Course info

Course Overview

In the generally depressing state that the Italian cultural and environmental heritage finds itself in, at risk through lack of resources and the economic crisis, new experiences are emerging: initiatives set up by enthusiastic and competent citizens that have re-launched sites, places, knowledge and traditions, reorganising the work and community relations.

The course will first of all take a look at an analysis of the abandoned cultural heritage and current inadequate models of traditional management. Subsequently, we will present a series of success stories regarding spontaneous and necessary innovation that led to the revival of the forgotten heritage, especially in Southern Italy, looking, in particular, at the phenomenon of social innovation and how it can be applied to the cultural heritage.

Learning Objectives

This MOOC illustrates a series of flagship stories that have developed in Southern Italy in recent years, and that have tried using an innovative approach to tackle the issue of safeguarding the cultural and environmental heritage. This are examples of projects that were set up without institutional support, but they serve to explore an increasingly interesting phenomenon that shows obvious signs of bottom-up social innovation. On the basis of these experiences, the characteristics of a new model of cultural and environmental heritage management will be described, that is triggered by the participation of citizens and is based on the concept of social innovation.

At the end of the course you will have the tools to:

  • diagnose the problems and challenges in the cultural context;
  • develop and implement models of participatory development;
  • use methods and interdisciplinary processes.

Study of specific cases, and contact with real experiences, will enable you to acquire those notions that will help you develop the skills to build relationships, coalitions and systems to support and sustain change.


Stories of social innovation in the cultural sector like these are on the increase, but because they are lots of small stories, they don't get heard very easily. We are not in the presence of innovative start-ups, there are no venture capitalists interested, the profits to be made are not high. It is more like hundreds of tiny stars that try to provide light in a very difficult and critical area. We believe that there is a lot to learn from these stories.

For the moment there are relatively few cases, but it is certainly a phenomenon to follow and find out more about, but at the end of this first stage we can already focus on a series of issues that are clearly emerging:

  • exploding stereotypes: the case studies offer a view of Southern Italy and the Mediterranean that goes beyond moaning and fatalism, beyond opportunism and beyond clashes and confrontation;
  • the possibility of change: all the stories illustrate visible and concrete examples of regeneration, even in extremely adverse contexts;
  • an experimental approach: towards new models of management.

Course Structure

  • Lesson 1 - The abandoned cultural heritage
  • Lesson 2 - Size of the cultural heritage as an alibi
  • Lesson 3 - The inadequacy of management models
  • Lesson 4 - Stories of social innovation and the cultural heritage
  • Lesson 5 - Stories of social innovation and the cultural heritage
  • Lesson 6 - SUD INNOVATION
  • Lesson 7 - Social Innovation: a reference model for the cultural heritage
  • Lesson 8 - Le caratteristiche delle storie di SOCIAL INNOVATION per il patrimonio culturale


Stefano Consiglio, University of Naples Federico II

Stefano Consiglio is full Professor in Business Organisation at the University of Naples, Federico II, Department of Economics, Management and Institutions. A former vice-president of Human Sciences and Director of the Department of Sociology, he currently coordinates the specialization course in Organisation and Management of Cultural and Environmental Heritage at the University of Naples, Federico II. He is a member of the governing board of the Italian Academy of Business Administration and Management (AIDEA). Prof Consiglio's research interests focus on business management, human resource management, innovation and enterprise creation.