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Issue no. 1 - 2005

by Redazione FGB [1], 27 March 2005

Each year the Bassetti Foundation organises meetings with internationally renowned thinkers who have brought a highly innovative perspective to their respective fields. Thus, after the economic Richard Nelsen (Università Bocconi, June 2002) and the sociologist Bruno Latour (Politecnico di Milano, November 2003), this year the Foundation organised a meeting with Daniel Callahan (one of the world's leading experts in the field of bioethics) at the Università Cattolica to discuss his views on the impact of innovation on health and health services.

The site www.fondazionebassetti.org , which reflects and accompanies the activities of the Foundation, also took part, not just by providing information on Callahan but also by opening a Call for Comments (CfC) designed to open an online discussion, introduce the lecture being given by Callahan in Milan on 21 February and host a dialogue after the event. The CfC, entitled "The implications of innovation in the health field: false hopes for medicine?", was conducted by Cristina Grasseni in Italian and English and ran from January until the end of February.

All the contributions and comments received were neatly summed up in Cristina's conclusion: "[...] the topic of the sustainability of medicine has been interpreted and tackled here from different viewpoints: that of the ethics of medical and scientific research and that of the politics of health care. The various comments deal, in fact, with medical research on the one hand and with the provision of health care on the other".

As a whole, Callahan's reflections follow at least two directions: a reflection on the aims of medicine and a political proposal on how to manage economic resources that are deemed to be limited.

The participatory approach to online publication is a feature currently being pursued strongly in the site. So, in addition to the Call for Comments, the site has other spaces open to contributions from readers. These include "Collaborate", which was discussed in the last Diary and closed in December, and writing spaces such as DiaBloghi, a blog run by Tommaso Correale Santacroce in which participants are invited to write in dialogue form.

The theme of DiaBloghi is poiesis-intensive innovation and refers to that fleeting characteristic of the innovative impulse in which the creative aspect combines with the capacity for action: a mix that makes it possible to project into the realm of action an idea that would otherwise remain purely in the realm of the "possible".

In the last three months the site has carried references to a number of articles (presentations and more in-depth pieces), in some cases in cooperation with other sites, as well as some more traditional publications. These include: "Giannino Bassetti. L'imprenditore raccontato" (R. Garruccio, G.Maifreda; Rubbettino, Milan, 2004), a critical biography of the entrepreneur and man presented in Milan at Palazzo Affari ai Giureconsulti; the essay "Nuova scienza e nuova politica" by Piero Bassetti, published in the fifth and last volume, "Scienza e tecnologia al di là dello specchio", of the series La Nuova Scienza (edited by U. Colombo and G. Lanzavecchia, Libri Scheiwiller, Milan, 2004); and Il viaggio delle idee. Per una governance dell'innovazione" (Roberto Panzarani, Franco Angeli, Milan, 2005), which involved the coordination of three blogs in the site.

An article -- which delves somewhat deeper than a review -- of Panzarani's book also appeared in Daniele Navarra's English-language web-log "Innovation, Risk & Governance".

In recent months Navarra's blog has developed three main themes. The first concerns the study of technological innovations such as bio- and nano-technologies and developments in the field of information and communication technologies. With their many complex elements, these themes are at various levels the keystones of the economic growth policies of advanced and less developed nations, both in relation to international development policies and to the regulation of the economic activities governing trade between nations. The second aims to examine more closely the conceptual models relating to the governance of these innovations at the international level and in particular to the adaptation of these parameters as applied in the ethical and regulatory frameworks of different nations. The third and final theme examines the risks and challenges posed by these processes and reiterates the need to make an active contribution to the debate on the way the involvement of emerging institutional forms can help achieve greater accountability with respect to the effects of innovation. The blog "Innovation, Risk & Governance" is designed to examine these themes through writings, reflections and exchanges of views with all those interested in taking part.

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