Europe. The Illusion of Advanced Services
POLITICAL SCIENCES |

Europe. The Illusion of Advanced Services

IN THE FUTURE, IT WON'T BE ABOUT WHO MANUFACTURES THE INDIVIDUAL COMPONENT OF THE ELECTRIC CAR, BUT THE ABILITY TO MANAGE THE WHOLE PROCESS, ALBERTO BRAMANTI EXPLAINS IN A FORTHCOMING ESSAY WHICH UNDERLINES THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN UNIVERSITIES AND FIRMS

Alberto Bramanti calls it “the advanced services hangover”. He refers to the belief, widespread until 2008, that the service industry is the driving sector in advanced and increasingly urbanized economies. “I would rather say that Italy’s future lies in the manufacturing sector”, the Bocconi Associate Professor says. There are several reasons for that. The manufacturing sector is a powerful driver of innovation. It attracts highly qualified employees. Exports consist mainly of manufactured products. Its value chains are varied and widespread.
 
“The crisis has shown that if you don’t safeguard competencies on concepts and processes you will end up losing the competition over markets. In the future, it will not matter who produces the components of an electric car, but the ability to manage the entire process. Italy should leverage its models of territorial proximity and industrial districts where the producers of the means of production and the producers of the final product stand shoulder to shoulder”. In the article “New Manufacturing Trends in Developed Regions. Three Delineations of New Industrial Policies: ‘Phoenix Industry’, ‘Industry 4.0’, and ‘Smart Specialization’”, which will be featured in a collective book on innovation edited by Ulrich Hilbert and published by Routledge, Professor Bramanti addresses the challenge that three advanced manufacturing regions are facing in the upgrade of their innovation strategies: West Midlands (England), Baden-Württemberg (Germany) and Lombardy (Italy).
 
“Every case is different, but these three regions are facing the same challenge: to make a complex ecosystem work. The skills and knowhow accumulated locally must be integrated with capabilities on process technologies. In Italy, there is the need to further strengthen scientific and technical knowledge. We must strengthen the linkages between the university system and manufacturing firms, says Bramanti. “We must encourage mobility between industry and research, for instance by promoting professional practice doctorates, and focusing on technological start-ups. However, there are no easy recipes,” he concludes.

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