Free University of Bozen · Bolzano - Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Scientific coordinator:
Christian Manfred Lechner

Letizia Cirillo, Christian Linder, Marjaana Gunkel, Kurt MatzlerAlessandro Narduzzo, Michael Nippa,André Presse, Elisa Villani

Entrepreneurship deals with the creation of new firms, as well as the possibility to adopt an entrepreneurial logic within existing firms to allocate new resources and to start new projects (i.e. internal entrepreneurship). Innovation – in the broad sense we conceive it - lays on the development and the novel recombination of new and existing knowledge and capabilities. These processes of knowledge and capabilities recombination involve networks of individuals, firms and institutions. Innovation and entrepreneurship imply coping with uncertainty and complexity. Understanding innovation and entrepreneurship implies penetrating uncertainty and complexity, and this is why, despite the huge amount of studies and literature, both innovation and entrepreneurship are still marginally understood.

Entrepreneurship and innovation as complex subjects. This stream of research, both theoretical and empirical, aims at a better understanding of the two phenomena. Entrepreneurship and innovation are unanimously proposed as key drivers of economic growth, sustainable competitiveness, and social wealth; therefore, the impact of appropriate decisions on these matters is highly significant. To gain this better understanding, we tackle the complex nature of these phenomena and we study how decision makers deal with uncertainty. Most of these decisions problems are ill-structured, and therefore the traditional rational approach that requires a smooth and a well-structured descriptions of all the alternatives and all the consequences for each alternative (i.e. the problem space) is inappropriate. Another source of complexity is due to high level of interdependences among actors (e.g. networks of individuals, firms, institutions) that are involved in the decisions and contextual factors (e.g. legal frameworks, system of incentives, competitive pressures, traditions) that ultimately affect the final outcome in unpredictable ways.

Entrepreneurship-and-innovation as a whole. This second stream of research is aimed to investigate the complex dynamics that tie together entrepreneurship and innovation. By acknowledging that innovation goes beyond invention, as it implies the abilities to turn novelty into opportunity and business, we assume that entrepreneurship and innovation are half parts of the same phenomenon. Too often scholars, practitioners and politicians are focused on only one of the two halves, and they do not see them as interdependent. Is it wise to introduce policies that stimulate innovation, while ignoring the conditions that enable the creation of start-ups? Is the innovation that attracts new enterprises, or, vice versa, is a proper business environment open to new entrepreneurs the ultimate condition that attracts innovation from outside?

Entrepreneurship and innovation: the context. Another fundamental lens through which the combination of entrepreneurship-and-innovation will be analyzed is the role of context. Two lenses will be particularly important: the global and the local context. On the one hand, entrepreneurship-and-innovation will be studied as forms of internationalization, since the traditionally domestic boundaries are irrelevant to understand the current phenomena. On the other hand, it is important to study how an economic and production model that is traditionally rooted on family business (like South Tyrol, and, more in general, Northern-East Italy) is able to adopt and adapt, in order to exploit the possibilities offered by the entrepreneurship-innovation concept. To what extent the increasing role played by the individual capital and the social capital, that are the main sources of innovation and start-up creation are going to reshape the way family business will evolve?

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Faculty of Economics and Management - Secretariat Bozen/Bolzano
Universitätsplatz 1 - piazza Università, 1I - 39100 Bozen-Bolzano
T: +39 0471 013000F: +39 0471
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