Social Policy and Social Innovation

Coordinator: Elisabetta Notarnicola

Economic constraints on public sector budgets, ageing societies, new unmet needs and new technological opportunities are phenomena that have increased the need for research on how to identify new strategies to tackle with change in welfare sector.
To cope with this, first, it is necessary to improve our awareness of priorities that welfare systems are actually pursuing. Second, it is necessary to understand which are the main trends going on and the many ways welfare systems are reacting to them, both at the local and the central level. How local municipalities, policy makers, health authorities, social enterprises are facing this new era in welfare? What can they do in order to get a better allocation of resources and to deliver services that are at the same time efficient, equitable, offer good value for money and public value?
The “Social policy and service management research area” supports innovation in social and integrated care fields, providing actionable instruments to sustain strategies and financial sustainability in this changing context.

The main research streams are:

Service management and service design

New unmet needs require new and different services. Sharing economy, web based innovations and digital platforms provide new experiences and opportunities for future models of care. Analysis of innovation in service management and design provides insightful knowledge for the provision of care services. Research and action research is oriented towards supporting and assessing new service solutions in the welfare field, providing tools to private and public organizations for service development.

Agenda setting and change management

Welfare systems are undergoing changes from many different perspectives: population needs, actors involved, sources of funding, service delivery and others. In this area, research and action research is oriented toward supporting the understanding of changes that are affecting local, regional and central welfare systems, in order to help policy makers to set a proper agenda for strategic planning and an effective framework and tools for change management.

Long Term Care: policies and services

As ageing societies are developing, the provision of services for Long Term Care is one of the most debated issue for European countries. Research and action research on Long Term Care models are focused on institutional design, funding, integration models and service delivery, with the aim to develop actionable knowledge to improve both policy making and service provision in this field.

Social innovation

The concept of social innovation has recently entered the policy agenda and debate with an unprecedented strength and, at the same time, an unprecedented need to be defined, mapped and understood in both the policy and research contexts. Evidence shows that the opportunity to develop effective social innovations has both barriers and drivers in the public and private initiatives to support the challenges of welfare systems. Together with the Not for Profit area, we explore social innovation initiatives in different sectors, with a view to scaling good practices of social innovation and improving the overall response of welfare systems to the current needs and future trends impacting our societies.

Change management and innovation processes in the nonprofit sector.

Third sector organizations are the backbone of civic culture and engagement, social capital, entrepreneurship and activism: they help developing the infrastructure of our civil societies. Also, third sector organizations represent a relevant part of countries’ economies globally – around 2.5% of the GDP in Italy, over 6% and 7% in the US and UK and constantly increasing in emerging economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Fostering third sector organizations’ capacity to respond to our societies’ new challenges is then a primary need. With this strand of research, we respond to third sector organizations’ needs of innovation in management and governance in search of a nobler response to the needs of their stakeholders.

Ongoing projects

  • “Integrating services and supporting social innovation at the local level in the Lombardy Region”
    2015-2017, Lombardy Region, Regional directorate for social inclusion, Eupolis
  • “Developing managerial competencies in the care sector”
    2016-2017, Milan, Fondazione Don Gnocchi
  • “Care management of people affected by incontinency in Italy”
    2016-2017, Milan, Fater
  • "Strategic planning for local welfare: developing services in the city of Milan”. 2018
  • “Future of Welfare in Europe: trends, challenges, experiences of social innovation in 8 European Countries” 2017, KPMG