L’Italy is tackling the challenge ofinnovation but the adoption of new technologies it is not homogeneous. In some fields, it finds itself in an excellent position, in others it denotes a worrying weakness. It is therefore not surprising that the European Commission in the’European Innovation Scoreboard placed us in the category of moderate innovators, with a score below the EU average again in 2022, albeit with a clear improvement over the last few years. A judgment that summarizes very well what good has already been done and what still needs to be achieved.
“In the three-year period 2018-2020, more than one in two Italian companies (56% compared to 51% of the EU average), among those with at least ten employees, launched innovation projects for their business – he takes stock Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Cdp) in an intervention contained in the Observatory on the ecological transition of the Italian economy and businesses (born within the States General of the green economy) – Corresponding shares are also recorded among the SMEs, while among the larger ones (with at least 250 employees) eight out of ten fall into the category of innovators, in line with the European figure. Innovations tend to be mostly linked to business processes, which affect 47% of Italian companies (70% of larger ones). In 30% of cases (53% of the larger ones) they also involved the product, good or service, generating a turnover of approximately 268 billion euros13.5% of the total by 2020″.
Cdp then notes how Italian companies resort to supporting these innovation strategies significant investments in machinery and equipment, through which new process technologies are progressively integrated within organizations. In this context, Italy is characterized by an investment rate in tangible assets among the highest recorded globally. In the 2019-2020 average, in relation to GDP, the value of gross fixed investments in this type of asset was equal to 5.3%, compared to the 4.5% recorded by Germany and 3.4% by France.
The sore points come from intangible investments. In the case of the purchase of software and databases, the value of gross fixed investments in relation to GDP was equal to 1.6% on average for 2019-2020, higher than the German figure (0.8%), but lower than that of all the other main advanced economies, led by France (3.5%). The delay in the adoption of digital technologies is particularly accentuated in SMEs. In the case of formal research and development (R&D) activities, investments were equal to 1.6% of GDP on average for 2019-2020, almost half the German value (3.1%) and two thirds of the French one ( 2.3%).
“There lower propensity for private spending on R&D in Italy compared to international partners, it is strongly influenced by less production specialization in high-tech sectors and, within these sectors, by less control of the upstream phases of the value chain relating to design, research and development – we read in the document by Cdp – Another delay that Italy is called upon to fill is that relating to the degree of connection, within the innovation ecosystem, between the world of public research (universities and research centres) and the production system” .
And this is a real own goal for our country, given that Italy boasts one of the most prolific scientific communities in the world. We are the seventh largest power in the world according to data from National Science Foundationas well as second among European countries (after Germany) in publications in the field Science & Engineering.
“Putting the world of public research and that of businesses in a stable and structured connection would thus help to bring out an innovative potential that is still unexpressed today, which would also translate into a greater patent intensity in Italy”, he concludes Cdp.