The Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS) is a scientific organ of the National Research Council (CNR), established in 2014, following the merger of the Institute for Service Industry Research (IRAT) and the Supporting Operational Unit of Naples of the Institute for International Legal Studies (ISGI), both of which were founded in the early ‘80s.

The mission of IRISS is the study of innovation and services for the development of the international competitiveness of firms and territories. These are the two contexts in which economic, cultural and social value is generated. Themes are discussed according to a systemic and interdisciplinary approach that integrates economic and business perspectives, urban planning and management perspective and, last but not least, legal perspective, that cross-cuts all the research interests of the Institute.

Consistently with its mission, the research interests of IRISS are the result of the sets of knowledge, expertise and experiences of the two previous Institutes. Specifically, they are structured in the following macro-areas:

This research macro-area represents the Institute’s core research activity, absorbing most of the human and financial resources. The basic idea is that innovation has to be considered a strategic tool to systematically generate new ideas and to finalize them in an entrepreneurial context. In particular, for a country with a mature economy like Italy, with high prevalence of SMEs, under increasing pressure of emerging countries, innovation orientation has to be a strategic driver for development and competitiveness.
The main issues addressed include: Service Innovation and Management, as a strategic driver for competitiveness in Knowledge Society; Inter-organizational Collaboration as a propulsive factor for innovation and, lastly, Entrepreneurship between Social Challenges and Innovation, as a means to provide innovative solutions to unsolved social problems.Research is mostly focused on some key sectors for competitiveness of our country: Tourism and Cultural Heritage, Knowledge-Intensive Services (Knowledge-Intensive Business Services – KIBS), Agri-food, Transport and Logistics, Biotechnologies, Mechanical and Engineering Sector,Textile, Insurance, Health and Social Services.

The need to reverse the trend to the impoverishment of territorial resources is the background of this research area, which leads to interpret the orientations of planning also in a “smart growth” perspective. In this respect, local development is addressed, paying particular attention to recycling and repurposing of existing spaces; to spatial, social and economic regeneration of strategic urban areas as well as to the creation of spaces for cultural integration – also with a creative approach. In this field, the Institute focuses on the following issues:  a) Technological innovation and design of innovative urban services (smart city); b) Governance and strategic environmental and urbanistic assessment; c) Participatory model building and strategies for social engagement; d) Urban security and socio-environmental vulnerability; e) Preservation and enhancement of Cultural Heritage (tangible and intangible) and local identity; f) Juridical outlines of the concept of sustainable development, with particular reference to the social and environmental perspectives and which arise from these dimensions for territorial policies and development processes.

The underlying purpose of this research area, recently developed, is to investigate the current situation of migrations to provide methods, models and guidelines also, and in particular, to the Countries of origin of migrants, so that they themselves could benefit from the advantages arising from the generation of value (economic, social and cultural) connected with migratory phenomena. The premise is that in current societies, significantly characterized by globalization,  the pair “migrations and development” has to be analyzed in close connection with the mobility of tangible and intangible assets, consisting of capitals, goods, services, knowledge, ideas and values, in the awareness that migrants are vehicle for innovative ideas, technology transfer and dissemination of knowledge.

All the research areas benefit from a thick network of collaborations with national and international entities, mainly in the institutional field (Italian and foreign Universities, research institutions, public and private organizations, international organizations, NGO), with which the Institute has established profitable and long-term relationships.

The Director of the Institute is Massimo Clemente.

Click here to download IRISS’ Bylaws.

Knowledge Transfer

Over the years, the Institute has gained a remarkable expertise in knowledge transfer and innovation to increase competitiveness and human capital development.

The Institute is one of the Founding Members and Headquarters/seat of an international network, The Tourism Intelligence Forum or t-FORUM, whose mission is to contribute to knowledge transfer in Tourism by creating local networks, named Local Action Group (LAG), consisting of diverse entities (universities and research institutions, businesses and destination stakeholders). This initiative, consistent with the vision of the European Commission on Knowledge Society, is bound to have significant impact on the sector, given the prevalence of small and, often, very small enterprises, which can not invest in innovation. The association has benefited from high visibility on the occasion of the international conference organized by IRISS in Naples from 4 to 7 May 2015 entitled “The t-FORUM 2015 Global Conference: Tourism Intelligence in Action”.

Efforts on innovation in the agrifood industry has promoted the participation of the Institute in World Expo Milano 2015. In this respect, some best practices in the field of agricultural multifunctionality in Italy have been analyzed, involving more than 15 small enterprises. Success stories have been presented at the workshop “The new farm between production and territory: environmental protection, energy and social role of agriculture”, acting as a tool for knowledge transfer and identification of possible paths for strategic development at national and international level.

As regards human capital enhancement and talent development, the Institute has committed itself to organizing higher education programs, able to promote employability and inclusion of students in the labour market, supporting also self-entrepreneurhsip. In particular, at the end of some higher education courses within the PON R&C 2007-2013 Programme, (“Expert in Experience Design” and “Territorial Improvement and Social Community Management”), already aimed at developing entrepreneurial competences, some teams of students have decided to keep meeting at the IRISS seat to start associational and/or entrepreneurial activities. The Institute has actually become an “informal” lab, where comparison and discussion between diverse and complementary professions allows a constant information and knowledge sharing, thus creating the perfect environment where new business ideas can naturally arise.