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Newsletter n. 3 - November 2007

by Redazione FGB [1], 10 November 2007


Giuseppe Adamoli

The debate on responsibility in innovation and innovation in democracy, which the Giannino Bassetti Foundation has long been promoting, has generated significant political developments: deliberative democracy is currently at the centre of political interest, so much so that Giuseppe Adamoli, chair of the Ad Hoc Statute Committee, made an explicit reference to responsibility in innovation during the Lombardy Regional Council session held on 3 July 2007.
The Region of Lombardy is, indeed, engaged in drafting its new statute, which is expected to be passed on its first reading before Spring 2008 is out. As Adamoli saw it, it was an instrument that had to have a "strong innovative thrust." If innovation entails tough decisions, politics has to shoulder those decisions.
Giuseppe Adamoli referred in his report to the challenge awaiting the Region during the constituent phase of the new statute: "There is another challenge, too, that our Region has to take up. Piero Bassetti, the first governor of the Region of Lombardy, highlighted it […]. Bassetti spoke in terms of ‘responsibility in innovation,' voicing the hope that Lombardy would shoulder that responsibility to the full and be the first of the Italian regions to commit itself to regulating the issue in its statute. It is a complex topic that summons up the principle of most innovative forces in society having a role to play in the administrative and legislative process to which I have already referred as well."
"The Regions were introduced as an extra link in the political organisation of the state, cutting down on red tape and bringing the public decision-making process, commencing with legislative decisions, closer to the man in the street," Adamoli went on to emphasise. "Whereas this latter goal may be said to have been largely achieved, there is every ground for the dissatisfaction regarding the other goals stated. The problem is largely of a general and national political nature, of course, but as far as the statutory, electoral and regulatory rules are concerned, we, as ‘regional constituents,' nevertheless hold considerable responsibility, and we must shoulder it in full."
So Giuseppe Adamoli and the Bassetti Foundation are clearly of a like mind on the subject.


LabInRes: Workshop on Responsible Innovation in the Public Authorities
Following Lucio Stanca, Fabrizio Barca Guest Speaker

Fabrizio Barca

The discussion with Senator Luigi Stanca was held on Monday 18 June 2007 in the University of Milan's Department of Social and Political Studies Seminar Hall. It was the first discussion held in the context of the LabinRes, the Workshop on Responsible Innovation in the Public Authorities, organised by the Giannino Bassetti Foundation, the University of Milan Master's Degree Course in Public Authorities and Policies and the ICONA [Organisational Innovation and Change in the Public Authorities] Interdepartmental Centre. The project was born of the conviction that innovation in and by the public authorities - in the sense of change in their structures, processes, relations, and allocation and use of existing and new resources - is a crucial factor in acquiring more effective public sector policies and more efficient markets. At the same time, this conviction is accompanied by the awareness that the paths to innovation can lead to results that may well be far distant from those envisaged at the outset, thus requiring further changes, overhauls and measures. This is where the responsibility factor comes in: a tangible innovation is also responsible if it adopts consultative, feedback and corrective mechanisms that ensure that it is monitored and honed. If, indeed, innovation is the "ability to achieve the improbable," it will by definition be at least partly unpredictable in its impact.
This conviction and this awareness, which the Bassetti Foundation by now regards as consolidated capital, are the two complementary aspects that the project intends to develop as integral components of the new public sector managers' professional skills. The debate with Lucio Stanca also featured Gloria Regonini, chair of the Master's Course in Public Authorities and Policies; Piero Bassetti, chair of the Giannino Bassetti Foundation; Maddalena Sorrentino of the ICONA Interdepartmental Centre; Maria Luisa Villa, director of the Doctoral School of Molecular Medicine, LITA [Interdisciplinary Advanced Technologies Laboratories], Segrate; Giovanni Giavazzi, chair of the Italcementi Foundation; Alessandro Aleotti, editor-in-chief of Milania; Paolo Zanenga, chair of PDMA [Product Development and Management Association] South Europe; Daniele Balboni, civil service consultant; Attilio Martinetti, director of the Euro Info Centre, and the students taking the specialisation course on Public Authorities and Policies. All the material on the discussion is available on the Giannino Bassetti Foundation site, in the Events section.
On Monday, 19 November 2007, commencing at 2.30 pm, LabinRes will be host to Fabrizio Barca, general director and ministerial adviser at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, at the Milan University Department of Social and Political Studies (Seminar Hall, Via Passione 15, second floor). Fabrizio Barca has formerly been a Bank of Italy Surveys Department manager, head of the Development and Cohesion Policies Department and chair of the OECD Territorial Development Policy Committee. He has taught and teaches university courses on businesses and corporate control theory and empirical analysis, development policy and Italian economic history at the following universities: Bocconi (Milan), Siena, Modena, Tor Vergata (Rome), Urbino, and Paris (Political Sciences). He has been visiting professor at MIT and Stanford University. He has written numerous essays and books on business, corporate governance and Italian capitalism. His most recent publications include: "Italia frenata" [The Brake on Italy] (Donzelli, 2006); "Misurare per Decidere. Utilizzo Soft e Hard di Indicatori di Sviluppo nelle Politiche di Sviluppo" [Measurement as a Decision-Making Factor: Moderate and Extreme Use of Development Indicators in Development Policies] (with M. Brezzi, F. Terribile and F. Utili) in Materiali UVAL No. 2, 2004; "Cooperation and Knowledge-Pooling in Clusters: Designing Territorial Competitiveness Policies," in "Cooperation, Networks and Institutions in Regional Innovation Systems," edited by D. Fornahl and T. Brenner (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2003); "New Trends and the Policy Shift in the Italian Mezzogiorno," in Daedalus and "Italy: Resilient and Vulnerable," Vol. 1, "The European Challenge," Spring, 2001.
Gloria Regonini, chair of the Master's Course in Public Authorities and Policies, will be introducing the discussion and Piero Bassetti, chair of the Giannino Bassetti Foundation, will sum up at the end. Massimo Florio (Jean Monnet Chair of European Economic Policy) will be debating with Fabrizio Barca.


la reinvenzione del cibo

Since technological innovation in the agribusiness began revolutionising eating habits, interdisciplinary interest in food issues - taking in ethics, sociology, political science, etc. - has burgeoned. The advent of technological innovation has undoubtedly changed foodstuff production and processing methods, making for improvements in safety and hygiene, but resulting in a loss of historical tradition and "local lore." In this sense, food turns into a meeting and battle ground for tradition, modernity, science and society in a market that is increasingly demanding products recognisable and repeatable in both form and flavour. This has obviously triggered repercussions in the regulatory sphere as well, with the birth of new forms of protection enforceable by law, such as the DOP [protected denomination of origin] and IGP [protected geographical indication]. In the context of this assessment, Cristina Grasseni's essay, La reinvenzione del cibo. Culture del gusto fra tradizione e globalizzazione ai piedi delle Alpi [The Reinvention of Food: Approaches to Taste Between Tradition and Globalization in the Foothills of the Alps] (Qui Edit, 2007) recounts the recent tale of a number of alpine cheeses as an example of the "reinvention of tradition" in the face of technological innovation, analysing the ethnographical aspects of the interaction and conflict between the new technological methods and the nurturing of local traditions.


New Version of the Site

nuovo sito

We launched a new version of the site, featuring a number of changes in the graphics and page layout, towards the end of August. The menu items have changed: in particular, the Topics section now goes by the name of Focus. This is the area on the site where we turn the spotlight on the topics we are addressing, certain particular aspects of responsibility in innovation. We think the arrangement of the other menu items is clearer and even more intuitive than before. Be that as it may, a visit to the "find your way around this website" page will answer any questions (you will find the link in the footer at the bottom).
The blog section on the home page has changed as well: the panel in the lower part of the page provides a presentation of the latest articles published and gives access both to the full text and to an introduction to the author, his or her blog and the index.
We have gone to great pains to improve our site's accessibility. This not only means paying particular attention to putting its content (which is, obviously, often complex) over clearly, but embarking on a technological rewriting of the whole site to enable it to be read from different platforms (it can be displayed using a range of browsers, on screens of different sizes and with different resolutions, for the vision-impaired, for automatic readers and for portable devices). To this end, we have borne in mind the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) guidelines and the Stanca directive (mandatory for institutional sites), which set out precisely to ensure maximum ease of communication. The technical aspects may be explored in greater depth by reading the Requests for Comments (FGB RFC) blog posts.

Towards a Democratic Knowledge-Based Society - Innovation and Participation

Giuseppe Pellegrini

This is the title of Giuseppe Pellegrini's new blog. Issues of socio-political interest, such as risk and uncertainty, sustainable growth, the precautionary principle and biodiversity, are often regarded as neutral objects of which knowledge may be acquired only by using the tools of science and technology. This blog sets out to direct mounting public interest towards the consequences of technical and scientific innovation by analysing the tools that democratic participation may provide.

From Jeff Ubois's blog

Dr. Michael Twidale

Jeff Ubois's interviews with scientists, intellectuals and technologists on the issues of responsibility in scientific and technological innovation continue. Having already spoken with Ignacio Chapela, Arthur Caplan, Christine Peterson, Lawrence Gasman, Jeff Jonas, Marc Smith, Ubois describes his long, wide-ranging interview with Michael Twidale who teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Among the topics covered are the nature and function of IRBs, participatory design, managing design tradeoffs, ethics and empowerment.

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newsletter 3-2007
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