The issue of sustainability requires a massive commitment for the industrial system and civil society. Extraordinary initiatives are needed to adequately stimulate technological innovation, including the development of new businesses; it is essential to identify new development paths, also through disruptive innovations and in discontinuity with business as usual models.

The definition and implementation of this call therefore stems from the desire to adopt suitable open innovation processes to better face some challenges in the field of environmental sustainability of the textile industry.

The initiative aims to experiment with an action model that favors an ecosystem of innovation which, through the enabling of relationship channels and methodologies, can foster collaboration with startups, research centers, innovators, inventors and dynamic entrepreneurial realities.

In particular, there will be two companies, members of the Made in Italy Cluster, which have made themselves available to experiment with this path of collaborative innovation.


RadiciGroup, with approximately 3,000 employees, a turnover of 1,542 million euros in 2022 and a network of production units and sales offices located in Europe, North and South America and Asia, is today the world leader in the production of a wide range of chemical intermediates, polymers of polyamide, high performance technopolymers and advanced textile solutions, including nylon yarns, polyester yarns, yarns from recovery and bio sources, nonwovens and protective devices in the healthcare and industrial fields. Products made thanks to excellent chemical know-how and vertical integration in the polyamide supply chain, developed for use in many industrial sectors including: Automotive – Electrical/Electronic – Consumer goods – Clothing – Furniture – Construction – Appliances – Sports. The basis of RadiciGroup’s strategy is a strong focus on innovation, quality, customer satisfaction and issues of social and environmental sustainability. With its macro Business Areas – Specialty Chemicals, High Performance Polymers and Advanced Textile Solutions – RadiciGroup is part of a wider industrial structure which also includes the textile machinery business (ITEMA) and those of energy (GEOGREEN) and the hotel industry (SAINT MARK).


Decathlon, one of the world leaders in the distribution of sporting goods, with international headquarters in France, specializes in the creation of innovative products and their distribution online and in more than 1,700 stores worldwide. Decathlon has 105,000 collaborators and collaborators and is present in 70 countries. In Italy, Decathlon with over 8,000 collaborators, 145 stores distributed throughout the country and 4 logistics depots has been present for 30 years. The mission of Decathlon Produzione Italia is centered on the control of industrialization and production chains of exclusive products for the Decathlon Group, in compliance with the principles of quality, safety, sustainability and a fair price. The production sites in Italy (in Desio-MB and Padova) can count on 103 collaborators who develop products on 7 different industrial processes, thanks to 97 partners distributed in districts of excellence. Report di sostenibilità 2021; Risultati Gruppo 2022.



The objective of the Call for Innovation is to extend and accelerate the innovation capacity of promoters in the textile supply chain in the areas of sustainability.

Through this action, some proposals that are able to respond innovatively to the sustainability challenges that the promoting companies will have to face in the near future, will be selected, and will constitute the preferential short list on which to start collaboration, development and synergy projects.

In the final phase of the Open Innovation Call, a specific step will be carried out (Connection Lab) aimed at verifying and structuring corporate-startup collaboration schemes which may lead to the activation of PoC (Proof of Concept) or other partnerships, etc.

The Open Innovation path therefore constitutes the first step of in-depth study, of mutual understanding between corporate and startup, with the direct involvement of management, aimed at identifying a subsequent potential.

Areas of action/Challenge


Technologies, solutions and applications capable of enhancing the impact and skills of RadiciGroup and Decathlon Produzione Italia in the field of circular economy are considered of interest. In particular, reference is made to recycling, sorting, cleaning, disassembly, de-manufacturing technologies for the recovery of PA and/or PET from textile materials. Furthermore, innovative proposals in the identification and removal of hazardous substances as well as in relation to traceability and eco-design are of interest.


The interest concerns the possibility of identifying materials, new materials, biobased (non-competitive with food uses), recyclable but also composites and multi-materials that have the characteristics of environmental sustainability. Furthermore, solutions, technologies and know-how referable to the field of additives, intermediates and pigments are of interest, which are also useful for achieving environmental sustainability objectives for the production of polymers. Finally, aspects of innovation (on any expression) focused in particular on polyamide and polyester are also considered important.


Compared to digital, a vast range of solutions is of interest, capable of affecting various aspects of the textile supply chain represented upstream by RadiciGroup and downstream by Decathlon. For this reason, solutions and technologies that can affect, with particular reference to environmental sustainability, both the processes (smart manufacturing) and the products (smart products) of a manufacturing company such as RadiciGroup, and of a worldwide distribution company such as Decathlon Made in Italy. In addition to the products and processes, innovations and digital solutions capable of enhancing the traceability of the corporations involved are of interest.


This section highlights the interest of RadiciGroup and Decathlon Produzione Italia in intercepting, getting to know and possibly supporting companies that have conceived and implemented new business models linked to sustainability. In particular, reference is made to the ability to apply R-Strategies, reuse, post-consumer management, also with reference to logistics and packaging. Furthermore, initiatives/solutions/technologies that allow the sustainable management of the supply chain are also considered of interest, as well as methods of servicing production and share (sharing economy) between different subjects. Finally, solutions capable of increasing compliance with legislation in the field of environmental sustainability, in particular national and European, are also considered relevant.

Steps of the call

The main steps of the Open Innovation Call for Textile Sustainability will be:

  1. Opening of the Call and collection of proposals: Once the Open Innovation Call has been opened, start-ups, SMEs, business projects, research groups and innovators will be able to send their proposals until the 28th of July, through an application form.
  2. Screening: the applications will be subjected to a first level screening (for general checks and general relevance to the criteria of the Call) to then be analyzed on the merits by the Technical-Scientific Committee, together with the management of the promoting companies.
  3. Short List/Demo day: the selection activity will give rise to a reduced list of initiatives of interest – indicatively, it is possible to imagine one for each area of interest – which will have the possibility to start a discussion with the management of the promoting companies.
  4. Connection Lab: for the two champion proposals identified, respectively by RadiciGroup and Decathlon Produzione Italia, a path will be activated (one-month) aimed at a guided in-depth analysis for the definition of a possible Collaboration Plan and/or realization of Proof of Concept (POC ) with the companies promoting the call.


The call is addressed to:

  • STARTUPS AND SMEs – already established, innovative startups and SMEs preferably;
  • ENTERPRISE PROJECTS – not yet established but with a business idea already developed;
  • RESEARCH GROUPS – referring to entities, institutions, public or private research organizations;
  • INNOVATORS – meant as private persons (inventors, makers, researchers, students, etc) possessing the ownership of the submitted project.


The call is open until the 28th of July 2023. It is possible to participate by clicking on the “Application Form” button (below and to the side)


This project is characterized by a large and qualified network of partners who have decided to share their series of skills to experiment with a collaborative model to support the open and supply chain innovation.

Listed below are the various organizations and specific expertise that will support this open sustainable innovation pilot project.

Universities and Research Centers


Innovation Hub & Open Innovation Enablers

Other Subjects

Technical Scientific Committee

Prof. Leopoldo Angrisani
Università Federico II

Domenico Caputo

Prof. Domenico Caputo
Università Federico II

Massimo Celino

Ing. Massimo Celino

chiara colombi

Prof.ssa Chiara Colombi
Politecnico di Milano

Prof.ssa Alessandra Vaccari
Università IUAV

Dott.ssa Claudia Massaro

Prof. Roberto Montanari
Università Suor Orsola B.

Prof. Fabio Musso
Università di Urbino

Dott.ssa Cristina Naccarato

Ing. Sergio Petronilli

Prof.ssa Patrizia Ranzo
Università della Campania

Prof. Giuseppe Rosace
Università di Bergamo

Prof.ssa M. A. Sbordone
Università della Campania

Dott.ssa Paola Sposato

Prof.ssa Silvia Sbaffoni

Claudia Castelli

Claudia Castelli

Filippo Bona

Pierpaolo Rotondi
Decathlon Produzione Italia

Ezio De Carlo
Decathlon Produzione Italia

Giuseppe Iacobelli
Cluster MinIt

Project team

Project Leader
Giuseppe Iacobelli

Open Innovation Expert
Piergiorgio Iacobelli

Davide Bolzonella

Open Innovation Expert
Nicola Mezzetti

Project Manager
Camilla Rossi

Innovation Scout
Giulia Albertini

Technology Expert
Paolo Ghezzo

Technology Expert
Omar Maschi

Technology Expert
Claudio Brugnoni