The 2024 Italia Innovation Program - July 1st to 19th

A new kind of Italian summer

Explore on the field the future of Italian brands and society with a world-class faculty


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Italia Innovation – operating across Italy and the U.S. – noticed an interesting resonance of voices: a few months apart from each other, both the VC legend Marc Andreessen and the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella stated: It’s time to build.

The 2024 Italia Innovation Program embodies this spirit, inviting a diverse cohort of global scholars to Italy for a groundbreaking exploration of the country’s economic innovation, international relations, and local politics. This three-week intensive course offers a unique window into Italy’s innovation through the Made in Italy lens, encompassing production, business, and political leadership, alongside local development.

Participants will engage in a rich tapestry of learning experiences, including site visits across Italy, specialized lectures, dialogues with key stakeholders, and dynamic interactive assignments.

The program’s foundation is built on case studies presented by leading Italian institutions and brands in high-end manufacturing and cultural sectors, offering an unparalleled opportunity to understand and contribute to Italy’s evolving narrative in the global landscape.

2024 Applications are now closed.

We are currently admitting those who have been selected from the first round and are reviewing applications received by the regular deadline of March 24th.


John Paul Rollert

Chicago Booth School of Business

John Paul Rollert’s teaching and research focus on the intellectual history of capitalism, the ethics of leadership, and the application of empathy to law, business, and politics. He is also interested in the political economy and moral philosophy of Adam Smith.

A graduate of Harvard College, Rollert earned his JD from Yale Law School and a PhD from The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Since 2005, he has taught courses at Harvard in ethics, politics, and leadership.

Danny Warshay

Brown University
Danny Warshay, founding Executive Director of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University, kickstarted his entrepreneurial career as an undergrad with Clearview Software, later acquired by Apple in 1989. Since then, he has successfully co-founded and sold multiple ventures across various industries. An esteemed educator since 2005, Warshay leads globally recognized workshops on entrepreneurship. His course, ENGN1010, The Entrepreneurial Process, stands as the top-rated course at Brown, inspiring his award-winning book, SEE SOLVE SCALE. Warshay holds a magna cum laude A.B. in History from Brown, with a year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

William Peduto

Mayor of Pittsburgh 2014-2022

Mayor Peduto led Pittsburgh through significant challenges, including state financial oversight, the COVID-19 pandemic, and social upheaval post-George Floyd’s murder, focusing on public-private partnerships. His $10 billion economic initiative in housing, tech, and medicine halved city debt and increased revenue by 20%. Peduto’s policies, including the Office of Equity and Sustainability, improved accountability, reducing homelessness, poverty, and crime, and boosting employment and diversity. These achievements earned him the 2020 Climate Protection Award and international recognition for Pittsburgh’s urban excellence. Peduto also represented North American mayors on the Global Covenant of Mayors’ Board.

Amy Goldstein

The Brookings Institution - 2002 Pulitzer Award
Amy Goldstein is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington, DC that she joined in 2024 following three dozen years as a staff writer at The Washington Post. At Brookings, she works in the Economic Studies program, affiliated with its Center on Health Policy and Center for Economic Security and Opportunity. At The Post, she was the newspaper’s national health-care policy writer and wrote widely about social policy issues. Goldstein was a White House correspondent and covered major events such as the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Supreme Court nominations. A 2002 Pulitzer Prize recipient for reporting on 9/11, she was also a 2009 Pulitzer finalist for a series on medical treatment of immigrants in federal detention. She is the author of “Janesville: An American Story” – a close-up of a small Midwestern city that lost thousands of jobs when the oldest operating General Motors assembly plant shut down during the Great Recession. A graduate of Brown University, she has been a fellow at Harvard University at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Elizabeth Segran

Fast Company
Elizabeth Segran is senior staff writer at Fast Company, whose work has appeared in a range of publications including The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Nation, The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Salon. Her book, The Rocket Years, was published in 2020 by Harper Books. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in the field of South and Southeast Asian Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality. She is an expert on India, having devoted a decade to studying its history, literature, culture and gender dynamics. She is a global nomad who grew up in Brussels, Paris, Singapore, Jakarta and London before moving to New York to attend Columbia University. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA with her books, her husband and her two daughters.

Peter Boatwright

Carnegie Mellon University

Peter Boatwright, director and co-founder of the Integrated Innovation Institute, specializes in innovation education and has coauthored two books on topics like product innovation and brand strategy. He oversees the Institute’s online programs, shaping its curriculum. Boatwright has consulted for companies across various industries, including Nissan, Apple, and Lockheed Martin. A faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University since 1997, he holds the Allan D. Shocker Professorship in Marketing and New Product Development at the Tepper School of Business.


Presented by leading Italian brands and institutions, and crafted in dialogue with our international and interdisciplinary faculty, Italia Innovation case studies provide participants with a unique perspective on local best practices and innovation opportunities.
Throughout the program, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the content of these cases, aided by direct interactions with CEOs, company site visits, and teamwork.

Here’s a list of past case studies, divided by industrial sector

Fashion, Textile and Apparel

Diesel Jeans
Italia Independent

Design and High-End Manufacturing

Tecnica Group
Selle Royal
Carraro Group
Riva 1920


Rigoni di Asiago
Pasta Mancini
Davide Longoni Pane
Loison Pasticceri

Wine, Spirits and Beverage

Casa Vinicola Zonin

Distillerie Fratelli Branca

Santa Margherita

Distillerie Nardini
Acqua Sant’Anna
Cantine Ferrari Trento
Caffè Vergnano

Personal Care, Home Care and Services


De Longhi Group

Vodafone Italia

Arts and Culture

Palazzo Grassi e Punta della Dogana

La Biennale di Venezia

Our Approach

Since 2015 we have developed more than 50 projects and case studies in Italy, establishing a connection between the research interests of international scholars and the capabilities of purpose-driven global businesses and institutions.


We bring you where change is about to happen

We conceive Italy as a campus, staging all the activities of our program in the cities, factories and landscapes that are central to the country’s social and economic development.

Once you’re in, we take care of almost* everything. Offering you a complete Italia Innovation experience from the academic side till housing, lunches and week-end experiences that fully embrace our contemporary take of the best of Italy.

*making sure to respect your resourcefulness!


9:00 am

Stand-up Meeting

9:30 am

Keynote Lecture

12:30 pm


2:00 pm

Field visit or Workshop

5:00 pm

End of day

The Italia Innovation Way

Thoughts and actions in changing places


Dates: Monday, July 1st to Friday, July 19th 2024

The program consists of an intensive three-week schedule, running daily from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekdays. 
On the weekends, Italia Innovation will curate immersive cultural experiences in various parts of the country, alongside module wrap-ups.

Big Questions

Case studies and Open Challenges will revolve around the following grand questions:


The program begins with the introduction of 10 case studies and open challenges, presented in person directly by the CEOs and owners of leading Italian business and cultural brands.

In this module, the class will discuss the state of Italy’s economy and society, receiving a first-hand outlook on current and upcoming business, political, and social issues from local academics and institutional figures. Specifically, the class will learn about Italy’s position within the EU and Western institutions, the social and cultural diversities of its regions, as well as the challenges and opportunities related to demography, technological innovation, and political reforms.

In this module, program fellows will learn about what makes ‘Made in Italy’ unique, blending the entrepreneurial philosophies of local manufacturing innovators with global business frameworks and technical insights on industry verticals. Module 3 activities will also inspire reflections on the geographical value of production, assessing both unrepeatable local features and exportable know-how.

Throughout the local development module, the class will explore another facet of Italy’s manufacturing sector: provincial clusters where a constellation of SMEs constitutes the backbone of Italy’s GDP and upon whose expertise global brands often rely. The hyper-specialization of Italy’s manufacturing clusters faces a moment of truth in the age of advanced robotics and AI. Questions arise: How might these middle towns develop into global epicenters capable of attracting new talents and innovation resources? Additionally, how might local communities that underpin Italy’s high-end and luxury brands adapt to the new era of hyperlocal marketing and production?

The final module of the program is dedicated to the leadership challenges that pertain to Italy and its core propositions. It explores what makes a good Italia Innovator, the global business and cultural issues where Italy can lead the way, and how Italian brands might embrace activism in a manner consistent with their shared values and vision. Heading towards the ethical dimension of Western political economy, the fellows will be invited to contextualize their embodied learnings and ideas in relation to the greater challenges of the 21st century.

The Program Finale will consist of a two-day retreat. On the first full day, fellows will be asked to complete their final writing assignment. The following day, the class will reconvene with representatives from the partner companies and institutions that provided its case studies and challenges for a communal share-back session. This retreat will be hosted in a special location within a primary Italian art city.

Costs and Financial Aid

The program has a participation fee that amounts to 6.500 €, which includes tuition, accommodation, meals and local transportation as described below.

Program Tuition

3.000 €

comprehensive of:

– Enrollment fee;
– Program material;
– VAT (22%)

Accommodation, Meals and Local Transportation

3.500 €

comprehensive of:

– 21 nights (from Sat, June 29th to Sat, July 20th 2024) in a shared double room with single beds in a 4 star superior hotel;
– Breakfast and lunches every week day;
– Local transportation for program activities;
– VAT (22%)

Cost Includes
Program Tuition 3.000 € - Enrollment fee
- Program material
- VAT (22%)
Accommodation, Meals and Local Transportation 3.500 € - 21 nights (from Sat, June 29th to Sat, July 20th 2024) in a shared double room with single beds in a 4 star superior hotel
- Breakfast and lunches every week day
- Local transportation for program activities
- VAT (22%)


The italiainnovation fund offers a limited series of full and partial tuition scholarships.


How can I apply?
The application process is articulated in two phases: fill out the application form and upload the required documents (a resume is mandatory, whereas the recommendation letter and the portfolio are optional). Within 15 days of applying, selected applicants are contacted for a video interview.

What type of candidates are you looking for?
While academic accomplishment is important, we consider many other factors such as strong personal qualities, special talents or excellences of all kinds, perspectives formed by unique circumstances, and the ability to take advantage of available resources and opportunities.

When is the application deadline?
There are two application deadlines: the early application deadline is on 25th February 2024, the regular application deadline is on 24th March 2024.

How does the admission process work?
Our admissions team will review all the applications received on an ongoing basis and then schedule a video interview with selected candidates. The final admission decision is made after the interview.

When will I be notified about the admission?
Within 15 days of applying, selected applicants will be contacted for a 15-minute video interview. Within 15 days of the interview, applicants receive an email with the application result.

Is there a deadline for me to accept the admission?

Yes, the deadline to accept the admission is 10 days after the admission notification.

Do I need a recommendation letter?

No, the recommendation letter is optional. If you do choose to include it in your application, it should be from a professional or academic contact expressing what he/she thinks of your potential to make an impact at Italia Innovation. Generic recommendation letters will not be considered.

How much does the Program cost?
The program has a participation fee that amounts to 6.500 €, which includes tuition, accommodation, meals and local transportation as described here.

What is included in the Program cost?
The participation fee includes tuition, accommodation, meals and local transportation. VAT which in Italy amounts to 22% is included in the fee.
Please note that it does not include the round trip to Italy and arrival from the airport to the program accommodation.

Are there scholarships available?
Yes, we provide need-based partial and full scholarships to cover the program tuition fee. Please note that scholarships are available only for applicants who submit their application by the early deadline (25th February).

Do you provide scholarships to cover accommodation, meals and transportation?
Unfortunately not, we only provide scholarships for the program tuition fee.

How do I apply for the scholarship?
In the application form you will find a section dedicated to the scholarship application.

When is the scholarship application deadline?
The deadline to apply for a scholarship follows the application deadlines: the early application deadline is on 25th February 2024, the regular application deadline is on 24th March 2024.

What is the deadline to pay the program fees?
The payment deadline is two weeks after admission notification.
You will receive the instruction for the payment and the payment deadlines together with the admission notification.

How many people are selected for the program?
The class will be composed of up to 40 participants.

What is the background of participants?
We believe diversity of perspectives and approaches can contribute to creating an outstanding creative environment. For this reason, we involve both undergraduate and graduate students with a diverse set of backgrounds including business, design, architecture, engineering, computer science, social and political sciences.

Is there any material I should read before the program starts?
Yes, we will provide a list of selected readings and the case studies dossier to all participants.

Where does the Program take place?
The main location for lodging and workshop activities is in Vicenza, in the heart of the Veneto Region. Some activities will take place at different locations around Italy and inside company headquarters.

Is accommodation included in the program fee?
Yes, the accommodation for the entire duration of the program is included in the program fee.

Are meals included in the program fee?
Breakfast and Lunch during the week is always included.

Is local transportation included in the program fee?
Transportation to and from the program accommodation for the company visits is arranged and covered by Italia Innovation.
Transportation for the immersive week-end excursions are included in the program fee.
Transportation to the program accommodation upon arrival from the train station/airport is not included in the program fee and needs to be arranged by the participant. Italia Innovation will support participants with directions and logistics to navigate the local transportation system. The same applies to the departure from the program accommodation on the last day after check-out.

Do I need a Visa to participate?
It depends on your nationality and your country of residence.
To understand whether you need a VISA or not, you can check here.