This article is a part of a wide research project in which the author introduces the topic of Innovation and its application to the Social Assistance Policy context. The author emphasizes that, in some way, the innovation theme was treated, by the relative literature, as a marginal factor, probably because it is more often related to economic or technologic processes and it is hardly applied to policies making process. However, the scope of his article is not limited to a criticism but, through two key concept of Participation and Heterogeneity, it tries to explain why innovation can no longer be considered separate from the social policies sphere, the impact of innovation on social provision and, more generally, how it can be achieved. The article also includes a first evaluation of some action realized in an Italian region, highlighting the innovative elements, the achievements and also the problems not yet resolved.
Keywords: Innovation, social policies, policy making process, implementation, participation, heterogeneity