The paper aims to highlight the characteristics of a Managerial Control System (MCS) that can better support innovation processes. The topic is not new, but it has been analysed by previous literature mostly from a theoretical perspective. There is, instead, a lack of empirical evidence supporting the different approaches. This study, through the analyses of a sample of Italian firms, tries to contribute in this direction. The sample of this study was chosen from Italian manufacturing firms operating in the sectors with the largest number of registered patents according to the European innovation trend chart. The results show that MCS can enhance product/service innovation but can also inhibit it depending on the role the MCS fosters. MCS can be an obstacle for innovation when limited to pursuing diagnostic functions. On the contrary, product/service innovation is positively associated with an interactive role of MCS. These, although necessary to evaluate business performance, become effective innovation drivers only when they are proposed to stimulate coordination, communication, and learning inside the groups devoted to innovation.