Our 3DPRINTforAID contest is almost over: September, 23rd will be the last day to upload your project of a socially useful object to be manufactured via 3D printing (this is the contest page). What should we expect from this mix of technology and social innovation? That's what we asked Riccardo Luciani, member of the jury and Impact Hub Florence director and co-founder.

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Riccardo Luciani

Why did you create Impact Hub Florence? What are its goals?

Impact Hub is a global network for social innovation. It's configured as a network of physical spaces (the local Hubs, i.e. the network nodes) where members of a global community of social innovators can meet to know, get inspired by and work with other members. People who, regardless of different professional and personal backgrounds, have in common the same creative spirit, an attitude for energy and initiative, strong values of sharing and collaboration, a desire to change the world we're living.

Locally, each Hub works as a catalyst for change and a network node. A local Hub it's not a mere co-working space or a traditional incubator, it's a place designed to help practices fostering the development of social innovation projects to meet and be realized. Impact Hub Florence was born to achieve this vision in the Florence and Tuscany area.

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Why should a designer enter 3DPRINTforAID contest?

Because it's a perfect example of how we can combine technology solutions research, cross-sector collaboration among professionals and social goals. We want this experience to be just the first prototype of many similar collaborations, which combine excellences from different sectors brought together by the desire to boost their social impact.

What key elements should competing projects have, from your point of view?

Today, it's more and more obvious that networks are the modern form of organization and new digital technologies are the most powerful tools people have to connect rapidly and to give more visibility, scope and impact to many actions. Technology actually helps us to create initiatives, products and services with strong social benefits and to make them available to the greatest number of people possible. In this sense social impact and scalability (reproducibility in different contexts) are key elements for the submitted projects.

Credit: Impact Hub

Credit: Impact Hub

Social innovation and new technologies can work only if....

To make social innovation essentially means to create new solutions, or actions, to face social and environmental issues. To develop new goods or new services, to propose original methodologies and approaches, to adopt - for problems and their solutions - different perspectives that let us go beyond old limits and achieve new impact possibilities. Technology, therefore, can and must help social innovation if it has a problem-solving approach, not one based on selling potential only.

The winning project of the first edition of 3DPRINTforAID will be awarded during Maker Faire Rome (October, 3rd-5th).

 

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