The relationship between society and the Internet can be analysed from various perspectives. Research on the digital society is often limited to addressing specific issues and does not have a sufficient theoretical or conceptual basis and empirical evidence. HIIG aims to broaden both the theoretical and empirical foundation of future research on the digital society.
Throughout the process of digitalisation, societies are undergoing changes. Our conceptual frame of reference for identifying and assessing these changes is the relationship between innovation and governance. Innovation and governance interact in ambiguous ways; they may both mutually stimulate and even enable each other but they may also be constraining. Tensions and synergies emerging from this relationship can be found across all societal fields and organisations including the state, corporations and markets, from the local to the global level. While the relationship between innovation and governance is empirically gaining in relevance, analytically it is still under-researched. In addition, this focus promises to integrate the research interests and expertise of all groups at HIIG.
Several key topics have been identified that qualify as building blocks for three long-term research programmes: