January 31st 2024

Generating Value from Ideas: A Guest Lecture on Innovation and Technology Management

Insights into the online panel discussion with Raffaella Manzini, Professor at Carlo Cattaneo University

Our first guest lecture in January 2024 started with an exciting online event. We had the pleasure of welcoming Mrs. Raffaella Manzini from Italy. She is Professor of Technology and Innovation Management within the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University Carlo Cattaneo – LIUC in Italy. These topics are her passion within the area of research and teaching. Raffaella shared her thoughts about the complex and for industrial engineers’ truly relevant topic “The Challenge of Managing Technology and Innovation” with our students. Raffaella mentioned that she has been part of LIUC since the early beginnings and has accompanied the development of the University located in Castellanza. The idea of founding and raising a local university in the surrounding of industry was an innovation at that time.

There are lots of different definitions that try to describe innovation. We’re talking, hearing and seeing a lot about innovation, and we all have an intuitive definition of it. The definition of John Bessant is the one that fits most in Raffaella’s eyes: Innovation is “generating value from ideas”. She added that ideas that remain on papers or documents never create value – neither social nor economic values. It is interesting to hear that social perspectives were not considered for many years, but they have become more and more important until now. Ideas are not the main force behind innovation. There are so many factors behind it, like creativity, inspirations and technology, to name just a few. The aim is to transform ideas into values, which is a big challenge in itself, as it is always risky. The process is accompanied by many obstacles like regulations, uncertainties, climate change, financial aspects, and individuals who do not understand the idea of value.

People are somehow expecting technical innovations to reduce and solve problems. Raffaella encouraged our students, stating that industrial and management engineers play a key role in all these steps of transforming ideas into values. It is important to bring together engineers from many different parts to take the idea and create an environment to transform it into value. It is very important to track curiosity with the aim of finding something new under consideration to take care of the ethics of technology. Innovation demands many properties, like flexibility, adaptability, and being open to other disciplines. Innovation is a matter of technological fusion. Not to forget the acceptance of failure. Failure is part of innovation and needs to be considered as part of the process.

We closed the event with some further information about the existing double degree of MCI and LIUC we launched during the fall semester of 2023/24 for the first time. We are happy about the collaboration and are proud to offer added value to our students.

Thank you to Raffaella Manzini for sharing her inspiring thoughts with our students.