The combination of social innovation and the need for entrepreneurial spirit examined in theory and in practice
Person, company, work, via the experiences of every individual and those of social systems as a whole, as well as manufacturing systems. The relationships between the growth of a person in relation to his or her peers and to the working environment form a complex knot of themes and issues, and the complexity only increases when an individual’s entrepreneurial spirit is combined with his or her status as a migrant. However, it is precisely from this situation that opportunities for business can arise,
as Silvia Lassi explains in her thesis, discussed at the School of Humanities and Education of the University of Florence. “Imprenditività e migranti: un percorso possibile di innovazione sociale”, (Entrepreneurship and migrants: a possible route towards social innovation) begins with the idea that innovation in general and social innovation in particular play a central role in the quest for more “effective, efficient, sustainable and inclusive solutions than those that already exist” to the issues affecting many communities.
Innovation, then, is the watchword here, and Lassi applies it to the problem posed by the social inclusion of migrants who need to find work and, perhaps, set up businesses. This is the concrete goal, but the research project begins by taking it back to a theoretical paradigm derived from the work of two great thinkers (Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen) and founded upon a skills-based approach, or in other words, “on the centrality of the person, on what he or she is capable of being and doing, and on freedom of choice as the basis for the realisation of any life project”. Lassi sets her sights on the end goal and on the theoretical foundations that lie beneath the path that leads to this, building her investigation as she goes.
The project then develops the theoretical context upon which she will base her conclusions, before moving on to analyse the skills-based approach in detail, in relation to the themes of entrepreneurial spirit and enterprise, before identifying a concrete application for these concepts: namely, the Loud Project, founded upon a number of initiatives put in place by the University of Florence, dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial spirit among young people with regard to migrants.
Silvia Lassi’s work has great merit, in that it provides a concise outline of a complex journey – from theory to practice – of human and entrepreneurial growth, which can be used as an example for other businesses and organisations.
Martha Nussbaum’s quotation at the beginning of the text (which, among other things, serves to summarise every business dream) is very apt: “Chasing a dream calls for dreamers: minds that have been trained to think critically about alternatives and to imagine ambitious goals”.
Thesis, University of Florence, School of Humanities and Education, Degree Course in Adult Education, Continuing Education and Pedagogical Sciences, 2019