Master in Social Innovation for Sustainable Development


Program Description


Designed by the Turin School of Development, program of the International Training Center of the ILO (ITC-ILO), in partnership with the University of Turin and in collaboration with international organizations and leading practitioners in the field, this program explores the synergy between Social Innovation and Sustainable Development for innovating public policies and social practices.

Program structure

The Master duration is 1 year with only 12 weeks of face-to-face learning activities taking place in Turin, Italy. This makes the program accessible and affordable for working practitioners and students coming from outside of Italy.

The residential module takes place at the ITCILO campus in Turin - a modern green area closer to river Po, providing a stimulating international environment, ideal for studying, sharing experience and creating networks.

Methodology and approach

Participants will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge and professional skills.

They will be exposed to international approaches and practices with a view to better understanding the Social innovation impact and the rise of hybrid organizations.

The Master provides a set of methods and tools to design innovative solutions within the framework of the SDGs by looking into recent changes and trends in the major economic geographical areas.

Throughout the whole Master, participants will be accompanied in the development of a specific project that will represent their final thesis.

Course content and outline of the program

The Master combines two distance-learning modules with a face-to-face period.

The first module (1 November 2019 – 19 January 2020) this is a distance learning phase supported by a tutoring service.

The second module (20 January 2020 – 15 April 2020) This is a face-to-face learning period that is held in Turin, Italy, at the International Training Center of the ILO.

The third module (19 May 2020 – 14 October 2020) It is a distance learning home-based research and study period during which the students are expected to finalize their projects while being at work or home or attending internships.

Detailed curriculum

Distance Learning Cycle - Key drivers of change, societal transformation and innovation for Sustainable development.

Objective: To review the key drivers of change and to analyze the related impact on work and society in the ILO Future of work perspective.

Learning contents:

  • Social transformation and societal challenges: the ILO Future of work.
  • The 3 dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The role of technology for a social purpose.
  • Key enabling technologies: Digitalization of the Economy (best practices & opportunities).
  • What will the World look like in 30 years?
Face to face Cycle

Module 1) Social Innovation policies and tools and the contribution to the SDGs.

Objective: To describe the Social Innovation approach and to examine policy implications and tools for developing networks supporting innovative solutions with social impact.

Learning contents:

  • Innovation for Development and wicked problems.
  • Digital transformation and the ILO human-centered approach for the Future of Work.
  • Social Innovation concepts, approaches and tools.
  • The Ecosystem of Social Innovation: key players and institutional structure.
  • Fostering collaborative networks for Social Innovation.
  • Social Innovation, public action, and citizenship.
  • Social Innovation and decision-making processes.
  • Social Innovation, collective action, and leadership.
  • The process of Social Innovation and the application fields.
  • Collaborative Economy/Sharing Economy/Governing the Commons/Inner Areas and Urban Poles/Active Citizenship/New public services.

Module 2) Innovation lab: from ideas to business. The social business model.

Objective: To identify and to practice the key steps for enabling social change through innovative design and social business model.

Learning Contents:

  • From ideas to business: Social Innovation design to enable change.
  • Design thinking & Systemic design.
  • Systemic mapping resources.
  • Convergence platforms.
  • Community Labs.
  • Fast prototyping.
  • Social Business as one of the economic and social drivers.
  • Social Innovation and the place-based approach.
  • The organizational dimension of Social Innovation.
  • Unconventional models of management and hybrid organizations.
  • Tools for deliberative decision-making processes.

Module 3) Social Impact finance: social business sustainability.

Objective: To review various Social Impact finance instruments and to examine different modalities to attract external investments.

Learning Contents:

  • How to strengthen investments readiness.
  • Social Impact Finance and its instruments: venture philanthropy; social venture capital; social impact bonds; crowdfunding; microfinance.
  • Microfinance: models, new challenges, actors, instrument.
  • The Italian model and the inspiring experience in the world.
  • Equity, quasi-equity instruments.
  • Hybrid finance package for combining social welfare and revenue generation models.

Module 4) The importance of measuring impact results.

Objective: To analyze the complexity of Social Impact measurement and to review different approaches and tools.

Learning Contents:

  • What is worth in Social Innovation?
  • Plural futures in Social Innovation.
  • Social impact measurement and public action.
  • Why social impact measurement.
  • Frameworks to measure social impact.
  • Definition of qualitative and quantitative parameters.

Final distance learning cycle - Research and write-up

This module allows the students to further elaborate and develop their project documents, in order to prepare their final submission and to explore possibilities of concrete implementation.

Renowned faculty

The faculty is selected for its professional experience and subject knowledge.

The core faculty of this Master includes:

  • Senior Professors from local and international universities;
  • Development specialists from the ITCILO, ILO and other international organizations;
  • Leading practitioners


Interested candidates should duly complete the APPLICATION FORM and submit it on-line.

Each applicant will be required to share their project idea before the starting date of the course.

The deadline to receive applications from candidates without an Italian Bachelor's Degree is 1 September 2019; the deadline for candidates with an Italian Bachelor's Degree is 15 September 2019. Applications from both men and women are welcome.

Tuition fee and scholarships

Tuition fee for the 2019-20 edition of the Master is 8,500 Euros.

A limited number of partial scholarships may become available on a competitive basis. Criteria for awarding scholarships include professional profile and its relevance to the course, capacity to implement the proposed project and personal financial situation. Preference will be given to applicants for scholarships from low-income countries.

Meals are excluded and should be paid directly by students, who are invited to find their own accommodation arrangements in Turin.

Last updated Dec 2019

About the School


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