Strategic Management, Innovation, Learning and Entrepreneurship


Strategic Management, Innovation, Learning and Entrepreneurship

Mission and Vision

SMILE is driven by a mission to foster cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in the areas of strategic management, innovation, and entrepreneurship in all forms of organizations, addressed through the study of the cognitive-behavioral processes of individuals in the creation, management, development, governance, and change of organizations, as well as through the study of the systems of relationships between organizations, individuals, institutions, and territories.

Its vision is to become a leading research group recognized for producing impactful insights that shape academic thought and real-world business practices through active involvement with the School of Innovation.

Research Focus

The group specializes in various areas:

  • Strategic Management: Exploring the conception and design, formulation, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to ensure the sustainable future of organizations (profit, non profit, institutional, etc.).
  • Innovation: Investigating how innovation, innovative behaviors, and technological change can be effectively stimulated, managed and how it impacts territories, organizations, and their performance, industries, and economies.
  • Learning: Investigating and supporting the role of continuous learning in organizational adaptability and the impact on organizational culture and behaviours.
  • Entrepreneurship: Studying the process of creating, developing, and scaling new organizations, with particular interests in entrepreneurial decision-making and behavior, sustainability, entrepreneurial ecosystems and startup dynamics.
  • Governance: Analyzing how governance structures impact agents' (especially firms') behavior, understanding their determinants and their evolution, and measuring the social costs and benefits associated with them.


Andrea Caputo (responsible), Sandro Trento, Emilia Filippi, Loris Gaio, Alberto Nucciarelli, Alessandro Rossi, Erica Santini, Alessandra Scroccaro, Bob Bastian, Jacopo Staiano, Oksana Tokarchuk, Massimiliano Vatiero.

PhD students: Silvia Delladio, Pier Luigi Giardino, Ghazal Layeghi, Seckin Celik, Riccardo Lucarno

Activities and Output

SMILE organizes workshops, seminars, and conferences to disseminate its research findings. It regularly publishes in top-tier academic journals and contributes to business practices through case studies and policy recommendations.

Ongoing funded projects

  • Challenge-based Learning (CBL) - ECIU University
  • Digital Innovation Hub 
  • DIGITCHART - Governing the Commons: Building a Digital Archive of Community Charters from the 13th to the 19th Century in Ticino.
  • iNest - Interconnected Nord-Est Innovation Ecosystem (PNRR)
  • YOUCOOPE Project 
  • ZOOOM - 3Os and IP awareness raising for collaborative ecosystems
  • CIRCVET - Circular Transition Education for the Plastic Industry
  • PLOTTI - Place Leaders Of Twin Transition in the Italian local manufacturing systems
  • MARCHA - sMArT cities CHAllenges and opportunities: a participatory approach to the design of sustainable, creative and connected cities

Educational Contribution

The group plays a significant role in academic education, offering courses, challenges, innovative learning opportunities and supervising research projects in relevant undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate fields.

Community Engagement and Impact

SMILE is committed to making a tangible impact through its research. It engages the business community, policymakers, and the public to translate research findings into actionable insights. For this purpose, the SMILE members are part of the SMACT Observatory4.0

Innovation and Entrepreneurial Support

The group provides mentorship and support to budding entrepreneurs and innovators, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship within the university. The group is closely active in collaboration with the School of Innovation.

International Reach

With a global perspective, SMILE collaborates with international researchers and institutions to make a worldwide impact. SMILE’s members are also actively involved in the significant academies in their respective fields and regularly organize and manage tracks, symposia, and special issues.

Values and Culture

The group's core values are integrity, innovation, collaboration, and excellence. It nurtures an inclusive and diverse environment where ideas can flourish.