Beyond any doubt, the present time is the golden age of humankind. Among the decisive driving forces that transformed our globalstandards living, science and technology played a crucial role over the past decades: they have brought remarkable successes in tackling global problems such as access to food, water, medication and consumer goods.
However, our current economic and social models are still facing overwhelming issues. Intriguingly, just like in dystopian societies anticipated by sci-fi movies and TV shows, most of these issues look like downsides of recent scientific and technological breakthroughs, with environment pollution and destruction being the most representative examples. Should we push further scientific innovation with the hope to reverse our mistakes? Or should we rely on new alternatives?
More and more individuals, crowd-funded start-ups and non-governmental associations (NGO) are carrying substantive works to promote responsible innovation and circular economy. With the rise of social media, they are gaining momentum to the point of competing with conventional academic and industrial researchers in the public debate. They are also challenging the well-established conception of an economy based on a permanent capital growth. In this context, innovation is no longer just about creating consumer goods or services to open up new markets, it is an instrument serving humankind and its environment.