Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?.
My name is Monica Calcagno, I was born in Genoa and I spent part of my student life moving from one city to another. Eventually, when I arrived in Venice, I graduated in Economics and Business and then chose a PhD in Business Administration, at the end of which I started working in the former Department of Economics and Business Management, now Department of Management. I teach courses in Innovation Management, Cultural Production Management and Business Management, and my research focuses on managing creativity and innovation, the role of design as a driver of management training, and the digital transformation of cultural institutions. I specialise in the areas that make up the so-called Cultural and Creative Industries.
What are you most passionate about in your research?
It is hard to pinpoint what motivates me most. If I look at the process of research, even thinking about the moments when I start a new project, there are two things that have motivated me the most. The first is the social dimension of my studies. I observe and analyse economic phenomena and management processes that are fundamentally human-centred. People are at the heart of what I observe, whether it is business processes or broader economic and social systems. The second thing is the perception (perhaps the hope) that my research is not just about observing phenomena but can have a social and cultural impact.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
Research and teaching are two pillars of academic life. The passion to analyse problems and propose solutions that are both original and useful is part of the creative process. I believe this is the essence of my life as a researcher. On the other hand, teaching means spending a lifetime with young people. They may have different backgrounds, come from different parts of the world, but they share the same need: being prepared to deal with complexity. They do not need models to apply, but a strong approach to face the complexity of a changing world. Putting these two parts of our work together can be complicated for anyone, but when you manage it, it feels wonderful!
Why should someone choose Ca’ Foscari?
Why Ca' Foscari? There are many reasons that make Ca' Foscari a special place: the city, its lagoon, the beauty of layers of history built up over time. But there is more. There is the rhythm of its life. When I arrived here for the first time, I discovered the possibility of living at a different pace, necessarily slower, but not inefficient, different from any other experience I had had before. You can run to get to the next meeting of the day, but you can also jump on a steamboat and take the chance to look around. This time is a gift, a boost to your creative thinking.
Which degree programme would you recommend to a young graduate and why?
We have a wide range of programmes and as the academic delegate of the management department, I am sometimes asked the same question by our future students. What is the best programme for me? I always answer that passion and enthusiasm will guide their choices. I truly believe that we cannot make choices that are only guided by jobs offered by the market, without considering our real interests. If you have a passion, follow it and do it in the best possible way and the work will come. What matters most is the quality of your experience and your dedication to pursuing your goals. To future management students, I would suggest looking at the world around them and fostering the curiosity that leads them to see the organisational and strategic processes that are hidden in the folds of reality. This is the most fascinating thing, and this is what we are made of.