LABORATONO is a research unit, shared jointly by Torino Nord Ovest and the Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, its aim being to develop joint activities on three axes: studying European opportunities related to technological and social interdisciplinary projects, implementing local development and cultural activities.
• The relationship between technological innovation and social sciences. Among the innovations introduced by Horizon 2020, great importance is attached to the embedded approach in the social sciences, no longer isolated in specific lines of research but considered as cutting across many activities where preference is towards an approach aimed at forecasting, measuring and testing the effects of innovation. The term innovation is thus coloured with faceted meanings, considering technological, process and product innovation (in both industry and government), organizational innovation and social innovation in a logic of mutual interaction. In short, broadening a context of interdisciplinary collaboration, bringing together viewpoints and skills formerly kept apart, if not in competition with each other.
• Competitiveness of the research and innovation system. The Italian economy is engaged in profound transformation involving the manufacturing sector, the varied world of services, the universe of the professions, the regulated and unregulated labour market, the commitment of industry to support investment, the adaptation of education and professional training, the change in the welfare models and the work of intermediate social bodies. The effects of the crisis are to be found in each of these fields, but also signs of incipient change. It is therefore essential to verify the quantity and quality of the innovation processes introduced by economic operators, in the social field and in public administration: an essential step to define new policies.
• Participatory design laboratories. The extreme rapidity that characterizes the innovation cycle pushes organizations to interpret change as an integrated process, to consider it from top to bottom, from the concept stage to the availability of goods and services. In the business world, adjusting to speed means integrating the supply chain, creating scientific and organizational knowledge, reviewing business models and technology platforms. But it is above all in the field of public administration that speed leads to the most important consequences: rapidity, countless information sources, interested citizens wanting to take part and check, declining economic resources in a context of rising expectations – all these factors undermine traditional models. Authorities lose control prerogatives but acquire functions as “regulators”, necessary in order to ensure universal access to services in a mixed system, in which public and private players compete and cooperate. Participatory planning is the most practical and direct way to experiment with new solutions and new approaches. The first value of the project, in fact, is to weld the available resources around a common goal, whose importance increases as the initial interests of stakeholders diverge.