Field and Experience Labs

«Italy as a campus»

During their stay at SDA Bocconi students will have an opportunity to meet entrepreneurs and managers of successful italian companies , financial institutions and public organizations.

Their active learning can be enriched with field research excercises conducted individually or small groups. The field research assignments in luxury, retail, automotive, fashion, urban development and real estate business are conducted according to the faculty guidelines, presented and discussed in class.

Art Lab:
Making sense of a leadership model


  • Reflecting upon leadership styles and models
  • Building consensus on the organisational leadership model

  • Developing an individual action plan towards a sustainable leadership


How it works
Participants will be guided in the creation and interpretation of a work of art also through creative methods.
The work of art will represent their own personal interpretation of leadership styles, organisational leadership models etc.
Art based methods facilitate the transfer of relevant skills into the organisational context, reveal inner thoughts and connections with regard to the interpretation of a leadership role, being far away from the everyday life.


Key topics
Identity, leadership styles, organisational culture and values

Kitchen lab:
Working with and leading others


  • Learning how to collaborate towards a team goal
  • Leading others / empowering a team of people


How it works
Under the supervision of a professional chef, participants are divided in teams and cook a dinner, following different recipes. Each team is in charge of a different dish.
Participants are directly involved in ‘making things’, collaborating and sharing responsibilities.
In the end they enjoy their own made dinner together.
The debriefing focuses on building a common identity and effectively managing others for excellent results and work spirit.


Identity, collaboration culture, shared leadership

Strengthening self image


  • Exploring one’s own creative potential
  • Contributing to strengthen the internal and public self-image
  • Speeding up the process of self awareness and self understanding


How it works
Each participant will be asked to take part into a guided portrait session to end up with a collection of pictures representing different aspects of the self.
Together with the instructor and the rest of the team, each participant will assign a meaning to the pictures and interpret each picture.
One portrait will be chosen as the most representative one, based on the alignment between identity, intended image and perceived one.


Key topics
Self image, self awareness, leadership style

Sharing the lead


  • Observe, map and set an action plan for maximizing the effectiveness of each team member
  • Develop a shared culture of collaboration, proactivity and accountability


How it works
Participants will fill out the Mix&Match self-assessment questionnaire for identifying the main strengths and weaknesses in working in an environment that requires collaboration and interaction.
On the basis of the results, participants will be involved in a work-out activity to reflect upon the main contribution that each single member can provide in different moments (e.g. Team-leadership SWOT analysis).
Participants, design an individualized action plan outlining concrete actions that could be put in place to create a shared-leadership environment.


Key topics
Shared leadership, motivating people, manage conflicts

John Red:
Leading a team

•    Experiencing the relevance of getting started in the right way: assigning goals, roles, norms…
•    Managing conflicts, distinguishing between task and relational ones
•    Making effective decisions
•    Learning from failures


How it works
Through a web simulation, participants are presented a complex scenario involving the process of developing new products (or another business case, as required by the client and written on ad-hoc basis).
They are asked to resolve a series of problems and take decisions which influence the following steps in the story. Bad decisions can possibly lead to a bad ending. Good and thoughtful ones lead to success.


Key topics
Team dynamics, decision making processes, group processes

Leading others through and towards change


  • Understanding why change initiatives might fail within organizations
  • Developing an effective change management plan


How it works
This is a web based simulation allowing participants to learn how to implement and manage organisational changes effectively.
Participants will read a business case (which can also be written ad-hoc for the client) and based on the information, they will have to prepare a change management plan (choosing among a basket of actions) and present it in front of the employees.
At the end participants will get a detailed report which serves as a basis for the in-class discussion.


Key topics
Change management, leading people

360° feedback:
Self vs. others


  • Develop awareness on leaders’ strengths and weaknesses related to specific managerial behaviors
  • Design the individual action plan relying on multi-source information collection


How it works
The assessment relies on a web-survey which is filled out by different actors (e.g. self-evaluation, supervisor, peers, and co-workers) evaluating a focal individual. The survey can be either based on the SDA Bocconi model or tailor made.
At the end of the assessment process, each focal individual receives a personalized report identifying the strengths and weaknesses related to managerial behaviors.
The report is then discussed with a SDA Bocconi coach in order to develop an action plan for leveraging on the strengths and smoothen the weaknesses. A coaching plan could also be considered if needed (see details on coaching).


Key topics
Leadership and managerial skills

Networks’ map:
Influencing others


  • Increase leadership efficacy by leveraging on the ability to influence without power
  • Develop the ability to analyze, manage and exploit the leader’s social network


How it works
Participants fill out a questionnaire for mapping their social network and to discover the social capital they have access to by activating the nodes of the network.
On the basis of the questionnaire results, leaders develop a strategy to manage their network on order to maximize their ability to influence without using the formal power.
Participants will be also develop awareness about the constraints of their network and will develop actions and solutions to overcome them.


Key topics
Influence, power, network dynamics and alliances

Sustainable leadership:
Being an ethical leader


  • Developing or consolidating leaders’ decision making skills, taking into account whether behaviours are ethical and responsible or not
  • Sharing and diffusing organisational values and norms which are sustainable and ethical


How it works
Through a series of interactive case studies, exercises and role plays, participants will learn what ethical managerial competences are and how to play a responsible leadership role.
Responsible leadership stands for being aware of the impacts of individual behaviours on a wider group of relevant stakeholders. It also means using influencing skills in order to involve the stakeholders towards sustainable goals.
Sustainable leadership is both short term and long term oriented.


Key topics
Ethics, values, leadership, long term orientation