The Isfol network Innovation and social inclusion


This article by Pepe D. and Casentini P. is currently being printed in Arcuri F. (edited by). Web 2.0, Network Society and social inclusion. Palimpsest, Rome, 2015


Our way of perceiving the world, observes Carlo Infante, has changed radically to the extent that the web has become a new public space and the relationship between space and time has radically changed. The innovation of the relationships between space and time, within immaterial networks, is also reflected outside, in the real world, in the sense that the relationships between individuals, between individuals and reference contexts, between individuals and territories change (Infante, 2013 , p. 19).

"The new complexity we are dealing with concerns the simultaneity of information, their combinatorial connections, the dynamics of the network ... where information is increasingly innervated by relationships" (Infante, 2013, p. 20). The new media are not just tools, but they represent real new environments. It is from here that a renewed relationship with the territory can also arise. "In this sense, observes Infante (2013, p. 21) it will be important to deal with harmonizing the thesaurus of our knowledge with multimedia communication systems" and with life contexts.

Contemporary society therefore presents new scenarios characterized by strong and significant interconnections both between the dynamics relating to the subsystems and to the relationships of the entire social system with the outside world. As it happens in the realm of production and work, writes Claudio Cipollini (2012), also in the realm of interventions and social planning, the transition from industrial society to post-industrial society obliges us to get out of a linear logic and to embrace a logical systemic. Precisely for this reason, if any project or intervention is to have a chance of success, it must move in a multidisciplinary and systemic logic. Even when we speak of projects and interventions for innovation we start from the assumption that these cannot concern a single area of intervention, a specific sector of development and growth, but a model of economic and social development which at the same time affects the education, training and work; public administration and private companies; the existence of young people and that of adults; the quality of life in urban and extra-urban territories.

With respect to these general issues on social innovation, a group of Isfol researchers has created a network of public and private entities that promote projects and initiatives whose innovative nature appears to be linked precisely to their ability to intervene systemically on contexts and reference problems. The network, which finds expression in the Isfol Portlet, brings together the experiences and initiatives of public and private bodies, universities and schools, associations and social cooperatives that have proved to be capable, thanks to innovation, of concretely promoting dynamics of inclusion in socially relevant fields such as employment especially among young people, training, digitalisation, the dissemination and growth of knowledge, sociability and sport also with reference to categories of the population that live in conditions of difficulty or hardship.
1. Innovation, smart systems and smart cities

The innovation processes, in the Perspective of the General States of Innovation (2013), define a community in terms of a 'smart community', i.e. a reality characterized by the intelligent combination of different factors: economy, mobility, governance, life , citizens, environment. “In the smart community, relationships do not end within physical boundaries; the quality of life of the city-users is the predominant indicator and the main objective; services are centered on people's needs; policies are characterized by a desire for openness and integration” (Stati General dell'Innovazione, 2013). Innovation processes must primarily concern infrastructures, transport, energy exchanges, real and virtual connection systems. But innovation must also allow ample space for the growth of civil society. In this sense, only a bottom-up logic can make the development of a community possible starting from people's lives and conditions of hardship.

The principles for innovation outlined above largely respond to the objectives set by the Europe 2020 Strategy and concern: smart growth, sustainable growth and inclusive growth. The decision to place quality of life at the center of innovation policies leads to others based, in turn, on some fundamental concepts: sustainability aimed at avoiding the excessive exploitation of non-renewable resources; openness understood as the possibility of connection between data, ideas, proposals, projects and experiences; the territorial centrality that makes the territory the fulcrum of innovation policies.

The scholar Pelle Ehn in illustrating the concept of "Design Thinking in the City" explains how the term "design is no longer understood only in reference to the object and its forms" (Ehn, 2013). This term is no longer only interested in industrial production, architecture and visual communication, but for several years now it has also been dealing with problems such as international development, health care, the design of public services, reinforcing the belief that for the resolution of these problems must be activated above all by public organizations and governments. Design Thinking, in relation to the development of smart cities, must therefore go hand in hand with public commitment. It represents an intelligent way to think about how resources can work better and drive change.

The concept of intelligence, with reference to the definition of cities, most often refers to high-tech connections, sensors, the possibility of simultaneously processing large amounts of data. This definition of smart city, observes Tim Campbell (2013), however, is not exhaustive because it leaves out other extremely important dimensions related to the intangible infrastructure of civic organizations, neighborhood groups, academia and business communities as actors and partners in the city management process. Furthermore, conventional definitions of 'smartness' often ignore the important collective learning process; that is to say the impressive volume of knowledge and skills that are built and exchanged both within the city and between the city and the outside world. Within this perspective, smart cities are able to make the best use of technological tools by activating a learning process through which new ideas are captured and adapted for local use.

It is precisely thanks to the processes of learning, growth and innovation that an intelligent city is built, understood in a systemic perspective; that is to say “both as a connective structure – open, aware and finalized – and as an adaptive structure, capable of generating data and knowledge and of making one's behaviors evolve. The concept of smart city therefore seems to be redefined, from an epistemological point of view, in terms of a self-organizing or complex system endowed with a strong internal vitality, which defines its identity, autonomy and creativity. The self-organizing system takes the form of a viable system that adapts to its environment by selecting the stimuli and constructing the responses it deems most appropriate for living and evolving in its environment. The system has a cognitive ability that allows it to give active responses to the influences of the outside world, to react adequately to internal and external stimuli, maintaining its balance and carrying on its evolutionary paths. "The cognitive domain of an autonomous system, therefore observes Mauro Ceruti, ends up taking the form of the set of relationships in which the system can enter without losing its identity, i.e. without dying, if it is a living system, or without ceasing to function whether it is an individual or a social cognitive system” (Ceruti, 1989, p. 201).

The evolution of the system is not necessarily determined by the inputs of the external world but is rather the result of a construction: that is, of the elaboration of singular events that the system encounters in the course of its history. What emerges is a conception of the system understood as a biological and therefore vital process, continuously changing and continuously renewing itself thanks to its ability to deal with the inputs of the outside world, to develop and evolve in the choice of the most appropriate answers and solutions to these inputs and in the need to adapt to the changing conditions of the surrounding world.

In Charles Leadbeater's perspective, the smart city represents the result of an ideal combination of two variables: the city system and empathy. In particular, Leadbeater illustrates the possibility of placing the many city models in the different detectable points within the area drawn by the intersection of the two variables. In the scholar's perspective, the smart city is located precisely in spaces characterized simultaneously by high levels of systemic organization and empathy (Leadbeater, 2013). The best cities, explains Leadbeater, are designed so that they have efficient infrastructure, transport, energy exchanges, real and virtual connection systems. But these cities must also allow for the development of human relationships, ample space for conviviality and the possibility of the growth of civil society. In this sense and ultimately, only a bottom-up logic can make the development of a city truly possible starting from people's lives, allowing the smart city to take shape and flourish in its many dimensions (Leadbeater, 2013).

In dealing with the problem relating to the reformulation of the city and urban planning, Flavia Marzano uses the term e-topia, inspired by William J. Mitchell: a term which refers to the creation of virtual environments, interactions and electronic connections between buildings and urban spaces. The term e-topia, the scholar clarifies, includes others such as dematerialisation, i.e. the digital development of cities which leads to the virtualisation of many spaces; the demobilization thanks to which the network makes it possible to rethink the use of spaces and therefore also the possibilities of movement; the "intelligent" functioning of urban spaces and consequent mass customization, with interconnected buildings, so as to constitute a sort of urban nervous system with sensors and electronic components of various types and functions, also such as to ensure that the specific needs of the inhabitants can be satisfied thanks to the interaction between people and objects (Marzano, 2012).

“It is we who shape our buildings, but it is the buildings that then shape our life and our culture. Man shapes cities, which in turn shape man. Through this quote from Winston Churchill, Vincenzo Barbieri underlines how a smart city is a city that allows the characteristics of the territory and its uniqueness to be enhanced on the basis of the objectives defined at a political level. Cities, he observes, must be able to exploit their characteristics, their uniqueness in order to attract citizens, entrepreneurs, investors (Barbieri, 2012). “Every city has a collective intelligence that is stratified over time thanks to technologies, which allow citizens to coordinate with each other. The social, environmental and physical capital such as roads, buildings, signs, technological networks, ICT equipment contribute to the creation of this heritage which represents the infrastructure on which every city is based. Smart city is therefore a complex almost philosophical concept that can only be expressed in the long term through clear objectives, coherent strategies through adequate technologies in a continuous evolutionary process…” (Barbieri, 2012).

“The path to becoming a smart city, notes Miriam Ruggiero (2012), is long and articulated because each city has a specific starting condition. The starting point for the construction of the smart city is a deep knowledge of the local reality, of the needs of the community, of the critical issues and of the situation that must be managed. To complete the path towards the intelligent city, it is necessary to carry out research into the enabling factors and technologies, an interdisciplinary research based on strong specific technological, economic and social skills to arrive at the definition of a methodology that can exploit in a coordinated way all the specific skills.

The objectives must be achievable, quantifiable, shared among all stakeholders and defined over time. We must then move on to the elaboration of a strategic plan and a road map with a quantification of the investments and possible returns and, finally, we must build a system of indicators to monitor the project, "measure" its components, gaps, progress, positive trends, negative trends and the steps still to be taken. Measurability must monitor performance, effectiveness and sustainability. To do this, the city must invest in qualified and competent professionals, who are able to manage innovative processes, who have relational skills and who know how to look ahead with interventions based on a comprehensive and not occasional approach.

“The creation of a smart city is the result of the commitment and collaboration of various public and private entities, which hold the knowledge, share processes, produce innovation. This is how a "synergistic task force is formed in which everyone (public bodies, companies, citizens, banks, research institutes, universities, etc.) contributes to identifying solutions for the city, the result of participation and collective intelligence" (Ruggiero, 2013). Therefore, there is no universal model of smart city: innovative, transversal, achievable, measurable, replicable, flexible and financeable models must be developed, based on the intrinsic characteristics of the city, on efficiency, growth and livability. It is essential to be able to balance the two dynamics – top down and bottom up – in order to be able to obtain the best services for people who live in the city. Therefore both a high ability to evaluate individual situations by implementing specific responses, and the ability to develop protocols, which succeed, regardless of the detail, are required. Furthermore, we must leave highly qualified but vertical systems to enter a horizontal, transversal perspective, which knows how to involve all areas in an integrated way (IT, territorial, social planning, education, etc.) and which knows how to optimize costs and resources.

A smart city is a sentient city that knows what it has and makes decisions based on up-to-date, certain and shared information. The smart city is able to handle a great complexity of heterogeneous data. The smart city is a place where digitized cartographic data is 'mixed' and integrated both with data collected from comments on Facebook or Twitter and with information from various public entities - Municipalities, Territorial Agency, Chambers of Commerce, services, etc. -. The integration of such data makes it possible to broaden knowledge and reduce reaction times with respect to the occurrence of events in the area. A smart city makes knowledge circulate and has a collective intelligence thanks to which it is able to respond to some extent to the needs of the territory in relation to different contexts - citizens, work, businesses and commerce, construction, heritage, urban planning instruments, taxes, greenery, education, roads and viability – and of the various public and private entities that represent the vital fabric of the city (Ruggiero, 2013).

Therefore intelligent cities where the level of quality of life is better, where everything (urban spaces, transport) are on a human scale and facilitate the performance of citizens' tasks, optimizing time and resources. All while safeguarding the environment. In other words, they are cities that promote sustainable development, tourism, creativity and innovation, rewarding strategic and improving initiatives for the future.
Carlo Mochi Sismondi defines "smart cities an urban space, well directed by a forward-looking policy, which faces the challenge that globalization and the economic crisis pose in terms of competitiveness and sustainable development with particular attention to social cohesion, to the dissemination and availability of knowledge, to creativity, to freedom and effectively usable mobility, to the quality of the natural and cultural environment” (2010).

The term 'smart', recalls R. Panzarani, is used above all in North America. “But we believe that it finds its specificity in Europe due to the peculiar characteristics of most of the cities of the Old Continent. European cities, and even more so Italian cities, largely based on a history that has its roots at least in the Middle Ages, have (or should have) in fact common traits that find their foundation in the concept of 'community' and which therefore imply values such as tradition, inclusion, participation, solidarity. This urban declination of what Rifkin has called the European dream may be more adequate, compared to a more markedly competitive climate, to create a favorable ecosystem for the growth of creativity and the overall attractiveness of the city” (Panzarani, 2013a, p. 34).

The crisis is also leading cities to rethink urban planning and strategic reflection on development. If this is true, concludes Panzarani (2013a, p. 34), we can believe that the construction of a modern, innovative and inclusive country can only pass through an urban dimension made on a human scale.

2. The integrated development model

The concept of integrated development is strongly linked, in the first place, to the awareness of the close interaction existing between the various dimensions of contemporary society. Within this perspective, any intervention on the historical-social reality to produce positive effects must affect not only one specific dimension of reference such as work, training, the territory but on a set of dimensions that systemically characterize that reality. To the extent that the integrated development model concerns multiple dimensions at the same time, observes Panzarani (2013b, p. 12), it also ends up regarding the feeling of identity of that territory or that community. The possibility of innovation originates precisely from the close interactions existing between integrated development and the sense of identity of a community: understood as the possibility of triggering systemic changes that touch various aspects and involve different groups of the population including groups and categories in conditions of greater hardship or greater marginalization.

Precisely because it touches several variables simultaneously, the concept of integrated development inevitably leads us to consider the close link between the dimensions of the knowledge society such as the environment, the individual, work, structures, services, culture and training . Regarding these specific issues, Roberto Panzarani proposes the concept of sense of community. In this scholar's perspective, any social change becomes relevant and significant to the extent that it calls into question that feeling of identity that gives meaning and substance to the initiatives implemented. “Whether a tax, health or labor reform is carried out, if a community does not have its own identity, all these steps risk being artificial and not lasting over time” (Panzarani, 2013b, p. 12). For this reason, today it is very difficult for power groups or simply leadership to trigger or favor these changes. Rather, there are forms of self-organization by groups of the population which replace what should be the governance bodies and which promote concrete initiatives for the benefit of the population itself. The sense of community that has always accompanied man today can acquire a new and particular value, to the extent that it can allow the transition to a social model based more on collaboration and inclusion than on individualism and competition.

In the information society, an important aspect of change and innovation is represented by new technologies even if the technological component is essential to the human component. The technological dimension is relevant only to the extent that it is related to problems of a social nature. According to the perspective of the Human Smart City, the city is 'intelligent' to the extent that it first of all brings together different actors and their human potential. The smart city is neither an end in itself nor a mere application of technological innovation, but a path aimed at making people's lives better, simplifying it, allowing a focus on overall well-being, creating job opportunities and inclusion for citizens in the fabric of the city itself.

The theme of the relationship between social innovation and inclusion with particular reference to the inclusion of disadvantaged groups, categories of the population who find themselves in particular conditions of difficulty or discomfort is closely linked to the theme of development. Development referring to cities, territories, human settlements and in any case increasingly understood today as integrated development. As G. Coronas writes (2013, p. 9), "the European Union itself has underlined the need to have an integrated approach for the realization of sustainable urban development ... the city of the future must be at the same time a place of greenery, of ecological rebirth and environmental, an attractive place and an engine of economic growth”.

Renewable sources, energy efficiency and sustainable development: these are the watchwords of smart cities: The intelligent nature of these cities is not only linked to the efficiency of the structural, infrastructural systems linked to the environment, services, life and to the work of citizens, to the relationships between individuals and between individuals and the city itself. The problems related to the processes of evolution towards the smart city seem to call into question first of all and in substantial terms the evolution of educational, training and cultural models, the growth opportunities that they offer to the spaces of civil society and the possibility of putting social and technological innovations at the service of citizens to respond to their needs and well-being.

Therefore, the vision of a city that is 'self-organizing' and that makes the meanings of 'intelligent globalization' and 'common goods' its own is important. The commons can be described as goods and resources that groups of individuals share and exploit together, in different ways depending on where they happen to live. Three types of common goods can be distinguished in this regard (Panzarani, 2013b, pp. 87-88):

• the traditional common goods that a given community enjoys by customary law (meadows, pastures, woods, fishing grounds, etc.). This category of goods is defined as collective property.

• global goods (air, water, forests, biodiversity, oceans, space, non-renewable resources).

• the new commons identifiable in culture, in communication routes (from motorways to the Internet), in car parks, in green areas of the city, in the public services of water, electricity, transport, in homes, in healthcare and in schools, the law to security and peace.

"And today the aspirations of many populations, mostly in developing countries and small communities, are concentrated on the commons to start a democratic and sustainable management of their territory" (Panzarani, 2013b, p. 88). The commons are a political practice, a form of collective action. The politics of the commons tends to spread power among many rather than concentrate it in the hands of a few. Common goods are conquered, they are never given. They exist when a significant group of people physically reappropriate them, take care of them and return them to the community. 'Common' is different from 'public'. It is not through the control of the State and of the administrations that real democracy and participatory management are generated: the common goods are not administered from above, they are self-governing. At the center of all this discourse we therefore find the person, the individual who builds models of knowledge and action in order to be able to adapt and readapt to his own natural and social context of reference.

Promoting the integration of everyone, especially people who find themselves on the margins of society, is one of the main objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Indeed, even in the countries of the European Union there are still many socially excluded groups, for numerous reasons: they are lack specialized skills, live in deprived areas with limited access to services, have health problems, are or have been in detention, have disabilities, are immigrants or belong to ethnic minorities. The problem of social exclusion also affects employment in an extremely significant way. In fact, employment represents an essential factor for the promotion of social inclusion and people in conditions of hardship or difficulty need systemic and incisive inclusion strategies.

Cohesion policy is on its way to becoming the European Union's investment policy par excellence and is being rigorously aligned with the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. This strategy has three priorities: smart growth related to an economy based on knowledge and innovation ; sustainable growth related to an efficient economy in terms of environmental resources; inclusive growth aimed at a high employment rate which favors social and territorial cohesion.

According to the European strategy, by 2020 the 75% of people must have a job; 3% of GDP must be invested in R&D. The 20/20/20 climate and energy targets must be met; the school dropout rate must be lower than the 10% and at least 40% of young people must be university graduates; 20 million fewer people must be at risk of poverty. It is a multi-factor and multi-circular model which involves several fields of intervention at the same time: the centrality of the person, respect for the environment, sustainable development, job growth, raising the levels of education and population.

It is precisely in the spaces created by this multi-factorial and multi-circular development model that possibilities for inclusion also arise for groups that find themselves in conditions of greater difficulty such as young people, individuals who live in conditions of marginalization or physical, mental and social discomfort. The development of the green economy represents a significant example of this possible virtuosity. “In Europe more than forty thousand poor, disabled, mentally ill and former prisoners have been employed in the reuse sector whose goal is to create jobs through the activities of collection, selection, repair, sale and in some cases after-sales service of material. It is significant to mention in this regard, observes Paolo Ferraresi (2013), the Rreuse network. Rreuse includes 22 members in 12 European countries which, in addition to 40,000 employees, can count on 110,000 volunteers. Some of Rreuse's members are already real giants, such as the Kringwinkel chain in Flanders, Belgium. “The Kringwinkels are known in the area and have 118 stores, 4 million customers a year and almost five thousand employees, with a turnover of 35 million euros. It has been calculated that they generate about 1.5 euros per kg of material sold” (Ferraresi, 2013).
3. Social innovation

“There is social innovation, writes Roberto Panzarani quoting Geoff Mulgan (Panzarani, 2013a, p. 30), when new ideas that work give solutions to still unsatisfied social needs”. But the adjective 'social' also has another meaning in the sense that it indicates the active role of people (consumers, citizens, but also institutions and organizations) in the concrete implementation of innovation processes. In reality, social innovation seems to be an umbrella word in which many things can fit: every innovation in the technological, economic or production systems field can produce social effects, i.e. lasting changes in social relations and behavior of people to the extent that it leads to the social use of any technological, economic and productive innovation.

Innovation embraces different sectors and is declined differently according to the contexts. Social innovation, observes Riccardo Maiolini (2013, p. 31), seeks to answer some specific questions, which concern the main problems of contemporary societies, and in doing so seeks to lay the foundations for new forms of thought and new typologies of innovation. Since, according to the authors, there is still no effective answer to most of the social problems of our times, it is necessary to discuss how social innovation is created, so that, once the innovation process has been refined, we can work to get effective solutions. “The recovery of the role of individuals in the management of innovation processes shifts attention from a model of innovation driven by technology (technology push) towards a model in which requests start from the bottom (demand pull) and looks for solutions able to satisfy a large number of subjects. In this sense, in the last period, with the term social innovation, reference is made to creative systems, no longer individual but collective, where it is necessary to establish forms of self-regulation of creative processes, which make this model pluralistic in able to provide optimal solutions (Plechero and Rullani cited by R. Maiolini, 2013, p. 24).

Social innovation therefore arises as a new frontier of research in which to explore first of all the explanatory variables: from the methods of creating new forms of innovation, to the role and relationship between people and technology, up to the methods of dissemination and use through new business models, financial forms and last but not least, the role of the public actor in favoring and enabling the development of the phenomenon on a large scale.

From an initial analysis of what is produced by the global network of social innovation Exchange, belonging to the Nesta Foundation, a series of areas of application of Social Innovation processes emerge, in particular on specific topics (Maiolini, 2013, pp. 26 - 27):

• Environment, sustainability and climate change;
• Democracy and participatory processes;
• Design / planning / facilitation of creative processes;
• Forms of welfare and social assistance;
• Management of migratory flows;
• Management of the so-called gender management and diversity management;
• Government and public policies;
• Social Entrepreneurship;
• New forms of finance and relationship with philanthropy;
• Health and wellness care;
• Networks and collaborations;
• Relationship between community and living spaces;
• Models of volunteering and assistance.

From this classification emerges the character of innovation as a social tool which must be able to respond adequately to both the collective needs and the needs of the territory in which it develops. Social innovation represents a phenomenon that is both complex, fascinating and relevant for an economic and social system such as the Italian one, above all because through the study of the phenomenon of social innovation it is possible to obtain work platforms useful for the development of new proposals and responses to relevant social needs for the country. The European Union is aiming to develop research activities capable of grasping the multidisciplinary nature of phenomena, through the involvement of a greater number of subjects. The approach is one that sees increasingly close partnerships between organizations and their stakeholders, so as to ensure that a multiplicity of objectives and interests leads to useful results for the entire community.

“In this new perspective, the foundations are identified which will open up new research and business opportunities at a European level in the coming years. In fact, social opportunities and environmental challenges, for example, must be addressed in such a way as to represent concrete business opportunities for organizations, in such a way as to favor an adequate level of attention. The topic of social innovation represents an important workbench on some fundamental issues such as: economic development, unemployment; the aging of the population; climate change; innovation in the public sector, the social divide (Maiolini, 2013, p. 34)”.

The theme of social innovation is certainly a frontier theme and represents an almost unexplored field for researchers and scholars from all over the world. In particular, this theme is currently being addressed through some classical research lines. "Reflections on the theme of innovation can be found in the literature starting from studies of an economic nature (in particular on the theme of public finance and the financing of public services), studies of management and innovation (dissemination of knowledge and new models of innovation) and studies of a sociological and political nature (studies on social movements and new forms of aggregation). In uniting the different strands, a first element emerges which distinguishes and characterizes social innovation as a hybrid model. The union of the economic-managerial dimension with that of a public-management nature determines the fact that innovation must not be motivated by the maximization of the profits of those who benefit from it, but must be an aim to favor an incremental improvement process at a general level” (Maiolini, 2013, pp. 38 – 39). In this sense, for social innovation to be such, it must involve and produce positive effects on individuals. “Improvement, concludes Maiolini (2013, p. 39) must be understood in terms of collective well-being and not just of some categories or networks of individuals and organizations. Well-being must therefore be a widespread and collective well-being. Starting from this perspective, we arrive at a first definition according to which social innovation is linked to the achievement of socially relevant objectives”.

Social innovation can therefore never depend on single subjects, but on a mix of skills of various groups that act collectively with respect to the implementation of the various interventions. Innovation is therefore characterized by the possibility of exploiting networks and groups of subjects to facilitate a process of co-creation and participatory management of decisions.

The concept of innovation is therefore strongly linked to concepts such as territory, smart city and smart community, bottom up. The innovation processes are born and implemented at the various levels represented by actors belonging to the public and private worlds and to third sector organisations. “An intrinsically innovative perspective because it assumes that one cannot speak of control rooms without taking into account the vitality of productive and relational fabrics, and vice versa. It is therefore a passage from individual leadership to widespread leadership, in which teamwork becomes fundamental. And if the primary value lies in the bonds between people, then citizen intelligence is measured by the administration's ability to create the conditions for the generation of laboratories and in knowing how to put the results to value: whether they are effective conflict management models , innovative public services or new generation products capable of driving the economic development of a territory" (Forghieri and Mochi Sismondi, 2013).

In Forghieri and Mochi Sismondi's perspective, new technologies, grassroots participation and innovation can become the new drivers of development. And the processes of innovation and development cannot but call into question variables such as the social dimension, the technological dimension, governance, the cultural dimension and the environmental dimension. In this sense, Maiolini clarifies (2013, p. 51), the concept of community emerges strongly understood as a set of subjects and individuals who not only share a space and resources, but recognize themselves in shared principles and values. “In this way it is clarified that the objectives towards which a phenomenon of social innovation tends change according to the cultural context, the historical moment and the subjects collectively involved”. Social innovation therefore increasingly tends to be configured in terms of the social use of any technological, economic and productive innovation that changes the way the citizens involved interact and behave.

In the insert Nova of II Sole240re of July 2009 we read that one of the most interesting and undervalued cases of innovation is represented by the social enterprise. “Italy is the leading European country both for the critical mass and for the innovations introduced. Suffice it to say that around the binomial welfare and social enterprise, in less than a century, more than 7,300 social cooperatives have sprung up which provide social welfare, health and educational services to over 3.3 million citizens and organize integration activities to work for at least 3,000 disadvantaged workers. All for an employment value of around 2,3 thousand employees and a turnover of 6.3 billion euros. But in addition to this consistent 'hard core', there is significant development potential both in new sectors (culture, training, tourism, etc.), and through various legal and organizational schemes of non-profit origin (there are at least two thousand foundations which act, in fact, as social enterprises) and also commercial (assuming some 'social' constraints: with distribution of profits, involvement of stakeholders, etc.)” (Panzarani, 2013a, p 31).

The concept of innovation, therefore, does not refer only to technologies, to sensors, to the possibility of simultaneously processing large quantities of data. Nor does it refer only to tangible and intangible infrastructures; initiatives by citizens and public administrations; to activities undertaken by business communities or academia. For there to be innovation, the collective learning process, the universe of knowledge and knowledge that is exchanged and built in the life of men and in the history of societies, appears to be fundamental. Within a general perspective, therefore, the process of designing and building the smart city calls into question not only structural, infrastructural factors linked to the environment, services, the life and work of citizens, the relationships between individuals and between individuals and the city itself. The problems related to the processes of evolution towards the smart city seem to involve primarily and in substantial terms the evolution of educational, training and cultural models. It is impossible to conceive any form of evolution of the knowledge society apart from the importance that, within this society, there are models of knowledge and learning which accompany the individual throughout the course of his life and which permeate the different moments of his life.

The importance recognized to lifelong and lifewide learning and training models represents, in the first place, a tool for tackling complexity, promoting democracy and social inclusion. The ability, on the part of each individual, to always be able to build new knowledge and to continually bring into play and redefine one's own skills are essential for this individual to be able to adapt and re-adapt to the extremely changeable conditions of contemporary society. This same capacity for continual adaptation is essential so that, in a time of serious economic crisis such as the present one, the individual is able to remain or re-enter the job market.

When lifelong learning is placed as a point of view through which to understand social complexity and foster democratic development, knowledge and training become the "condition for citizenship rights, an instrument of civil coexistence and a resource for economic and social development of countries” (Alberici, 2008). “If it is true that today, faced with the great challenges of life, hunger, peace, work, inclusion/exclusion, solidarity, freedom, equity, it is necessary to focus on human development and on the possibility, for an ever greater number of women and men, of knowing how to produce reflective, divergent, innovative thinking, then training radically changes its nature, genre, and becomes a process increasingly aimed at the growth of responsible, autonomous, proactive subjects. Hence the need to focus on training 'for all', as an enhancement of human resources, leveraging on the centrality of the individual, on his knowledge and skills in life and work, on his reflexivity, on social and relational skills, on responsibility, on what we can define as strategic skills for life as it is with their possession, development and lifelong growth that women and men become capable of affirming their rights of substantial citizenship” (Alberici, 2008).
The Isfol network "Innovation and social inclusion"

The Isfol portlet on "Innovation and social inclusion" is located on the Institute's website and was created in 2014 with the aim of collecting and describing initiatives by public and private bodies, universities and schools, associations and social cooperatives which have given rise to of social inclusion thanks to the creation of innovative experiences. Firstly, the network collects and connects studies and research on innovation as a factor of development and inclusion. Secondly, it presents and disseminates innovative projects that have concretely given rise to dynamics of inclusion in the fields of work and education, training, digitization and the construction of social networks, sociality and sport also with reference to categories of the population living in conditions of difficulty or hardship. The experiences described in the network can be traced back to some fundamental themes of innovation and social inclusion:

• Training and job orientation
• Creation of youth start-ups
• Digital knowledge and skills
• Support and microcredit for work and inclusion
• Innovation networks
• Sport and sociability for integration

As far as training and job orientation experiences are concerned, the network presents, among others, the Centro Portafuturo, created by the Province of Rome in 2011, and the Cliclavoro Portal, created by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies in 2012. Portafuturo and Cliclavoro represent two crucial nodes of a territorial and virtual network of information, training and job orientation aimed at the most sensitive segments of the population: young people and adults who are unemployed, disabled, migrants, employed people who want to change jobs.

As regards the strategic function played by Portafuturo, it is significant to underline that Portafuturo is located not by chance in a historic district of Rome frequented above all by young people: the Testaccio district. The peculiarity of this Center is linked to the fact that, unique in Italy, it combines training and guidance, job search and promotion of self-entrepreneurship, attention to the person and digitization of processes, analysis of the territory and companies.

The Cliclavoro portal was designed and developed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, in 2012, together with other public and private entities such as the Regions and Provinces, INPS, the Ministry of Education, Universities and Scientific research and over 200 private intermediaries. In a time of serious economic crisis, the portal tries to answer the questions related to the daily job search and offer by placing itself in a systemic perspective and thus outlining a close interaction between the terms: employability, territorial network, information, digitization, monitoring . “Within this perspective, the term information represents an essential starting point with respect to the problem of youth employment, it is information provided by the CPI, by the Municipalities, by the branches and by the information networks. The term information calls into question the term territorial network to the extent that the problem of youth employability and employability can be tackled by trying to understand and relate the dynamics of the territorial network to one another. Finally, the term network cannot refer only to the territorial network but also and above all to the digital network that allows the dissemination of information, good practices and models to be able to address the problem of employability” (Strano, 2014).

Through Cliclavoro, citizens can manage their curriculum and personal data, apply for job offers, take e-learning courses and job orientation modules; companies can search for available candidates, manage the job offers entered, use the service for sending the Mandatory Communications (CO); public and private operators can operate as intermediaries between citizens and companies. The Cliclavoro system offers various thematic information sections and is also connected with the European EURES network to monitor job supply and demand in the countries of the European Union. Thanks to the connection with the Regions, Cliclavoro aims to monitor, predict and anticipate employment trends and follow internal and external mobility in the country; the Find Office function then allows users to search and locate employment offices in the area. With the intention of attracting younger people, the portal is also present on the main social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and has a blog and can also be accessed via mobile devices thanks to the iCliclavoro and iCliclavoro social apps.

With regard to the creation of youth start-ups, the Isfol Portal presents Luiss EnLabs and H-Farm. Both of these incubators tend to combine the past with the future in a completely new way, localism with globalization, the contingency linked to the territories they occupy, with their constraints and meanings, with the broad horizons of expectations and objectives they intend to achieve.

The Luiss EnLabs Center is a veritable factory of youth start-ups. It was inaugurated on 4 April 2013 in Rome, inside the Termini station: the large station of the capital, place of departures and places of arrivals, greetings, farewells and returns thus wanted to assume the guise, for many young people, of a place of rebirth of new projects and hopes. The Center was born from the joint venture between the Luiss University and EnLabs, one of the most important business incubators in Italy, with the collaboration of Wind. The presentation of the Center was the occasion in which protagonists of innovation met for an exchange of views on the world of entrepreneurship. Representatives of institutions, industry, culture and information took an active part. The director of the Luiss University Pierluigi Celli was also presenting the project.

Luiss EnLabs is open not only to Luiss students, but to those from universities throughout Italy, with particular attention to those coming from faculties such as medicine, engineering, physics, mathematics, information technology, biology. Luiss EnLabs is a space of over 1500 square meters – made available by the Ferrovie dello Stato Group – equipped with 120 workstations. Mini offices, desks and broadband connection inside transparent boxes, which at full capacity can accommodate up to 50 startups, which have the opportunity to start their businesses benefiting from the positive contamination facilitated precisely by the proximity offered by the incubator. in a strategic location, architecturally valuable and perfectly equipped from a technological point of view.

H-Farm was born on the initiative of Riccardo Donadon, in 2005, inside a historic agricultural estate overlooking the Venice lagoon. It is a digital platform created with the aim of helping young entrepreneurs in launching their initiatives based on innovative business models in the internet sector and supporting the transformation of Italian companies from a digital point of view. The incubation period of the companies created is 36 months. In the first 9 years, H-Farm has invested approximately €19.2 million in 67 startups, creating over 392 new jobs. Between 2015-2020, investments of a further 10 million euros are planned. H-Farm constitutes an innovative business incubator aimed at combining the peasant past with the digital future, the idea of the farm with new technologies and with the great importance recognized to the human component: the H that forms the name of the project really means human .

The Isfol Portlet also presents many experiences that promote innovation and inclusion starting from the construction of networks for the growth and dissemination of information and knowledge, digitization processes and innovation models that contribute to improving the skills and conditions of life of citizens in their physical and symbolic contexts of reference.

The Labsus Laboratory was created in 2006 with the aim of promoting and spreading a new model of society based on the principle of horizontal subsidiarity. Labsus, chaired by Gregorio Arena, is an association animated by volunteers which, through an online magazine, proposes a new way of understanding the relationship between institutions and citizens. The activity of Labsus is in fact based on the observation that citizens are not only bearers of needs but also of skills that can be made available to the community to give life to shared administration, a new model of administration, based on the relationship of collaboration between citizens and public administration for the care of tangible and intangible common goods.

Labsus is a real laboratory where ideas are developed; initiatives carried out by cities and associations are described; materials, provisions and regulations relating to the care of common goods are collected; new and significant experiences are reported. This collection of information is continuously updated by the Labsus website in relation to the different geographical areas and the different socio-cultural dimensions of the Italian reality. Labsus is committed to the dissemination of models and practices of active citizenship, relationships of reciprocity, cooperation and collaboration, social responsibility, civic sense and sustainable lifestyles.

The States General of Innovation represent a non-profit social promotion association. They were born, in 2011, from the initiative of some associations, movements, companies and citizens convinced that the best growth opportunities for our country are linked to variables such as the creativity of young people, the recognition of merit, the elimination of the digital divide , the renewal of the State through Open Government. The Association, chaired by Flavia Marzano, operates on a regional, national and international level and is open to the contribution of people of all nationalities and of any social, economic and political background who share its principles. The States General of Innovation set themselves the objectives of: building a point of reference for associations, organizations and individuals engaged in innovation, both from a social and industrial point of view, and of the impact on the transformation of the PA and finally the basic technical conditions; define a path to organize the States General of Innovation 'from below' and on the territory, through the use of an online sharing platform, thematic meetings, reunions, studies, publications, seminars; elaborate in a shared way and through an inclusive process a program for "innovation in the government of Italy", as an overall result of the States General of Innovation.

Italiacamp is also a network for innovation which operates through studies, research, meetings, activities in the area, seminars and publications. Italiacamp is a network that connects over 70 Italian universities with public and private companies and institutions, in order to connect innovation supply and demand. This Association outlines the paradigm of social innovation as an independent paradigm with respect to the traditional vision which sees technology as the main driver of innovation. In particular, from the perspective of the researchers involved in this association, there are three fundamental drivers of social innovation: co-creation processes aimed at customers and users; collaborative networks, i.e. networks of relationships between different individuals, associations and territories; the needs of innovation, social needs and requirements that emerge from global challenges, found in the public sector, rather than in markets and new technologies.

The AICA – Italian Association for Automatic Calculation – was born in 1961 and has as its purpose the development of computer knowledge in all its scientific, applicative, economic and social aspects. Thanks to its initiatives, its autonomy and its international roots, it represents: the crossroads between the main players in the ICT world such as universities, research centres, sector operators and institutions; the place for open discussion on relevant issues of the digital society such as professional and occupational prospects, the efficiency of services to citizens, the diffusion of ICT knowledge in the population; the reference for the definition, enhancement and dissemination of eSkills.

AICA has many lines of activity including: the publication of the magazine Mondo Digitale; the organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, University and Research of the Computer Science Olympiad aimed at young students; various initiatives for schools and universities; the training and professional orientation of specialists thanks to the ICT Trades Workshop. Finally, AICA is responsible for Italy for international programs for the certification of IT skills: e-Citizen for digital citizenship; ECDL the European Computer Driving License for the development of skills at different levels; the EUCIP for the certification of IT professionals' skills according to European standards.

The Network of Italian Universities for Lifelong Learning was formally established at the University of Genoa on 16 November 2011. RUIAP is a member of the EUCEN European University Network for the development of Lifelong Learning and brings together more than thirty Italian universities and some training development institutions. Its objective is to promote the development of lifelong learning as a contribution to the knowledge society and to the growth of the country's economic and social system. Within a more general perspective, aimed at innovating training systems and strengthening the relationship between training and the socio-economic context, the RUIAP Network arises from the recognition of knowledge as a competitive and driving force of contemporary society and tends to underline the value of training and lifelong learning as tools capable of promoting the growth of individuals and at the same time limiting the risk of exclusion from society and the labor market.

It is possible to detect a subtle and profound affinity between the experience conducted by the RUIAP Association, chaired by Aureliana Alberici, and the MondoDigitale Foundation, chaired by Alfonso Molina. Although referring to different contexts, the philosophy that animates and guides the commitment of the two associations is equally similar. On the one hand, RUIAP promotes knowledge and lifelong learning especially in universities, on the other, the MondoDigitale Foundation promotes knowledge and knowledge in cities, prisons, reception centers by addressing young and old. Both associations are committed to achieving an inclusive knowledge society and above all see the growth of knowledge as an access key to substantial citizenship.
The MondoDigitale Foundation – FMD – was created in 2001 by the Municipality of Rome. FMD works for an inclusive knowledge society by combining innovation, education and core values. FMD's mission is to promote innovation and inclusion with particular attention to categories at risk of exclusion: the elderly, immigrants, young unemployed people, students with special needs, etc. The FMD also addresses its courses to the illiterate and guarantees the certification of the skills acquired. The essential feature of this Foundation is linked to the fact that it does not propose specific and circumscribed interventions for the training of disadvantaged groups in digital skills, but acts within a systemic perspective aimed at creating an inclusive knowledge society. Indeed, Mondodigitale's training activities concern five macro areas of intervention, which focus on the major criticalities of the country system and seek to respond to the challenges of Europe 2020. A strategic aspect of the FMD's action is "phirtuality", i.e. the integration of physical dimension with the virtual one in all the promoted intervention and training processes.
Many experiences among those included in the network concern the integration, also through digitization tools, of groups of the population at greater risk of exclusion. Thus Caritas is committed to supporting immigrants too, through paths of access to the world of work and training: training that also concerns the acquisition of digital skills. It is also significant to mention Informatici senza frontiere – ISF -: an ONLUS, born in 2005, with the aim of using IT knowledge and tools to bring concrete help to those who live in situations of marginalization and difficulty. Among the projects carried out by ISF in the world it is important to remember: the Open Hospital, an open source software for the management of hospitals, outpatient clinics and medical centers currently used in developing countries, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, and in Italy for the management of CESIM – Immigrant Health Center of Verona; interventions in emergency situations where ISF volunteers intervene in the event of earthquakes to restore communication and information systems; organizational-IT consultancy to universities, NGOs, associations, hospitals that need such consultancy for the realization of their projects.

Within a different perspective but animated by the same philosophy, the Accessibility model of elearning, proposed by Eleonora Guglielman, affirms the potential of e-learning as a training methodology capable of reaching and involving learners who, due to their disability, they are at risk of exclusion from traditional face-to-face training activities. For people with disabilities, e-learning can be an effective educational approach capable of acquiring self-determination and empowerment skills thanks to the overcoming of space-time constraints, flexibility, interactivity, individualisation and personalization of routes. In the information society, equal access to technologies by all users, including those with disabilities, is considered a priority and a key factor for the exercise of active citizenship.

The Portlet presents various experiences of the fight against poverty and social exclusion thanks to the granting of microcredits, for example by the Lazio Region or the National Microcredit Agency - ENM - to families, young people, people in difficulty. Within a general perspective, the aim is to allow people to borrow small sums of money to be used to remedy a negative economic situation of their company, to create a new self-entrepreneurial path, to deal with unexpected expenses, to improve their living conditions or those of their families. In particular, the ENM grants microcredits in the regions of the Convergence Objective and above all to young people for the realization of small business projects.

Equally significant are the experiences of granting land to young people by many Italian regions such as Lazio, Campania, Tuscany, Puglia and Abruzzo. It is significant to note, with respect to this type of initiative, how it too tends to combine the peasant past with the digital future to the extent that the cultivation of the land is associated with eco-sustainable cultivation models, with e-commerce practices for the dissemination and sale of products obtained from the earth.

The Isfol network on "Innovation and social inclusion" offers various experiences in which inclusion is achieved through sociality, participation and sport. Among these experiences, we recall the Contact Center SuperAbile Inail which promotes important training activities, access to work, but also sporting experiences of great significance such as the Paralympics.

An experience of great significance also from a sociological point of view is the one promoted in Rome, in the Corviale district, by the association for the "Calciosociale". “This experience makes football a tool for social integration, a project for the 'rebirth' of a neighborhood marked over the years and in a strongly negative sense by the presence of the 'Big Snake'. The Serpentone is a building-district built from 1975 to 1982. It is made up of two buildings facing each other about one km long (980m), made up of 9 floors in height and two other smaller buildings. The Serpentone includes 1,200 apartments. The fourth floor should have housed the shops and services such as the nursery school, the post office, etc. In reality it ended up becoming the squatters' floor where about 150 families live” (Ofantino, 2014).

The association for social football was born in 2006 from the initiative of some young people from the neighbourhood. The association, chaired by Massimo Vallati, intended to experiment with an educational model for the inhabitants of the neighborhood through the game of soccer. On 13 July 2009 Calciosociale took possession of a structure in a state of total abandonment located right in front of the Serpentone. This structure has become the "Field of Miracles". In May 2014, the first Calciosociale center in the world was inaugurated, a place of social integration through sport and eco-sustainable architecture.

The Campo dei miracoli contrasts its red color with the gray of the neighborhood, the environmentally friendly and ecological material with which it is made with the reinforced concrete with which the big snake was built, the green of the trees with the gray of the building located right in front. The essential commitment of Calciosociale is to take care of the Corviale district and of the people who live there by providing an educational tool capable of inserting itself into such a complex social fabric "The field of miracles" represents an important meeting place in Corviale, accessible to all those who need it, in order to achieve a goal as ambitious as necessary and possible: the redevelopment of the neighborhood.
Calciosociale uses a particular sports methodology, in line with the principles of peer education, thanks to which it is not the best sportsmen who play on the field but people of different sexes, of different ages and with different psychophysical abilities. Calciosociale has reinterpreted the usual sporting rules, transforming and enhancing the educational potential of sport. Each initiative promoted by Calciosociale has a purely pedagogical purpose, of high quality and psycho-therapeutic value, with the aim of focusing attention on the abilities, and not on the handicaps present in subjects considered difficult. Furthermore, sporting activity becomes the antechamber for the promotion of cultural and 'spiritual' events, capable of putting the collective conscience back in motion. Calciosociale is in fact based on the statutory objective of organizing inclusive and welcoming activities for children with psycho-physical-motor problems, victims of economic hardship, social exclusion, drug addiction or intra-family violence.


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