The course provides students with the tools for the political understanding of the recent transformation of the welfare state and in particular of social innovation and welfare mix. For at least two decades, European countries have been striving to reform their social models, tailored on increasingly surpassed economic and socio-demographic structures. The consistency between programmatic ambitions and reform practice is not easy to gauge. Reforms introduced at the national level, largely focused on the big programs of social protection, do not exhaust the array of ongoing transformations. In order to capture the breadth and nature of change, this course moves beyond the perimeter of the public sector, directing attention towards developments in the market and in civil society, and especially towards those new forms of intertwinement, collaboration and synergy that have been emerging between these two spheres (and often between them and the public sector) in welfare provision. This course focuses on "poorly visible" forms of social innovation and welfare mix initiatives and projects, and describes some recent achievements in some selected European countries. After setting the stage with some analytical distinctions and clarifications on the notion of social innovation, welfare mix and "secondo welfare" (for denoting the array of non-public welfare provisions which have been expanding in the last decade, the Italian debate has recently coined a new label: "second welfare", a notion that is very much connected with the discussion on social innovation and the future of social policy at the EU level), the course will illustrate some emerging trends and achievements (i.e. emblematic initiatives and projects) within the European countries. The course aims at highlighting problems, risks, and prospects of such trends as well.