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Home > Focus > A look back at 2019

A look back at 2019

by Redazione FGB [1], 27 January 2020

As readers who follow the Bassetti Foundation regularly will know, 2019 was an important year for all of those involved in promoting and discussing responsibility in innovation across our network. In this post we offer a taster, hoping to wet some appetites for the coming year and decade.


Several series of events ran across various periods of the year, including the Around Mobility set of events, hosted an co-organized by the Foundation with MEET [2], and with the support of Repower and the Politecnico di Milano.

The events were aimed at investigating various future transport proposals, with the goal of providing participants with the tools necessary to make informed choices regarding transport choices for both the present and future generations, while addressing issues of political and societal responsibility through discussion. The series of three events featured engineers George Amar [3], Professor in Design and Innovation at Ecole de Mines ParisTech, Ryan Janzen [4], co-founder of TransPod and Jeffrey Schnapp [5], Chief Visionary Officer di Piaggio Fast Forward and founder of the MetaLAB at Harvard University.

The events were introduced by Francesco Samoré, Secretary General of the Foundation, and Mari Grazia Mattei from MEET. A report of each meeting written by Anna Pellizzone (in Italian), and video is available through the links above.

The theme of transport was followed in parallel with a series of events related to the Foundation's interest in the Self Driving Society, as represented by the 2018 publication of the same name [6].

The first of these events was SELF DRIVING SOCIETY@2030. This event was held (in Italian) within the Smart City: People, technology and Materials event held at Superstudiopiù 13 in Milan, and featured Giulio Ceppi, Politecnico di Milano, Tommaso Gecchelin, Founder, Inventor and CTO, NEXT Future Transportation inc. and the Foundation's own Fabio Besti.

Each expert delivered a lecture directly drawn from their wide personal experiences, video of which can be seen alongside a short report here [7].

Later on in the year, within the Politecnico di Milano School of Design Circular Design Lab, Besti once again delivered a lecture (in English) in which he analyzed the advancement of driverless technologies and investigated the possible impacts of this new technological phenomenon on the society of the future. Video and photos of the event are available here [8].

Interested readers might also want to take a look at this related article [9] in which Alessandro Scoscia walks us through the classifications used for autonomy in relation to motor vehicles and security.

A further series of events that saw the Foundation's participation were all related to the release of the International Handbook on Responsible Innovation, a Global Resource, edited by René von Schomberg and Foundation Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Hankins.

Alongside co-editing and co authoring the introduction, Hankins has a chapter in the book in which he describes the development of the Bassetti Foundation concept of Poiesis Intensive Innovation. A further chapter contains a transcription of an interview with President Bassetti (conducted by Prof. Sally Randles) in which he narrates the history of Foundation thought from his own personal perspective.

The handbook release was accompanied by the publication on the website of previously unpublished abstracts for each chapter, followed by reports from each of the launch and discussion events scheduled across Europe. Hankins participated in all of the events, reviewing the discussions and collecting opinions and observations of those present for publication and to promote further debate. The website has a Special Section dedicated to the publication of the International Handbook and the events that surrounded its release that can be accessed here [10].

The Foundation also provided scientific contributions (Lecturers, thematics and video documentation) to Politiké [11], the first politics school of Confcooperative Lombardy. A year of lectures aimed at business leaders associated with one of the longest-standing associations of co-operative collaboration, aimed at working towards renewing their structures and approaches while keeping hold of their values.


As regular readers will know, the Foundation plays a leading role in the Region of Lombardy Forum for Research and Innovation [12], an institution created in 2017 and that held its first full face to face meeting in Milan this year.

The event gave forum members the opportunity to discuss local government approaches to data-driven, AI and blockchain supported policy-making and services with Regional officials. The meeting was also the occasion for planning the next steps of the Responsible Initiative on Newborn Genome Sequencing (RINGS) and for discussion on how to advance structured consultation strategies for implementing participatory research agenda setting and co-design exercises on new tech and innovation policies with citizens.

The event was coordinated by Forum President Mario Calderini, professor at the Politecnico di Milano, who alongside other members presented the work of the Forum at the General Assembly for research and innovation the following day. The Foundation's Angela Simone, Anna Pellizzone, Francesco Samoré and Tommaso Correale participated in the preparation and running of the meeting. A report and photos are available here [13].

The Foundation also hosted and participated in several other conferences and events over the year.

The Foundation was co-Patron of the Second It's Circular Forum, held at the Auditorium di Assimpredil Ance, with the theme Future Cities: smart, digital and circular debated over four sessions. Speakers included Walter Mariotti, Editorial Director of Domus, Gaetano Di Tondo, Institutional and External Relations Director, Olivetti, Nicola Zanardi, CEO, Hub Lab Marco Pennarola, Responsabile Marketing Enterprise and Wholesale, Fastweb, Elio Catania, President of Confindustria Digitale and Bassetti Foundation General Secretary Francesco Samorè.

The event was conducted in Italian, video available here [14].


The Foundation also hosted several speakers throughout the year, with authors taking centre stage. Gabriele Giacomini, author of "Potere Digitale. Come internet sta cambiando la sfera pubblica e la democrazia" (Digital Power, How the Internet is Changing Public Space and Democracy) was the first to visit and enter into dialogue about his work.

This was a lively event with a host of speakers, video and a report of which is available here [15].

A further event held later in the year saw the Foundation welcome two other authors, with Roberto Panzarani and Lucia Dal Negro participating in an event titled Journey through Innovation, Dialogue with the Bassetti Foundation. The authors joined a host of Foundation collaborators and associates including representatives from the National Museum of Science and Technology and Istituto Clinico Humanitas for a series of presentations and debate.

Further details, report, podcast and video are available here [16].

Politics took centre stage as Salvatore Natoli, author of Il fine della Politica. Dalla «teologia del regno» al «governo della contingenza» (The End of Politics. From the Theology of the Kingdom to the Governance of Contingency) shared the stage with President Bassetti. Once again a distinguished panel of speakers provoked lively debate, a report, podcast, video and photos of which is available here [17].


Alongside these events, members of the Foundation's scientific staff participated in numerous other events hosted by different institutions. These included Various presentations made on behalf of the Foundation including Angela Simone's (another author) intervention at the Between Science & Society Conference held in Naples under the guidance of the Italian Institute for the Future, an abstract of which is available here [18].

Guido Romeo also delivered a paper in the Foundation's name at the Al Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra within the context of a workshop on Artificial Intelligence. Romeo detailed the geopolitical context within which Italy finds itself related to the uptake of innovative industrial applications and approaches to ethical principles. Further details are available here [19].

Members of staff also attended and participated in a host of other conferences, including EU funded events such as those organized by the PRISMA [20] and ROSIE [21] projects, as well at other University hosted events such as the Utrecht Degrowth Symposium [22] to name just a few.


Alongside all of these events the website offered its usual array of articles including reviews of the year's issues of the Journal of Responsible Innovation [23], an Introduction to Responsible Innovation video lecture [24] (in Italian and English) and other publications from both Foundation collaborators and other colleagues offering different perspectives from our network.

2020 brings the Foundation to celebrate 25 years in Responsibility in Innovation, with a host of events planned alongside an array of new and exciting developments (more on that to come soon). We look forward to sharing our journey with you all once more, as we hope to share in a healthy and prosperous new year.


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Links in this document:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Redazione FGB
  2. 2] https://www.meetcenter.it/it/around-mobility-un-semestre-sul-futuro-in-movimento/
  3. 3] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/04/around_mobility_meet_george_am.html
  4. 4] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/05/around_mobility_incontro_con_r.html
  5. 5] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/06/around_mobility_meet_jeffrey_s.html
  6. 6] https://selfdrivingsociety.fondazionebassetti.org/white-paper/
  7. 7] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/08/self_driving_society2030_-_lev.html
  8. 8] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2019/10/design_for_the_future_self-dri.html
  9. 9] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/06/automotive_e_sicurezza.html
  10. 10] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/tags/The%20International%20Handbook%20on%20Responsible%20Innovation
  11. 11] http://www.irecooplombardia.it/news_detail.php?newsId=26
  12. 12] https://www.openinnovation.regione.lombardia.it/eng/regional-forum-on-research-and-innovation
  13. 13] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2019/06/forum_on_research_and_innovation.html
  14. 14] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/06/its_circular_forum_future_citi.html
  15. 15] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/07/potere_digitale_fra_ideali_e_r.html
  16. 16] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/11/viaggi_nellinnovazione_con_i_d.html
  17. 17] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/12/il_fine_della_politica_un_dial.html
  18. 18] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/10/between_science_society_2019.html
  19. 19] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2019/04/al_joint_research_centre_jrc_u.html
  20. 20] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2019/07/prisma_industrial_roadmap.html
  21. 21] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2019/04/rosie_innovation_in_practice_e.html
  22. 22] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2019/07/utrecht_degrowth_symposium.html
  23. 23] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/tags/Journal%20of%20Responsible%20Innovation
  24. 24] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2019/02/introduction_to_responsible_in.html
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A look back at 2019


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