Latest publications

Francesco Gerli

Researcher and Assistant Professor

Francesco Gerli is PhD Candidate at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano where he is affiliated to Tiresia since 2018. Francesco holds a MSc in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University. He gained experience on experimental research working at the Centre for Child Well Being and Development of the University of Zurich. In 2021 he will be visiting scholar at the Department of Organization at CBS Copenaghen. He is working on research and advisory projects in Italy, Europe and Africa. Currently his research focuses on problem-oriented innovation and social entrepreneurship

Research topics:

  • social entrepreneurship,
  • socio-tech entrepreneurship,
  • problem-oriented innovation,
  • social innovation.




Meet our team

New Practices in Innovation

Imagine that your mission is to fight malaria. An excellent way to cut down the spread of malaria is to distribute mosquito nets in the most at-risk environments, but how do you ensure that the nets are used and people are made responsible? Is it better to give them to families for free, charge them in full, or ask for a small fee? 

These are the kinds of questions Francesco Gerli – a Tiresia PhD student with a degree in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University, an Erasmus in Paris at Sciences Po, and a visiting at Copenhagen Business School – likes to answer. In addition to politics and mountains, he is passionate about cases where small mechanisms, such as setting a small price for mosquito nets or changing the competences of a municipal administration, manage to have macroscopic effects.

Francesco started working at Tiresia as an intern, thinking that he would work mainly in the field of welfare, but he soon discovered that there is a whole world related to social impact assessment and that it is not a field reserved for econometricians. He decided to start his PhD in Tiresia, in 2018. During the program, he focused on the relationship between the knowledge economy and a seemingly distant world: social enterprise and the third sector.

In recent years he has focused on the technological development of social enterprise and the third sector and how this could be the vehicle that will lead to a shift from ‘market-oriented’ to transformative approaches within innovation institutions. Innovation is not only about artefacts, but also about practices that can have social implications and find answers to what we call “great societal challenges“.

“Without Tiresia and without the continuous confrontation with Prof. Calderini, who is my supervisor, none of this would have been possible. I recognise that I have always had a great curiosity, which drives me by nature towards research. Still, without the comprehensive and futuristic vision that I have had access to by being in Tiresia I would never have been able to mature as a researcher.”

Francesco Gerli's latest contents

Social and Technological Innovation: Cross-Fertilization Needed

Bartolomucci, F., Trasciani, G., Gerli, F. (2024). Social and Technological Innovation: Cross-Fertilization Needed. In: Chiodo, S., Kaiser, D., Shah, J., Volonté, P. (eds) Improving Technology Through Ethics. SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology(). Springer, Cham.

Organizing for transformative innovation policies: The role of social enterprises. Theoretical insights and evidence from Italy

Mario Calderini , Magali Fia , Francesco Gerli (2023) – Organizing for transformative innovation policies: The role of social enterprises. Theoretical insights and evidence from Italy –

Based on outcomes? Challenges and (missed) opportunities of measuring social outcomes in outcome-based contracting

DE PIERI B., CHIODO V. & GERLI F. (2022) Based on outcomes? Challenges and (missed) opportunities of measuring social outcomes in outcome-based contracting, International Public Management Journal

Our Tiresians were awarded a PhD in Management Engineering

The PhD programme in Management Engineering (DRIG) offers students an advanced education together with the opportunity of carrying out research work in the fields of management, economics and industrial engineering.

Meet our team | Francesco Gerli

Nuove pratiche di innovazione Immaginate di avere come missione quella di combattere la malaria. Un buon modo per arginare il dilagare di questa malattia è quello di distribuire zanzariere nei contesti più a rischio, ma come assicurarsi che poi le zanzariere vengano usate e le persone responsabilizzate? Meglio darle gratis alle famiglie, farle pagare per intero, [...]

Sondrio Today | Per le Olimpiadi una Livigno più green e partecipata, la proposta del Politecnico di Milano

4th December 2021

Mancano oramai quattro anni alle Olimpiadi di Milano Cortina 2026. Quattro anni di progettazione e realizzazione. Un’occasione preziosa per pianificare il futuro della provincia di Sondrio oltre che delle località nominate per ospitare le gare. A Livigno il Comune sta lavorando, con l’aiuto del Politecnico di Milano, affinché i Giochi siano un’occasione di crescita per la sua comunità, cercando di porre attenzione agli effetti che questi avranno da un punto di vista sociale, ambientale ed economico.

Con il progetto di ricerca “Five of Olympics FLAG” condotta dal gruppo multidisciplinare “TIRESIA – Technology and Innovation Research on Social ImpAct”, condotta da un gruppo interdipartimentale, si lavora per valutare gli effetti che la grande manifestazione olimpica porterà con sè. Dopo il sopralluogo di luglio, nei giorni scorsi i ricercatori universitari Stefano Di Vita (Dipartimento Studi Urbani), Francesco Gerli (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale – Tiresia), Lorenzo Rinaldi (Dipartimento di Energia) e Tommaso Tropeano (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale – Tiresia), formulate le prime ipotesi, hanno presentato all’

3.21 Third Sector and Welfare facing Covid-19: a review of challenges and paths for future development

The third publication of the Tiresia Impact Insight Series is developed in collaboration with Fondazione Cesare Pozzo and Fondazione Triulza.

LEAP_RE: Long-Term Joint European Union – African Union Research and Innovation Partnership on Renewable Energy

83 research partners in Europe and Africa supporting innovation and building renewable energy solutions together.

An ecosystemic model for the technological development of social entrepreneurship: exploring clusters of social innovation

GERLI, F., CALDERINI M. & CHIODO V. (2021). European Planning Studies from Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) | Social-Tech Entrepreneurs: Building Blocks of a New Social Economy

20th June 2021

How a new genre of social entrepreneur can wield emerging technologies to create integrated and inclusive social and industrial policies.