CeRIIS, the LUISS International Center for Research on Social Innovation has released its Second Report on Social Innovation in Italy to analyze ideas and projects that respond to various needs of the community. Published online by Franco Angeli, the report, edited by Professor of Economics and Business Management and Director of CeRIIS Matteo Caroli, features contributions from instructors and researchers on conceptual models, research reports and analysis of empirical cases.
“We built a database of 482 projects and initiatives considered social innovation based,” explains Professor Caroli. “From them, we further examined 56 specific cases, interviewing those involved regarding sustainability as well as possibilities of growth and reaching economic autonomy. One of the fundamental elements of social innovation is the project is not merely a positive experience, but that it also has a relevant and long-lasting social impact.”
Sponsored by Fondazione ItaliaCamp, the CeRIIS monitors new models of marketing and business, with particular attention to its ability to respond to social issues, as well as development of professional skills and the use of technology. “The most significant results reveal a strong growth in initiatives that focus on innovation in relationships and in technology that improve management of social problems. The principal financers of these initiatives are private foundations and public institutions, while they are primarily managed by non-profit organizations and social enterprises. Significant projects have also been noted in for-profit companies and in the new and growing benefit corporation sector.”
The report also presents the first results in a social networking project for people under thirty. “The Social Innovation Citizen project, sponsored by the Italian National Agency for Young People, supporting social initiatives and networking between students and recent graduates. Alongside Italia Camp, we have pinpointed the most promising initiatives (in terms of generating innovation and involving cohorts) promoted by people between the ages of 18 and 30. Therefore, as CeRISS, we decided to create space for young scholars’ research and contributions.”
Of the projects analyzed, several deserve a special mention. Professor Caroli, cites the Albergo Etico di Asti, a hotel run by disabled young people. “It’s an interesting example not only because of its amazing success but because it is supported by training programs with professionals that allow the staff to have an active role in the business. I met them in person and I can testify that they have the most friendly and enthusiastic staff that I have ever interacted with. CeRIIS is currently working on developing a franchise of hotels following this model. We are also looking for other examples of companies that have created a new way of understanding and doing business.”
In addition to promoting these practices, the report aims to stimulate and involve larger actors in social innovation. “This year, the center will continue to add to our database,” concludes Caroli. “Our objectives remains that of monitoring and stimulating social innovation, and working to involve more large companies with an eye on new technology. We want to understand how they can stimulate these interests and use it them to help social enterprises grow.”