Needs within our society have been changing, becoming increasingly multi-dimensional and complex. Our welfare system has been struggling to fully grasp ongoing changes and provide adequate responses. Apart from a reform of our national welfare system, which is indisputably necessary, local players can do much to alleviate problems by redesigning responses, innovating the ways in which services are provided, strengthening multi-players networks, engaging communities and recomposing together resources and abilities to meet current needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic those local systems which in previous years had embarked on a social innovation journey fared better in terms of prompt response to the crisis, rapid reorganization of services as well as proximity and support to people in need. In welfare services, too, in those areas that had already embraced them, digital technology and innovation provided a solid infrastructure facilitating communications and the relationship among players in the network and also between citizens and those providing services. The innovation journey must continue to maximize capture of existing needs and provision of adequate responses to them, adopting an approach which combines digital technology and proximity/local responses.
Increasing the ability of welfare systems to capture and respond to the needs within communities by supporting local pilot projects capable of bringing together players and resources, of setting in motion participatory processes involving the population and local players and of delivering a novel suite of products and services with high social value also via the new digital technologies.