The transformation of Italian National ealth system is an attempt to respond to growing social risks associated with the ageing of the population and lack of selfsufficiency. This transformation underestimates other social risks, in particular those arising from the widespread diffusion of living conditions characterized by impoverishment and financial constraints. Public welfare seems less and less capable of addressing the needs of the central classes of the social stratification and the emerging private welfare plays a compensatory role almost exclusively for social groups with consolidated incomes and job positions. A further reduction of the welfare state would worsen the living conditions of these parts of the population: families who are at risk of not having sufficient public services, which have limited possibilities to access a supplementary welfare, frequently working in small companies that do not provide their employees with welfare benefits. In this ‘half-way society’, the loosening of social ties and relationships, family instability, and deregulation of the work system create the conditions for the development of and individualism that is neither regulated nor easily manageable, disconnected from any form of belonging. The development of social innovation is an urgent task defined as a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions, and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.
Keywords: Social innovation; risk; individualization; institutionalised individualism; defensive medicine; private welfare.