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In the last decade western democracies witnessed a wide change in the attitude of the citizens as consumers towards the role and function of private for profit enterprises in society. This change in life styles, opinions and attitudes put pressure on firms influencing their corporate behavior, pushing them to adopt a more social responsible orientation towards the environment and its stakeholders. The corporations are asked nowadays to fulfill the requirements of a “triple bottom line”: the monetary rewards of the shareholders (economic feasibility); the improvement in quality of life of several stakeholders: workers, clients/users, suppliers, people living in the local community where the enterprise is located (social sustainability); the preservation of the natural environment (responsibility towards the new generations).This trends goes in the direction of the necessity for the corporations to act in a more transparent way (publicness and social accountability) and be able to demonstrate their impacts (positive or negative) in the territories where they are located.

A similar trend characterizes the welfare systems in many post-industrialized counties. The key aspects of these new social policies (in the field of health welfare and education) regard:
  • The extension of choice and control to all citizens with care or support needs;
  • The importance of information and advice for citizens with care or support needs, regardless of whether they are state funded or using their own resources;
  • The importance of services that promote independence and prevent people needing ongoing care or support where this can be avoided;
  • The importance of “universal services” in the lives of all citizens, especially those with care and support needs;
  • The importance of all stakeholders working together to shape communities, with the needs of citizens at the centre;
  • The continued importance of ensuring the cost effective delivery of services.  
These changes go in the direction of a new paradigm in the production, delivering and consumption of goods and services, called personalization, which replace the previous one: consumerism. In the new approach “Personalisation” the users are co-producers of the good in question. They are active participants in the process – deciding to manage their lives in a different way – rather than dependent users. The key is to build up the knowledge and confidence of the users to take action themselves, to self-manage their wellbeing without turning to the professionals.
This emerging need of building a new generation of more user-centred, efficient and cost-effective services requires (and implies) the change of the organisations that deliver them. Therefore, the Summer School will also link the issue of organizational change in the public sector with the design perspective. The described trend of the welfare systems implies a more complex management and, consequently, the use of new type of tools; the adoption of participatory design knowledge and tools in the development of public services could be a solution to simplify this processes and to promote social innovation in public sector.

In this framework a key role is played by civil society organizations, both in the more traditional “non-profit associational” form and in the new “social enterprise” structure.

The ESSE aims at giving a multidisciplinary scientific knowledge about these new trends and analytical tools for social enterprise researchers and practitioners in order to cope with this changing welfare landscape.



Alessandro DESERTIPolytechnic University of Milan (Italy)
Silvia FERREIRAUniversity of Coimbra (Portugal)
Cristoph KALETKATechnical University of Dortmund (Germany)
Matteo ORLANDINIUniversity of Bologna (Italy)
Riccardo PRANDINIUniversity of Bologna (Italy)
Francesca RIZZOUniversity of Bologna (Italy)
Martin ROUTLEDGEIn Control (UK)
Judith TERSTRIEPWestphalian University of Applied Science
Dennis R. YOUNGGeorgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia (USA)
Stefano ZAMAGNIUniversity of Bologna (Italy)

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