Organized by the Fondazione Mondo Digitale ( in the context of the Global Junior Challenge Award (, with the support of the Municipality of Rome and the High Patronage of the Presidency of the Republic of Italy.

Social innovation and entrepreneurship have moved centre stage in the struggle to make the world a better place for all. Several major forces have converged to sustain this rise to prominence:

(1) the massive social problems facing humanity as its travels the 21st century, including the visible deterioration of the earth’s environment and massive problems in poverty, education, health and city regeneration,
(2) the failure of purely free-market globalization to satisfy the expectation that the market was the solution to most problems,
(3) the rise of the anti-globalization movement spreading awareness about the negative effects of globalization,
(4) the inability of the present national and international arrangements to solve these problems,
(5) the diminution in the role and participation of the state from welfare systems since the 1980s,
(6) the spread of new information and communication technologies that make possible the rapid circulation of information and, most importantly, a constant stream of innovation in all arenas of life, and
(7) the growing number of grassroots social innovations that are signalling, if not a clearly defined path forward, at least the will and the imagination to construct this path - as in the words of Spanish poet Antonio Machado: caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar (“traveller there is no path, the path is made as you go.”

In this search, the impact of the recent near-collapse of the financial system in 2008 is both an evil and an opportunity. It is just unfolding and the likelihood is that it will only make matters worse in the short term, but it simultaneously offers an opportunity to rethink and innovate the structures, governances, dynamics and practices of current societies, particularly giving a strong boost to the practice, theorization and diffusion of effective social innovation.

This conference brings together a selected group of scholars and leaders in the field of social innovation in order to enhance our understanding of the nature, governance, successes/failures, challenges of social innovation. The reflection addresses both theories and practices of social innovation from an academic, practitioner and policy viewpoints, including visions on how to take forward social innovation/s on a global scale. The conference intends to produce a book with the papers contributed by participants in order to extend the potential impact of the ideas generated.

Finally, the conference takes place in the context of the Global Junior Challenge Award, the global contest of ICT-based educational innovation and e-inclusion ( run by the Fondazione Mondo Digitale ( with the support of the Municipality of Rome and the Presidency of the Italian Republic. The Award Ceremony of the Global Junior Challenge takes place on in the morning of 9th October at the historic Giulio Cesare Room of the Campidoglio City Hall.  


Simultaneous translation service will be available during the conference
Italian / English - English / Italian


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