Research undertaken by the Sapienza University of Rome highlights the strong bonds between SMEs and the ability to revamp production methods and strategies.
Corporate innovation, in terms of corporate dimensions, often brings to mind small or medium production organisations, almost as if only SMEs could engender the right environment to nurture creativity, research and innovation – a notion to be taken with a big pinch of salt, of course, but nonetheless based on facts. Through their recently published contribution in the journal Rivista Trimestrale di Scienza dell’amministrazione. Studi di teorie e ricerca sociale (Quarterly Review of Administration Science. Theoretical studies and social research), Renato Fontana, Ernesto Dario Calò and Milena Cassella (from the Sapienza University of Rome) have tried to better come to grip with this topic, focusing on the new versions of SMEs: start-up companies.
Indeed, “Ripartire dall’innovazione: PMI e start-up in Italia. Quali sono, quanto contano, come cambiano” (“Restarting from innovation: SMEs and start-ups in Italy. Which ones are they, how important are they, how do they change”) is a piece of research that aims to explore the extent and meaning of small and medium enterprises in Italy, especially in their most recent form as innovation start-ups, paying particular attention to their regional distribution.
The investigation starts by providing a good overview of the history of Italian SMEs and then examines more in depth the relationships the former have with innovative start-ups within the Italian entrepreneurial fabric. It subsequently outlines their characteristics, focusing especially on their ties with the territory, the “quality” of their human capital and the level of their know-how. All of this is then looked at in connection with the new context that arose after the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors explain that, in a hypothetical post-pandemic scenario, the solutions for a restart could be found in the long and important history of SMEs, a history that, more than any other, intersects with the need for organisational and systemic innovation demanded by the digital transformation, as well as with a growing necessity for resilience and flexibility. In other words, going beyond issues of capital availability, the innovation strength of SMEs lies in their abilities to bring together organisation and resilience, renovation and flexibility: basically, SMEs represent the tangible form of a corporate culture that might well end up becoming one of the most significant assets in the Italian industrial system.
Ripartire dall’innovazione: PMI e start-up in Italia Quali sono, quanto contano, come cambiano (“Restarting from innovation: SMEs and start-ups in Italy. Which ones are they, how important are they, how do they change”)
Renato Fontana, Ernesto Dario Calò, Milena Cassella (Sapienza University of Rome)
Rivista Trimestrale di Scienza dell’amministrazione. Studi di teorie e ricerca sociale (Quarterly Review of Administration Science. Theoretical studies and social research), 3/2021