Dating 4 Good


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Europa: facciamo il punto

Il semestre di presidenza e’ cominciato. Renzi ha fatto il suo debutto a Strasburgo con un discorso che non e’ piaciuto a molti… tra i burocrati e i cortigiani. In realta’ in poche parole ha espresso il sentimento dei giovani europei – la generazione Telemaco – che di questa Europa stanca, lenta e invecchiata sono stufi.

E’ ora di reinventare questa Europa che rappresenta il nostro futuro nel mondo globalizzato del XXI secolo. Come procedere? Sicuramente la prossima mossa fondamentale e’ la scelta del Commissario italiano e la definizione del programma della prossima Commissione. Il semestre e’ un’opportunita’ immancabile.


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How is Brussels going on with the social enterprise agenda?

A friend has just come back from Heraklion (Crete, Greece) where the last meeting of the Commission’s experts in social entrepreneurship gathered for 3 days.

You might wonder why the Commission is spending our taxes to pay for a jolly on the Greek beaches. I’m sure this is music for Euroskeptic as Grillo, Farage and Le Pen. How to blame them. We hope that this is a contribution to the economic recovery of Greece at least.

Here is a genuine report of what happened… toned with an enthusiasm for Brussels’ potential in which I do not believe in anymore unless it goes through a dramatic overhaul.

Enjoy the reading:

“You asked what I thought about the 5th GECES meeting recently held in Heraklion. I have some positive reflections but there is also room for improvement.

It was excellent news that the Impact Measurement paper by the GECES subgroup was formally adopted by GECES and that it can therefore now serve the Commission as a useful first step towards an EU wide framework on this very difficult but valuable issue. It is understandable that many people wanted the paper to do more, take a different approach, or even be more explicit about specific indicators that should be used for specific activities – but I think that it has been right to first focus on establishing a common best practice process that itself can accommodate plurality and diversity as well as respond dynamically to needs on the ground. These are of course some of the guiding principles we identified in our communique on social investment to Commissioner Barnier – which 3 years later is still as valid as it was then.

This departure from other top-down and one-size-fits-all policies is very sensible and makes a refreshing break, so the Commission should be commended for stepping outside its comfort zone and being supportive of the approach mapped out in the paper. It is a significant milestone that the Eu Commission now has a single starting point for how impact measurement should be implemented across the full gamut of EU areas and bodies –EaSI, EuSEF, ERDF, ESF, EIB, EIF etc  – it would have been a disaster to have had different approaches taken by all.

It is accepted by the authors that the approach to measuring social impact needs further work because it is an emerging science and that regular review and evolution of the detailed implementation  is essential. I think it would be helpful looking at impact measurement through the lens of how we collect and aggregate the impact data so that we have useful benchmark data that is comparable. Although it is important to know what we want to measure, we should now start thinking about what we want to do with that data so that it can come together to form useful market-wide information that improves decision making about how capital can be more effectively deployed to achieve social outcomes. So we need to see which financing instruments are better able to deliver certain outcomes, or address certain areas of social concern or beneficiary groups. It is important to be able to evaluate the relationship between financial returns and social returns by evaluating a rich dataset that incorporates both in a readily accessible and comparable way.

Adoption of the impact measurement paper also means that the EU will now make a significant contribution towards shaping and influencing the global debate via the G7 task force on social impact investing. It is a shame that the GECES only has one subgroup that aligns with the G7 taskforce activity, because the G7 seems to be making stronger progress across more issues and in a shorter space of time than GECES. Arguably speed will come at the expense of quality in parts and so therefore it is vital that the EU community engages more strongly in all these G7 workstreams so that it can help embed a representative and more pluralistic global narrative – this opportunity should be embraced by GECES but I fail to see it being recognised by the group with the priority I think it needs.

I recommend that the GECES ramps up its activity and sets up another 4 subgroups to align with the 5 workstreams of the G7 task force.

In my view the G7 narrative on social impact investing still risks being too strongly influenced by the Anglo-Saxon perspective and not sufficiently inclusive and embracing of the full breadth of global opinion. Every time I raise this issue it strikes a chord so I am convinced that I have identified a very relevant pressure point. There is nothing wrong per se with the Anglo-Saxon narrative – I agree with it – but by definition it can never be a global narrative and it will be a wasted effort if the emerging G7 narrative ignores this important dimension – this will just result in fragmentation and confusion in the market and ultimate impede the increase of mainstream capital being deployed globally for an explicit social purpose. Unfortunately the GECES group as a whole remains stubbornly unable or unwilling to see the value it could bring to the global debate both in real terms but also using this agenda to (re)establish Europe’s forward thinking leadership on the global stage. Our parochial and myopic introspection risks us having to accept what others decide on our behalf.

We should bear in mind that the G7 initiative on social impact investment (under the UK presidency) will be taken over by the G20 (under the Australian presidency) – this is relevant because we know that the EU listens more strongly to the G20 than the G7 – so it would be enlightened self-interest to engage more strongly now. Perhaps under the Italian presidency of the EU, which comes at an interesting juncture between the outgoing and incoming EU commission and also effectively the handover of the social investment baton from the G7 to the G20. The Italian Government would be wise to recognise this significant opportunity it has to take the lead Europe whilst the handover of the Commission is in flux with new Commissioners being elected – it would be a lost opportunity if Europe capitulates on these important social-economic issues that it actually has the intellectual leadership of – the question is whether there is the political leadership to engaged?

The results of recent European elections have revealed disillusionment in the establishment. Clearly the frustrations of the Occupy movement and the Indignados et al in the wake of the financial crisis has now been directed towards the political classes – so in my view it is obvious that any new political leadership should harness the power of the emerging social sector as a credible and proven way of filling the gaps of the financial crisis and government austerity. The challenge is of course how to make it sexy and cool so that the take-up is rapid, deep and sustainable – in other words, significantly recalibrate the rules of the mainstream capitalist model towards have a more explicit social objective!

Back to the last GECES meeting and how could it be improved to respond to this changing landscape and potentially increasing relevance of its activity:

  1. The format and structure of the GECES meetings need changing to more effectively harness the collective brain-power in the room. It is a very wasteful cost of time and money for us all to attend meetings only to be spoken to and not engaged in productive working sessions. We should use these meetings to have more dynamic workshops and hackathons etc to actually deliver useful solutions to the problems. We have people in the GECES group who are excellent at doing this, but they are not being sufficiently engaged in the formal process – although I think many of the officials will individually be receptive and supportive. We should be able to address multiple topics at once, not just one. For example, the next GECES meeting will focus on procurement policy – personally I don’t think I can contribute much to that but I certainly will enjoy the chance to get an expenses paid trip to Rome – this is not wise use of EU money and will just fuel the anti-EU / anti-establishment sentiment.
  2. The Eu Commission services should take encouragement from the success of delivering the bottom-up impact measurement paper by stepping further outside their comfort zone. But to do this I suspect they need a more dynamic mandate (stronger leadership?) within the Eu Comm, SBI, GECES. This needs to be by people who deeply understand the social sector and importantly how to harness more effectively the resources of the GECES group.
  3. I thought this last meeting in Heraklion might have been be more useful because the GECES meeting was linked to a conference by the Greek government, and that the Greek government would have asked us to try help them brainstorm solutions to some burning issues or problems they are experiencing. But again we were just spoken to about stuff we either knew or wasn’t relevant. So instead many of us found it more productive (and enjoyable) to network amongst ourselves in the rooftop pool of the hotel instead of actually attend the conference. Again very wasteful use of EU money, but very valuable networking for us so I am grateful – but in reality we could have done both!

So in summary, GECES has convened an excellent bunch of people and it has the potential to be very influential and valuable in helping to create consensus and articulate solutions to our EU/global social-economic problems… but, like with all things that have been running for a few years, I recommend that it is time for a strategic review to take on board changes in context so that it can be more effective and a more useful use of EU money”.

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l’Italia ha vinto le europee. Cogliamo i frutti della vittoria

L’Italia ha vinto le elezioni europee. Ora pero’ non e’ tempo di adagiarsi sugli allori o recriminare. Bisogna recuperare il ritardo accumulato negli anni sviluppando una strategia europea per il paese. Servono politiche per rilanciare lo sviluppo dell’Italia e dell’Europa.

Suonero’ come un disco incantanto ma io punterei su quelle nuove forme di produzione economica e sociale che vanno sotto il nome di imprenditorialita’, innovazione e investimenti sociali.

Nulla di nuovo. Esiste una tradizione secolare in Italia cosi’ come in tanti altri paesi europei.

Anche a Bruxelles queste idee stanno maturando da piu’ di dieci anni. Hanno fatto la loro prima comparsa nelle negoziazioni iniziali per il primo piano di sviluppo economico 2000 -10 (l’Agenda di Lisbona) e  hanno persino acquisito maggiore peso con le tempeste economiche-finanziarie degli ultimi anni.

Pero’ soltanto ora le costellazioni dei diversi calendari politici si stanno per allineare creando il momento perfetto. L’Italia sapra’ cogliere l’occasione?


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Raccomandazioni a un futuro membro del Parlamento Europeo

Ho pensato di condividere la mia nota a futuro membro del Parlamento Europe. che ne dici?

“Cara Alessia,

Ti mando una riflessione su quelli che dovrebbero essere i punti programmatici dell’agenda sull’innovazione e l’imprendtorialita’ sociali della prossima Commissione Europea e del nuovo Parlamento. Ti aggiuungo un breve premessa per illustrare il commino finora intrapreso e meglio calibrare l’azione futura.

Ovviamente non devo sottolineare a te l’opportunita’ unica che si presenta al governo italiano al quale tra qualche mese tocchera’ la presidenza dell’Unione proprio in un momento cruciale di transizione. E’ un momento perfetto per definire l’agenda  dei prossimi anni e restituire all’Europa la  leadership e all’Italia una leadership nell’Europa.

Ho elaborato questa riflessione granzie agli inputs degli amici della coop Lama (Legacoop) e agli spunti che ho preso da tante conversazioni con italiani e non. Come saprai passo la vita a fare ‘comizi’ in giro per l’Europa :-)

Ovviamente queste sono raccomandazioni a puro titolo personale. Il sistema italiano e’ completamente ingessato e se chiedi indicazioni alle rappresentanze ufficiali otterai le solite banalita’. Di queste chiusure sono vittime i tuoi colleghi del Parlamento Europeo che, nella scorsa legislatura, si sono limitati a difendere interessi acquisiti e pure male se vogliamo prestare fede alla valutazione dei cooperanti e dei dirigenti rimasti in Italia.

Certamente i tuoi colleghi non hanno saputo creare nuove opportunita’ di sviluppo e di lavoro per il pullulare di innovatori e imprenditori italiani che spuntano ovunque come funghi. Tutto grazie alla crisi del lavoro…


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Matteo, quale ruolo all’imprenditorialità sociale nel semestre di presidenza europea dell’Italia?


Ci sono centinaia di migliai di ragazzi che guardano all’imprenditorialità’ sociale come a una soluzione per il loro futuro; milioni di Italiani che ne sono in un qualche modo coinvolti e credono che questa visione dell’impresa rappresenti una soluzione per il loro benessere.

Hai inserito l’hai inserita nell’agenda dell’Italia che, tra quattro mesi, si trovera’ alla testa dell’Europa?

Capisco che tu sia molto occupato a smantellare vecchi baracconi statali, a mandare in pensionamento forzato un’intera generazione di burocrati piu’ vecchi degli uffici dove hanno messo radici, e a forzare il paese ad aprirsi  al Ventunesimo Secolo, ma saprai meglio di me che oggi i giochi si fanno a Bruxelles e che l’Italia non puo’ continuare a perdere terreno in Europa.

Usa la carta dell’imprenditorialita’ sociale per rottamare il dibattito sfittico e disarmante sul futuro dell’Europa e ricentrarlo su  un nuovo modello di sviluppo che sia vincete per l’economia, la societa’ e l’ambiente. In fondo questa e’ la filosfia di fondo della strategia economica europea – Europe 2020 – e il sogno di ogni cittadino per se’ e per i propri figli.

L’Italia ha una lunga tradizione che va ben al di la’ dell’interpretazione ottusa di impresa sociale che danno certi tradizionalisti nostrani, ed e’ un pulluare di nuove iniziative. Costruisci su questo quando il paese avra’  in mano le redini della presidenza europea.

Sara’ un momento crtitico e di trasformazione di tutta l’Unione. A Maggio ci saranno le elezione del Parlamento, dopodiche’ tutte le massime cariche nelle istituzioni europee ranno rinnovate. E’ l’occasione  rompere con l’immobilismo degli ultimi anni.

Se riuscirai in questo vedrai che non soltanto gli Italiani, ma tutta l’Europa ti seguira’.


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Italian Social Enterprise: A Missed Opportunity… almost

The Italian government is reviewing the law on social enterprise. The new legislation introduced in 2006 after a long gestation has produced just little more than 700 new enterprises without any noticeable difference to the country.

It’s a failure admitted by all stakeholders and several attempts to change the law have been made in the last two years but without progress.

This time all the circumstances are favorable. The financial crisis of the public sector is forcing the third sector – the main interested party – to look for new solutions. The new government headed by the youngest ever PM is looking  for good news. Finally the attempt to grow a market for public services led by both the EU and G8 is providing the international pressure for the Italians to do their homework.

However it will turn into a trivial exercise if the problem is not properly considered. Not only the agenda of the third sector should define the solution or it will be a missed opportunity for the Italians.


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Imprenditorialita’ civica: l’esempio di Andrea

Che sorpresa mi ha fatto Andrea quando ho trovato l’articolo su Imprenditorialita’ civica per reinventare  l’Europa che Indy Johar ed io abbiamo pubblicato su E!sharp in gennaio, tradotto e pubblicato nel sul suo blogQui trovi la versione italiana dell’articolo, mentre qui quella inglese.

Questa e’ un’iniziativa spontanea che esemplifica non solo lo spirito .dell’imprenditorialita’ civica che mi sta a cuore, ma soprattutto il valore della produzione di idee e del loro scambio attraverso i confini nazionali per lo sviluppo collettivo. I processi materiali non sono tutto!

Ricambio linkandomi all’ultimo blog di Andrea: Quello che non vorremmo e che invece occorre sapere sui Fondi Europei 2014-2020. Devi leggerlo se ti interessa capire come le amministrazioni publiche si stanno cimentando con le nuove forme di produzione economica e sociale, ovvero la cosidetta innovazione sociale. Andrea e’ lo specialista in Italia!

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Impresa sociale: terra di mezzo, di tutti, o di nessuno?

L’impresa sociale è una terra di mezzo dove tribù ben distinte e spesso in conflitto stanno convergendo; una terra di tutti dove un legislatore con tendenze staliniste ha l’intenzione di far ricollocare tutti coloro che operano nel sociale vendendo beni e servizi; o una terra di nessuno e  disertata se non per fare cagnara come è successo finora?

Queste sono le domande sul tavolo del gruppo di lavoro sull’impresa sociale riunito ieri, per la prima volta, dall’advisory board italiano della taskforce su social impact investments del G8. E’ un’occasione per allineare il lavoro di revisione della legge italiana sull’impresa sociale che diversi gruppi istituzionali e non hanno portato avanti, e la ricognizione che la taskforce del G8 sta conducendo in tutti i paesi membri per definire le linee di sviluppo del mercato degli investimenti sociali.

Questa volta ci siamo. Le stelle sono allineate in una costellazione favorevole. Il nuovo Ministro del Lavoro Poletti vuole una proposta da presentare al Parlamento, e l’Italia dovrà dare conto dei propri progressi al resto del mondo. Ospiteremo il 28 – 29 Ottobre la riunione di tutti i membri della taskforce e, il 19 – 20 Novembre, la conferenza europea sull’imprenditorialità sociale.

Non c’è più tempo per rimandare. E’ tempo di decidere e agire… anche perché Danilo Giovanni Festa – modello di un’amministrazione pubblica never give up! – ha pure qualche buona idea per la copertura finanziaria della riforma.


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La grande bellezza… di Strasburgo!

Non so perche’ piaccia tanto il film La Grande Bellezza. Mi ha lasciato triste e sconsolato se si considera una metafora della societa’ italiana contemporanea.

L’aspetto che piu’ mi ha colpito e’ che la Roma di Sorrentino e’ una citta’ spopolata come la capitale dell’Impero nel Medioevo. E’ una citta’ senza giovani, ma popolata soltanto da persone di mezza eta’ e vecchi che si comportano come ragazzini sconsiderati. Quei pochi giovani sono succubi dei vecchi e presto sono tolti di mezzo.

Quella di Sorrentino e’ un’Italia senza futuro che vive di nostalgia, rimpianti e che affoga le proprie angosce in feste surreali come i passeggeri del Titanic in attesa del naufragio.


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Vodafone Mobile for Good: Business, Technology & Social Entrepreneurship

What are a corporate leader, myself and a geek doing in the same picture? There is no secret plot but Fay Arjomandi (The Vodafone Americas Foundation) and Filippo Addarii (The Young Foundation) are awarding the founder of the  anti-corruption app Bribespot.

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in Vodafone Foundation Mobile for Good Europe Awards (December 2013). The Vodafone Foundation, the charitable arm of Vodafone, awarded the teams behind four new Android and iOS applications €30,000 each. These awards help support transformational apps designed to improve people’s lives and the delivery of public services. At the same time, they provide a platform for social innovators and entrepreneurs to show their creativity and ability.

Vodafone Foundation is doing an amazing job for recognizing  these innovators and entrepreneurs and creating an alliance that can transform public services.


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