Skills and Tools for High Tech Entrepreneurs

In this course we discuss theories and methods to help PhD students to see the technologies they are working with everyday with a new pair of glasses. It is like they are choosing the red pill and follow the rabbit down the hole!!

I remember last year’s panik of one of the students, after the first session and the first assignments “these papers that you have given us… I don’t understand them.. where is the model? where is the equation? it is mostly blah blah…”

Short description of the course:

The course is designed to introduce all Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna PhD students (i.e. both social and experimental scientists) to the fundamental skills and tools regarding technology management in general and high-tech entrepreneurship. In particular, both management and S&T students are invited to participate, as well as students from Laws and Political Science. This will allow a multidisciplinary approach. Management students will benefit from knowing the scientific literature and from interaction with their S&T colleagues who will bring real experiences. S&T students are expected to enhance their skills and learn new tools that will be useful for their research and/or managerial and/or entrepreneurial careers. The course will include some “traditional” one-way teaching but will be mostly based on students’ presentations and case study analysis.

Some external speakers (entrepreneurs, managers, consultants, etc.) will be also invited.

Schedule, topics, descriptions, readings

The course is divided into two parts. During the first five classes we will explore relevant theories from business studies that are useful to improve our skills on innovation management and entrepreneurship. Discussion of these theories will be extremely applied; relevant experience of S&T students will be key to exemplify concepts that we will explore in class.

After the Christmas break, we will provide relevant practical tools that are going to be useful to apply on the field.

The course will take place on Wednesday from 10 am to 1 pm, in Room 3
at Polo Sant’Anna Valdera, (Viale Rinaldo Piaggio, 34)  in Pontedera, with the following calendar.


Date Topic Required Readings Hours
Nov 14, 2012 


Introduction to innovation management 

Guest speaker: Nicola Redi, TT Venture

Nov 21, 2012 Open Innovation
& open business models
Di Minin, A., F. Frattini, and A. Piccaluga. 2010. Fiat: Open Innovation in a Downturn (1993-2003). California Management Review, 52(3): 132-59. (Group 1 summarizes and Group 2 exemplifies) 


Chesbrough, H.W. 2007. Why companies should have open business models. Mit Sloan Management Review, 48(2): 22-28.

(Group 3 summarizes and Group 4 exemplifies)

Nov 28, 2012 


University-industry collaborations: why and how Etzkowitz, H. 1997. Innovation in innovation: the Triple Helix of university-industry.-government relations. Social Science Information, 42(3): 293-337. 

(Group 5 summarizes and Group 6 exemplifies)


Kenney, M., Patton, D. 2009. Reconsidering the Bayh-Dole Act and the Current University Invention Ownership Model. Research Policy, 38(9): 1407–1422.

(Group 7 summarizes and Group 8 exemplifies)

Dec 5, 2012 


High-tech marketing 


Christensen, C.M., and M. Overdorf. 2000. Meeting the challenge of disruptive change. Harvard Business Review, 78(2): 66-78.
(Group 2 summarizes and Group 1 exemplifies) 


Slater, S., Mohr, J.J. 2006. Successful Development and Commercialization of Technological Innovation: Insights Based on Strategy Type. The Journal of Product Innovation Management, 23(1): 26-33.

(Group 4 summarizes and Group 3 exemplifies)

Dec 12, 2012 


Commodity trap and service based business models Chesbrough, H. The Case for Open Services Innovation: the commodity trap. California Management Review, 53(3): 5-20. 

(Group 6 summarizes and Group 5 exemplifies)

Gawer, A., and M.A. Cusumano. 2008. How companies become platform leaders. Mit Sloan Management Review, 49(2): 28-35.

(Group 8 summarizes and Group 7 exemplifies)

Jan 16, 2013 IP Management 


Guest speaker

Ing. Marco Celestino, ABM Pisa

Yoffie, D.B. 2005. Intellectual Property and Strategy. Harvard Business School, 2005 (April 7).
(only one short presentation by Group 1 ) 


Oliver Alexy, P.C., Ammon Salter. 2009. Does IP strategy have to cripple Open Innovation? Mit Sloan Management Review(Fall): 71-77.
(only one short presentation by Group 3 )

Jan 23, 2013 Business planning 


Guest Speaker:

Dott. Matteo Faggini, TT Advisor

Jan 30, 2013 Entrepreneurship 


Guest Speakers

Alessandro Fusacchia
Ministry of Economic Development

Matteo Piovanelli, SEM+

Clayton Christensen’s talk at the WEF in Davos 2013
(only one short presentation by Group 2) 


letter to the shareholders written by Mark Zuckerberg before the Facebook IPO
(only one short presentation by Group 4)

Feb 6, 


Newcos: administration and taxes 


Guest Speaker:

Giuseppe Iannone Studio Della Santina

No Readings Assigned 3
Feb 13, 2013 Presenting your ideas to finance people 

Guest speaker

Ing. Nicola Redi (TT Venture)

Groups’ presentations. 3

Student commitment

Upon enrolling into this course, students commit to come to class prepared to comment on the required readings. During the first lecture students will be divided into study groups, which will deliver in-class presentations. Attendance is compulsory.


Final Examination

A final take-home exam will take place at the end of the course. Further details about the exam will be given at the beginning of the course.




As in these days when you talk about start-ups, high-tech entrepreneurship, etc etc , you get so much attention… we got even a quite nice press coverage.
Check it out:






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