’s policies and activities.

Market Driven Business Model Design & Innovation

Market Driven Business Model Design & Innovation

Levers to develop, manage and assess omnichannel marketing actions. Analysis of role and relevance of rational and visceral factors in individuals’ decisions, with a special focus on purchase-related behaviours.
Attribution modelling for marketing mix and omnichannel communication. Evolution of roles and competencies in marketing and communication profiles. Impacts of big data on Customer Relationship Management. Impacts of customer centricity on business models.

Energy Management, Policy and Economics

Energy Management, Policy and Economics

The research line Energy Management, Policy and Economics
has mostly focused on the main
waves of innovation who have affected the energy industry
in the last decade.

The transition towards a decarbonised economy and a
more sustainable energy generation and consumption
gave the start to
dramatic changes in the industry.

Digital Innovation and Transformation

Digital Innovation and Transformation

The Digital Innovation and Transformation research line investigates the multifaceted impacts of Digital Disruption on industry, policy and society.
The research points at how new digital technologies determine:
(i)the reshaping of markets’ boundaries through cross-industry convergence; (ii)the rise of innovative digitally-enabled business models from new entrants and startups; (iii)the need for incumbents and public institutions to develop new digital strategies, policies and skills.

Manufacturing of the Future: Industry 4.0

Manufacturing of the Future: Industry 4.0

Manufacturing is fundamental
for job and wealth creation.

Our School aims at researching digital, advanced,
sustainable & energy efficient, lean,
social & human-centric
manufacturing and logistics paradigms
as ways to foster industry competitiveness.

Product life-cycle practices – including product-service
systems approaches,
operations excellence, quality and
asset management methodologies – are explored.

Finally, the research also addresses the new skills,
competencies
and work organization practices in Industry 4.0.

Entrepreneurship, Finance & Venture Growth

Entrepreneurship, Finance & Venture Growth

The research line investigates topics at the intersection of entrepreneurship, finance, and innovation. It focuses attention on venture capital, business angels, crowdfunding, IPOs and alternative financing channels, business model innovations and the economic impact of high-tech and social start-ups, entrepreneurial teams and behavioral entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystem dynamics and policies to foster entrepreneurship and firm growth. The research line has great visibility in the international scientific community, documented by several publications in top scientific journals including Science, and great impact on business and policy-making circles through its outstanding practice-oriented research activities.

Sustainability and Social Challenges

The research line studies how business enterprises and other organizations contribute to tackle the numerous big challenges that are crossing society and the environment, locally and globally.

In the first place, we know that corporate performances and the overall prosperity of countries can hardly improve in a lasting manner if companies fail to take into consideration their stakeholders of today and tomorrow. At the same time, it should be emphasised that in many circumstances corporations are a positive agent of change, and not only because they serve efficiently and effectively their own customers. The engagement of private players is necessary to progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, as claimed by the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations. Established firms and new ventures, alone or in partnerships with other private or public players, can create a truly sustainable value. They can develop technological, organizational, institutional innovations, and put in place solutions and operational practices that maximize economic growth, social cohesion and environment conservation in a balanced way.

For these reasons concepts such as responsible business, social innovation, sustainable business models, industrial sustainability, green transition, resources efficiency and circularity, gender equality and inclusion, workers’ health and safety, have an increasing weight in the School of Management’s research. We investigate the ecosystem for sustainability and social inclusion (e.g. impact investment, policies), strategy and innovation for sustainable value, new governance models (e.g. hybrid ventures, cross-sectoral partnerships). Furthermore, as a School that operates at the intersection between engineering, management and economics, we also aim to develop new methods, instruments and solutions that make sustainability happen. We do research on corporate processes, performance measurement, work practices, operations and technologies for sustainable development, across the economy and in given industries.

PROJECTS

  1. Social Impact measurement
  2. Measurement of the contribution of large corporations to socio-economic development
  3. Policies, Processes and Tools for Promoting Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)
  4. Promoting gender equality and inclusion in business and academic contexts
  5. Food waste reduction
  6. Corporate social innovation
  7. Sustainability in fashion and luxury industries
  8. Food sustainability Observatory
  9. Circular management of water resources
  10. Green Economy Transition (GET) Programmes
  11. Climate economics and modeling

New Dynamics and Impact of Globalization

In the recent past we have witnessed profound changes in the modalities and characteristics of the international integration of countries and firms, with important consequences for the relations between countries, internally to the countries themselves, and for firms’ behavior and strategies. Economic policies and existing institutions have proved only partially adequate to manage the globalization of the 21st century, and should be rethought in the light of the new international scenario. This research line addresses these issues both theoretically and empirically, using different perspectives and methodologies.

The analysis considers both domestic and multinational enterprises as organizations embedded in a global context formed by economic, social, technological, political and institutional factors, which collectively affect the operations of business. Studying firms’ decision making and their strategic interacting on the markets, the influence of both external forces and formal and informal institutions and policies at national and international level is taken into account. The effects of industrial and institutional dynamics, economic geography and global integration, as well as regulation, industrial and innovation policy, and macroeconomic policies are analyzed and evaluated. Attention is reserved to the global concern of efficient use of resources and environment conservation and the development and integration of lower income countries.

The research is conducted through the development of theoretical frameworks and the use of quantitative (especially econometric) methods for the analysis, and through the development  of datasets on the different research topics of interest, also building specific indicators for the analysis of problems.

PROJECTS

  1. Financial crisis, global imbalances and monetary policy rules, FARB Politecnico
  2. Microfoundation of and behavioural issues in International Business, FARB Politecnico
  3. The World Trade Network, PRIN MIUR
  4. New actors in the global arena, EU Cost Action
  5. International growth strategies, offshoring, reshoring and restructuring of the GVCs, free research (with some funding)
  6. Microeconomic and macroeconomic implications of firms’ internationalization and innovation strategies: the role of demand and informational barriers
  7. Multinational companies, linkages and development, Polisocial
  8. Digital export and SMEs’ competitiveness, Osservatorio Export Digitale
  9. Policies for internationalization, private funding

Healthcare and Social Care Management and Innovation

Researchers involved in this research line carry out cutting-edge applied research at the intersection among Technology, Medicine and Management to radically advance healthcare and social care as they are organized and managed today, with respect to five main domains.

  1. Management and Innovation through Service and Operations Redesign. Researches in this domain deal with “Lean” operations and logistics, technology assets management and maintenance, clinical risk management and governance, co-design and co-production of clinical pathways, patient empowerment and health literacy.
  2. Management and Innovation through Digital Transformation. Researches in this domain deal with Telemedicine and eHealth, Connect Care and Internet of Things (e.g., Wearables), digitally-enabled services to citizens and patients, maturity models for shifting from “traditional” to “smart” hospitals and Institutions.
  3. Management and Innovation through New Medical Technologies. Researches in this domain deal with technology-enabled innovations (drugs, medical devices and equipment) and new medical technologies development from the Lab to the market, exploitation strategies of R&D outputs and business model innovation.
  4. Management and Innovation through Real-World Evidence. Researches in this domain deal with Impact Assessment and Health Technology Assessment (HTA), Disinvestment and re-Investment (PBMA), Artificial Intelligence and Clinical Analytics, Precision Medicine and Personalized Care, Hospital performance measurement and Patient Choices.
  5. Management and Innovation through Policy-Making. Researches in this domain deal with chronic care and healthy ageing, value-based healthcare and innovation of both governance and mechanisms for the procurement of drugs and medical devices, Evidence-Based Policy-Making and Management.

Despite the variety of research topics, all researchers involved in this research line share the belief for a multi-specialty approach that integrates different perspectives, methods and experiences as well as the need for collaborative research with leading Institutions in Italy and Europe. In this regards, well-established relationships have been created over time with key players in the health and social care landscape, both in Italy and Europe, as shown by the projected taken as example.

Energy Management, Policies and Economics

The research line Energy Management, Policy and Economics has mostly focused on the main waves of innovation who have affected the energy industry in the last decade. The transition towards a decarbonised economy and a more sustainable energy generation and consumption gave the start to dramatic changes in the industry.

A first stream studies the renewable sources, the role of storage systems and the impact on the electric market. A second stream focuses on the energy efficiency paradigm, at the level of both residential, office, service sector buildings and industrial processes, and the energy management practices. A third area studies the effect of the convergence between digital technologies and energy management and the smart energy paradigm (smart homes, smart communities and smart cities). A fourth area concerns the smart mobility (especially the electric car and its impact on the electric market). The fifth and more recent research stream deals with the sustainable use of critical /scarce resources, e.g. the field of water management and the adoption of circular economy approaches.

In each stream the following topics are studied: the process of diffusion of new technologies and the related cost-benefit analysis, the barriers against the adoption of new technologies, the role and effects of policies, regulations and incentive schemes on both supply and demand, the market demand applications and segmentation, the supply chain: competitive analysis, profit pool mapping, mergers and acquisition processes.

A fifth and more recent research stream deals with the sustainable use of critical /scarce resources, e.g. the field of water management and the adoption of circular economy approaches.

A sixth research area has to do with the design, management, and delivery of megaprojects and the identification of policies and practices leading to an appropriate commissioning.

Market Driven Business Model Design and Innovation

This research line studies, in a customer-centric perspective, business models, marketing and organizational practices. This implies embracing customer behaviour, marketing practice, marketing strategy and marketing organization. With respect to customer behaviour, our objective is to increasingly mix – thanks to the collaboration with Ph.E.E.L., the biomarketing lab of Politecnico di Milano – traditional and innovative, neuroscience– and bioscience-related methods to understand the balance between rational and visceral factors in decision-making. At a marketing practice level, we study innovative marketing tools and methods and emerging communication levers (social networks, mobile, programmatic adv, etc.) and their impact on customers and businesses. Furthermore, we investigate how data may be effectively and efficiently collected, managed and used all throughout the possible interfaces with the market, from communication to marketing mix, from customer management to CRM, in order to improve the quality of business decisions. In terms of marketing strategy, we observe and analyse how the evolutions in the markets and the growing possibilities enabled by technologies impact on business models both in B2C and B2B contexts, modifying value propositions, customer relationships, revenue models and partners in value creation. This implies not only the growing relevance of servitization, but also the overall structure of the advertising and communication market, the evolving roles and prerogatives of different industries (financial services, manufacturing, commodity markets, utilities, telco, media companies, etc.) and the evolution of the role of retailing when embracing the challenge of customer centricity. Finally, at an organizational level, we study the marketing profiles and skills needed to embrace the challenges of contemporary markets, the levers to develop them internally – with a special focus on the case of B2B companies, where new marketing skills are needed to face the change in business environments, or through external collaborations, and we analyse how marketing performance measurement systems must evolve in order to embrace the growing complexity, studying attribution modelling in marketing mix and communication.

PROJECTS

  1. Needs-based segmentation of television audience
  2. Context-based television advertisement placement
  3. Enabling customer centricity
  4. Native Advertising: exploring the role of the context
  5. Innovative corporate services digitally enabled
  6. Osservatorio Multicanalità
  7. Osservatorio Omnichannel Customer Experience

Innovating Public Services and Cultural Institutions

This research line aims to tackle the challenges attaining to public service providers and cultural institutions. These entities share the willingness to contribute to better citizenship, community development, wellbeing and finally Public Value. Notwithstanding they are pressured by similar challenges such as budget constraints, aging of personnel, increasing complexity of operations, diffusion of networked governance, disaffection of people to some form of public life and propensity to question governments’ decisions, competing demands on common resources.

The projects embedded in this research line tackle those issues with a dual perspective. The line takes thematic perspectives, e.g. on digital transformation or networked governance. This enhances knowledge on the cross-cutting challenges linked to Public Value creation. On the other hand projects address specific sectors (for example education or performing arts) or areas (water policy, smart cities), contributing to the vertical advancement.

PROJECTS

  1. Saving water through pricing policy
  2. Innovating Management of local governments 
  3. Integrated performance measurement systems for cultural institutions
  4. Analytics and Big Data for Decision Making in the Public Sector
  5. The effectiveness of the Home Care Premium Programme: a Policy Evaluation
  6. Resilience of Critical Infrastructure: governance, collaborative solutions and risk analysis 
  7. Public Administration Open Community (PAOC)
  8. Assessing Innovation Policy
  9. Good Practice (GP)
  10. Osservatorio Innovazione Digitale nei Beni e Attività Culturali

Innovation and Design Leadership in the Age of Distributed Knowledge

The progress of society is sustained by the formidable curiosity and creativity of human beings. In the Age of Distributed Knowledge, new ideas, markets, products often come from communities of individuals who interact in formal and informal ways across diverse geographical, cultural, and institutional environments.

This diffused creativity is an opportunity, and a challenge.

An opportunity because, thanks to digital technologies, it is nowadays easy to access an unprecedented amount of ideas, wherever they are.

A challenge because this overflow of ideas moves the problem one level higher: now that we are overcrowded by ideas, how do we choose where to go? Which innovation direction creates value for society, users, and businesses? Which process do we need to manage these complex flows of ideas and knowledge?

This new scenario marks a dramatic shift in the nature of innovation: if the mantra of innovation strategies and policies was we need “more” innovation, the focus, in a world where opportunities are abundant, is we need “meaningful” innovation. A shift from quantity to quality.

This line of research addresses the challenges of those who wish to become leaders of innovation in the age of distributed knowledge. On the one hand it looks at sources of creativity in design, science and technology. It studies the nurturing of innovation communities, technological alliances and innovation processes in a world of digital social networks.

On the other hand, it identifies the mindset and processes to build quality and meaning in innovation: co-creating a direction, engaging people around a new meaningful image of the future, recognizing value, reframing, adapting, opening the boundaries of the innovation process to capture the ideas and knowledge that sustain the chosen direction.

Ultimately, we strive to provide innovation and design leaders with the ability to stimulate and contribute to innovation communities, where talent and intellectual acumen serve collective purposes, beyond individual goals.

PROJECTS

  1. Finding a Meaningful Direction in a Changing World
  2. IDeaLs – Innovation and Design as Leadership
  3. Novel insights on alliances and acquisitions for external knowledge sourcing
  4. Designing Open and Distributed Innovation Processes
  5. Crowd and citizens science
  6. Design Thinking for Business
  7. International mobility, diversity and research
  8. Effectiveness of IPR systems and innovation with digital technologies
  9. Innovation in Retail
  10. Innovation and Design Policies

Challenges in Supply Chain Management

Organizations in all industries are facing challenges within their upstream and downstream global networks, orchestrating a multitude of multi-tier suppliers and customers along their distribution structure. All those actors are key players in innovating and deploying companies strategies and optimize their performance. The complexity of supply chain activities nowadays highlights crucial hot topics in supply chain directors’ agendas, from financial performance optimization across the whole networks, and the sharing of those benefits, to sustainability and ethical issues also outside the boundaries of the firm; from risk mitigation and resilience to unexpected events, to the disruptive opportunities created by new digital technologies. All these elements must be considered in taking decisions when designing and managing new frontiers in key supply chain areas: sourcing, operations planning, logistics and distribution.

PROJECTS

  1. Supply Chain risk management and resilience
  2. Supply Chain Management in Engineer-To-Order contexts
  3. Sustainable, ethical and circular supply chains
  4. Collaborative new product design
  5. Supply Chain Finance
  6. International Purchasing Survey
  7. International Research Study in Public Procurement 
  8. Logistics and B2c eCommerce 
  9. Contract Logistics 
  10. Exploration of collaborative solutions in grocery supply chain 

Digital Innovation and Transformation

The Digital Innovation and Transformation research line investigates the multifaceted and multidimensional impacts of Digital Disruption on industry, institutions, policy and society as a whole. The research points at how new digital technologies, solutions and trends – e.g., internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain – determine: (i) the reshaping of existing markets’ structure and boundaries in a broader cross-industry convergence phenomenon, and the rise of new digital B2B and B2C markets – e.g. mobile commerce, digital payments, social media, sharing economy, smart home, smart car, internet media; (ii) the rise of innovative digitally-enabled  business models launched by new entrants and startups, resulting from the execution of a holistic Digital Strategy – e.g. data-driven business models, mMultisided-Platforms business models, Sharing Economy business models; and (iii) the need for incumbents and public institutions to develop new strategies, policies and skills to make the most of the entrepreneurial, strategic and organizational opportunities of Digital Innovation.

PROJECTS

  1. Digitally-enabled business model design, validation and innovation
  2. Smart working and digitally-enabled forms of work organisation
  3. Egovernment and digital transformation of public administrations
  4. Internet of things
  5. Digital transformation supporting B2B relationships
  6. Building information modeling and management