Massimo Mercuri

Co-founder of Think Tank AlterContacts and Chairman of the AlterContacts Foundation

I am one of the co-founders of Think Tank AlterContacts and the AlterContacts Foundation. My role is to help define our strategic vision, form new partnerships, and develop sustainable innovation models. Some are featured by the United Nations as "SDG Good Practices". That is precisely what we share with our partners, other NGOs, companies, and governments. You can find how to engage us on the Advisory page. We are also launching a training program based on the upcoming book to teach others how to design and execute sustainable actions.

I am also the living proof that we can overcome major illnesses, tumors, and cardiovascular conditions, by adopting a sustainable lifestyle. While recovering from cancer, I started the "Encyclopedia for Sustainable Living", compiling a guide to living healthy for a longer time. More information is on the Encyclopedia page.


I designed my first digital computer in 1991 to automate the manufacturing floor of Cornell Dubilier Electronics. That was just before joining Apple in California, and before the internship at VPL Research where Virtual Reality was invented. Since then the variety and number of projects with my signature has grown. Here below some of the latest work.

In June 2022, Think Tank AlterContacts launched an international project to revive rural areas and contribute to a green, digital and resilient recovery of its economy. It has been registered by the United Nations as an SDG Acceleration Action.

A metaverse to close the digital gap for the young generation of spanish speaking students and recent graduates, during their school-to-work transition time, to improve their competitive edge in the global job market. LatinX is intended to become the digital twin of simulation for creating a new paradigm for human settlements in rural areas through sustainable urbanism, permaculture, agroecology, and sustainable life practices. This project is a collaboration between AlterContacts, Design Thinking Sweden, and ConnectumX in Latin America.

Erasmus+ Grant for Cooperation partnerships in Higher Education 2022-2025

Project PREVIEW - Promoting Resilience and Employability in uniVersity. The implementing consortium is led by the National Research Council of Italy, and includes the University of Sassari, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, University of Salamanca, Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University, Mediterranean Pearls, and Asociaţia de Dezvoltare Intercomunitară Harghita.

Think Tank AlterContacts is preparing an Encyclopedia on Sustainable Living in the Post-Pandemic World. It is based on unique practices and lessons collected from certified experts worldwide. The goal is to bring knowledge and guidance to people from all backgrounds that would allow them to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. The initiative is registered as the SDG Acceleration Action at the United Nations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made confinement a defining part of our lives. Our idea was to provide a safe and entertaining environment where anyone can learn about complex subjects. That's how Humanity Arcade was designed. It is a digital portal that connects children with a safe, healthy selection of good-quality titles from conscious developers. It became a Finalist at the Stanford 2021 LEAD Incubator & Startup Accelerator program.

To help small businesses and self-employed professionals overcome the challenges of the pandemic and reactivate the economy, in May 2020 we launched the Lockdown Economy. The United Nations has registered it as an Acceleration Action for the Sustainable Development Goals #SDGAction33515.

I programmed this demo as a one-level prototype of 3D physics simulation. The idea is to provide a safe and entertaining environment where anyone can learn about particle physics. It serves as a prototype of a learning micro-module for the future "Info-verse”. The minigame is available for free in Google Store.

The goal of our project is to create opportunities to cover basic needs (food, shelter, medical support) for self-employed people who lost their source of income due to the pandemic. That will be done by enabling the government to outsource remote office tasks to freelancers and self-employed through existing freelance platforms. Our proposal was submitted to the European Commission during #EUvsVirus online Hackathon 24-26 April 2020.

Speaker, Lecturer, Mentor

My first lecture ever, with more than one thousand attendees, was in 1995 for the school of Engineering of the University of Baja California. That was a few months before joining the IBM innovation center for Latin America. I alwasy enjoy sharing my knowledge to help others. Here I list some of the latest events.

Doing Business in a Digital Age

Expert panel during the 8th International Forum 2022 "Doing Business in the Digital Age" hosted by the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, in Bolivia, together with expert in Metaverse Carolina Salazar and tech guru Conny Hedman, discussed how technology develops and changes our lives, highlighting the importance of closing the digital gap for the academic disciplines.

United Nations MSMEs Day 2021

Together with our team of volunteers, we presented at the United Nations Conference celebrating Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Day on the 28 of June 2021. We shared insights on entrepreneurship during the pandemic based on Lockdown Economy. You can view it on UN Web TV.

Valemadrismo Responsable y Sustentable

Logrando armonía inquebrantable en un entorno altamente volátil. Workshop para emprendedores y ejecutivos, en colaboración con Paulo Cesar Ramirez Silva, organizado por EmprendHec Mexico 2022.

Un Diálogo de Saberes desde las Ciencia

Jornada de Investigación organizada en Nov 2021 por la Corporación Universitaria del Caribe en Colombia, donde hablé sobre el artículo "Systemic Approach to SDG Impact Assessment of Small Enterprises in the Context of Regional and Local Communities".

Emprende e innova sin fronteras

En Agosto 2021, compartĺ consejos y experiencias sobre innovación e impacto social, para los estudiantes del MBA de la Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana en Colombia, #UPBMontería.

Rockstart & StatupBootcamp

Mentor of startup teams in the first Rockstart Artificial Intelligence cohort of the Netherlands. Mentor at Startup Bootcamp for Fintech teams, for two consecutive years.

Skolkovo Innovation Fund

Lecture for startup teams, on Digital Fabrication technologies and emerging business models for IP licensing and distributed manufacturing, in 2019.

Biometric Edge AI + IoT for the Volvo Ocean Race

Speaker in Brasil for the SAP executive circle, about the Volvo Ocean Race Biometric Edge experiment prototype for Team AkzoNobel using SAP Leonardo for Artificial Intelligence to support the skipper decisions while sailing based crew fitness. Team AkzoNobel broke twice the world record of 600+ miles over 24 hours.

SAP Connect to Innovate 2018

Speaker at the annual SAP innovation event in the Netherlands. The VoR project had just proven its value. The Volvo Ocean Race was still on and many were curious about the technology we were testing on board the Ocean65 sailing yacht.

Innovation seminar at CERN in Geneva

Private lecture about corporate Big Data and Analytics, and innovation journey - available on the indico video server for registered users at CERN.

Innovating Fast and Big - podcast interview

What does innovation look like at a 300-year-old paint and materials company with 40,000 employees? How to keep forward-thinking activities grounded in the reality of customers’ lives and the role of diverse teams in making it all happen – fast and at scale.


In the beginning of my career I wrote a few technical documents for complex computing hardware systems. Then gradually shifted to project proposals and later into stories and reports to helpe others in achieving better impact. Right now I am working on a book with my co-founder. Here below more details.

Together with co-founder Julia Skupchenko, we are writing a book uncovering the secrets of sustainable activism. They will share unique insights on how to activate, engage, and mobilize people for good.

AlterContacts - Expected Release Date: September 2023, ISBN: 9789090369136

Defining a Systemic Approach to SDG Impact Assessment on the Example of Small Enterprises in the Context of Regional and Local Communities. This abstract was presented at the 2021 ICSD Conference.

Lockdown Economy Mexico: Entiende, Aprende y Reinventa

Aprendimos que durante la pandemia tuvimos problemas similares pero los resolvimos de maneras distintas, dependiendo del tipo de actividad, del sector empresarial y de la situación geopolítica y social. Pero lo que resalta de esta serie es la capacidad del Mexicano de entender las necesidades de sus clientes, de aprender algo nuevo y de tener el valor de reinventarse. Todo esto con una conciencia social admirable. El libro en formato electronico está disponible en Amazon en español solamente.

The Silent Conversation Technique

Facilitation of accelerated multi-stakeholder conversations for rapid extraction of knowledge, information, with frictionless synergy of personal thoughts and opinions. Particiants described it as "the most inclusive conversation ever"

CERN Innovation Excellerator - guidelines for good practice

Non-standard laboratory experiments at CERN. The main goal was to enable the conversion from the scientific knowledge capital inside of CERN to practical applications for humanity.

Challenge-Based Innovation at CERN Idea2quare

Idea2quare is the experimental open innovation lab or CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. I had the pleasure to facilitate several workshops there, and refine the techniques that now are part of AlterContacts methods for stakeholder's dialogue.

Digital Best Practices for open innovation

The handbook for Digital Best Practices was the outcome from the experiences of the creation of the digital innovation center "D.Edge" of AkzoNobel and the Ecosystem of Suppliers for Agile Open Innovation Management.

Emotional Intelligence to defuse conflict and enable collaboration

Lego Serious Play™ Master Facilitator case studies, highlighting the emotional intelligence factors and how to deal with conflict and change the attitude of people for healthy collaboration.

Awards and Recognitions

My first award ever was from Xerox in the year 2000, to recognize my idea that eliminated one million paper sheets per month from electronic manufacturing facilities, when I was director of IT at Power-One (now ABB) in North America. At that time paper waste was a bigger problem than today's plastic. Here I list some of the latest awards and recognitions.

RYA YachtMaster

After three years of sustainable life changes to win the battle against cancer and other medical conditions, I challenged myself with three months of training at sea to earn the certification of RYA YachtMaster. For me, this achievement is more important than any award. I am now beginning to help others to get back to a life where career, health, and performance can be sustainable.

Are you interested in sailing with me, or learning how to transform your life for good? Get in touch!

The UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs featured our Accelerated Action "Lockdown Economy" as one of the SDG Good Practices, Success Stories and Lessons Learned. the UN described it as "inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that are showing results and impacts all over the world, and several good practices can be replicated and scaled up to address existing gaps and constraints."

Gold Award for Team Hero of 2022

Together with volunteers of Think Tank AlterContacts, we won the Gold Award for helping small businesses during COVID in the 14th Annual 2022 Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards. We were also awarded Bronze for the best non-profit response to COVID. Our efforts reached 75 000 people in 42 counties and 17 languages. It brought them hope, encouragement, and much-needed ideas.

Grand Award 2021

In September 2021, the 18th annual Stevie Awards honored Think Tank AlterContacts with Grand Award as the Non-profit of the Year. One of several awards received bewteen 2019 ans 2022

Social Innovation Tournament

Lockdown Economy Challenge was nominated for the Social Innovation Tournament 2021 of the European Investment Bank Institute. For our innovation in scaling social impact initiatives.

Life before AlterContacts

My life before cancer and three decades of career before funding AlterContacts, is dotted with amazing adventures. From the design of high-availability computers, to graphic animation, to setup and management of operations for high-tech manufacturing facilities, start-up and part of some of the largest cruise ships in the world, deployment of network infrastructure world wide, facilitation of workshops with some of the most brilliant minds in history, the design of virtual events at global scale, directed innovation projects for life science and performance materials, and even built an innovation center.

As I find more information about those projects I will keep adding to the list below.

Managing Large Teams

Professor -and AlterContacts expert- Rishi Kapal invited me to share some of my previous experience as a "skip manager" in Fortune 100 companies for his book.

Managing and leading large teams is an acquired skill and doesn’t come naturally to many people. As the team grows horizontally in number and vertically in levels, team management gets complicated. Handling multicultural and multi-locational teams, building a strong trustworthy culture of skip-level engagements and the oft-discussed phenomenon of executive isolation at work.

Sage publications, 1st. Dec 2020, ISBN: 9353886732, 9789353886738

SAP Innovation Awards 2019

Edge computing with AI algorithms from SAP Leonardo and wearable devices to monitor and the team AkzoNobel fitness/stress levels and enable the skipper to take better decisions, breaking the record -twice in two consecutive days- with more than 600 nautical miles in 24 hours, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018

Digital Edge of AkzoNobel

From 2017 to 2019, when I was the Director of Digital Innovation and Strategy at AkzoNobel, I built D.Edge, a center for open experimentation, unlocking both internal and external competencies to design, prototype, develop and deploy new digital solutions. It was based in Amsterdam's "B.", known at that time as Europe's largest startup ecosystem.

Shared Access to Intellectual Property

HEPHESTOS project was presented at CERN in 2016, in collaboration with the SCimPULSE Foundation. The goal was to set up a transparently governed organisation to work on a shared and open set of standards and protocols to connect the dots of design, specifications, hackers, repairers, and manufacturers to unbind in the material world the same kind of transformation that the World Wide Web brought to the information ecosystem. The approach is based on the success stories of other initiatives like the World Wide Web consortium and LINUX, among others.

OpenCare - 2016

A community working to make open and collaborative health and care solutions. OpenCare project was funded with 1.6M€ within the EU Horizon 2020 framework programme for Research and Innovation. The key objective was to contribute towards care provision reform. It aimed at studying what constitutes the best practice of community-based collective intelligence projects in the field of care provision, and on how these solutions might be integrated in national social and healthcare systems.

3D Printing in the Value Chain

Lecture for Deloitte - seed for executive round table conversations, in 2015. As the world was buzzing about 3D printing, I shared the content of scientific initiatives planning to print with directly atoms. In theory some day we should be able to "print" a cup of coffee including its content, out of thin air.

Finalist of the DSM Innovation Challenge 2012

Our team ran the startup that made it possible to synthesize plastic from vegetable garbage. Basically we shortened millions of years of organic process down to weeks, eliminating the carbon footprint "from cradle to gate".