Massimo Mercuri

As co-founder of the think tank, my role is to facilitate the ongoing dialog with a wide variety of stakeholders that help define our strategic vision. I actively drive the design and development of sustainable solutions for People and communities, using a systemic approach to preserve our Planet, to create Prosperity today and for generations to come.

I focus on building strategic alliances, coordinating UN SDG partnerships, and contributing to EU projects. My commitment to innovation, sustainability, and education fuels my drive for transformative change, aiming for a healthier and more prosperous humanity. Join me on this journey towards a sustainable and impactful future.

Lecturer, Advisor, Facilitator

My first lecture was in 1995 at the school of Engineering of the University of Baja California. I was working for Apple at that time. Then I became a Brand Evangelist at the IBM innovation center for Latin America. But probably the most fun has been to facilitate workshops for the geniuses of CERN in Geneva. I stopped counting them when I reached 300 workshops. Here I list some of the ones I enjoyed the most over the last decade.

When he gives a talk, it is never ordinary. He has a power to inspire, excite and motivate people to take an action. His spark makes people want to move and to change for better.

~ Board Member at SCimPULSE Foundation

How to use AI in Social Entrrepreneurship

We discussed the illusion of problem measurement without resolution, and demonstrated how A.I. help uncover some core challenges of social entrepreneurship. We also executes a practical exercise on how to fine tune your social entrepreneurship idea using A.I.

~ 2023, University of Amsterdam

Doing Business in a Digital Age

Expert panel during the 8th International Forum "Doing Business in the Digital Age" hosted by the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, together with expert in Metaverse Carolina Salazar and tech guru Conny Hedman.

People at Heart - Automation in Mind: Finding your Balance

Workshop for the 3rd annual Luxatia HR Innovation Summit 2022. 

European Development Days 2022 

Europe’s leading forum on international partnerships. The forum brings key actors together to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Un Diálogo de Saberes desde las Ciencia

Jornada de Investigación organizada en Nov 2021 por la Corporación Universitaria del Caribe en Colombia, donde platicamos sobre el impacto de las micro y pequeñas empresas en el contexto de la región y las comunidades desde un punto de vista sistemico.

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.

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

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.

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.


In the beginning of my career I wrote technical documents for complex computing systems. Then gradually shifted to project proposals and later into reports, then articles and stories to help others in achieving better impact. Now I am working on two books!

The ultimate guide for a sustainable activist

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

AlterContacts - Expected Release Date: September 2024,  ISBN:  9789090369136

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 encyclopedia is an ongoing publicaition, the first module is expected to see the light in late 2023.

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.

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.

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

The Silent Conversation Technique

Accelerated multi-stakeholder conversation method for rapid co-creation of knowledge. 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.

Emotional Intelligence to defuse conflict and enable collaboration

I collected several case studies using the Lego™ Serious Play™ method, highlighting the emotional intelligence factors and how to deal with conflict and change the attitude of people for healthy collaboration.

Second Chance in Project Management

Article for the Serious Play Pro Association, documenting how to use LEGO™ Serious Play™  for Project Portfolio Management.The idea was to get the project leads connected in such a way that we could understand the shared landscape of the project portfolio. The result is that while the players were busy discussing how their projects interface, the very fundamental reasons why some of these projects exist came afloat.

Awards and Recognitions

My first award ever was from Xerox in the year 2000, because I eliminated one million paper sheets per month from electronic manufacturing operations when I was director of IT at Power-One (now ABB) in North America. At that time paper waste was considered a bigger problem than today's plastic.

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!

United Nations SDG Good Practices

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

Sustainable Development Solutions Network

and the Global Association of Master's in Development Practice Programs recognized in 2021 our co-authored Poster on Defining a Systemic Approach to SDG Impact Assessment on the Example of Enterprises in the Context of Regional and Local Communities, under the theme of "Systems approaches for Sustainability".

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.

#EUvsVirus Hackathon - Economic resilience of self-employed professionals during COVID-19 

Our proposal was featured by the European Commission during the in April 2020. The goal of our project was 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. The proposed solution was to enable governments to outsource remote office tasks to freelancers and self-employed through existing freelance platforms. 

mOther Earth

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.

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.

Metaverso LatinX

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.

Humanity Arcade at Stanford Lead Innovation Startup Accelerator

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.

Neutrino Training Ground

This demo is 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.

Life before AlterContacts

Experience makes us what we are now. Here I include some of the major highlights of what I call "my previous life"

Massimo is the exception to the rule, that every company needs to succeed in first-time situations. He tackles assignments in his unique way, transfers learnings across different areas with passion and creativity to accomplish things against all odds.

~ Chief Information Officer at AkzoNobel

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.

Innovating Fast and Big - podcast interview

What does innovation look like at a 300-year-old paint and materials company with 40,000 employees?

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.

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

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 ongoing, and many were curious about the technology we were testing on board the Ocean65 sailing yacht.

Biometric Edge AI + IoT for the Volvo Ocean Race 2018

Speaker in Brasil for the SAP executive circle, about the Volvo Ocean Race Biometric Edge experiment for Team AkzoNobel using SAP Leonardo for Artificial Intelligence. Team AkzoNobel broke twice the world record of 600+ miles over 24 hours.

OpenCare project - funded by the European Union

I had the pleasure to facilitate workshops for the OpenCare project, funded within the EU Horizon 2020 framework programme for Research and Innovation. The aim was to study what constitutes the best practice of community-based projects in the field of care provision, and on how these solutions might be integrated in national social and healthcare systems.

... has a contagious and expansive vision which goes well beyond the traditional notions of IT. His business awareness and an understanding of how systems support business objectives make him a phenomenal resource ... 

~ Business Development executive at DSM Innovation Center

... can identify opportunities and build it into an added value with all necessary pragmatic. His creative mind distinguishes him.

~ Project Management Office executive. at DSM Business Services

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.

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 directly with atoms instead of melted plastic or resins. In theory some day we should be able to "print" a cup of coffee including its content, hot and ready to drink.

FaBBricator - a Metaverse for FabLabs and Makers

My first experience with Virtual Reality was a short internsihp in 1990 at VPL Research, where this technology was invented. Between 2012 and 2015, I build an ran a virtual world called FaBBricator. It was an island where amateur engineers could build and test new machine designs. The virtual world was connected to the open metaverse network of OpenSim servers. 

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.

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".

... bares excellent interpersonal skills, qualifications and leadership qualities.

... his in-depth knowledge of vessel IT infrastructure and operations was impressive.

... has always shown willingness to pass on his knowledge with a smile.

~ Shipboard IS and Operation executives at Carnival Cruise Lines 

... runs a top notch IT department. He makes things happen and takes a proactive approach...

... positive, "can do" attitude, coupled with his infectious energy and excellent technical skills...

His fluency in multiple languages was definitely an asset...

~ C-suite and VP executives at Power-One (ABB)

... he has a knowledge drive, always looking for solutions and he has an extraordinary ease to share his findings to both technical and non technical customers and coworkers at a personal level as well to large audiences.

~ Strategic Accounts executive at IBM

Let me help you on your sustainable journey

Being able to sustain yourself, your team, your company or the planet, is not about technology: it's about people. I like to share knowledge with people of all ages and origins. It inspires, enriches their knowledge, and gives them the right push to move ahead and make things happen.