Digitalization and Societal Innovation: One Shaping the Other
It is a common understanding that digitalization is profoundly changing our societies. Hopes concern better public services; better jobs; better private enjoyment; better health services; and overall smart living. But there are also threats such as loss in privacy, cyber-violence, and control by algorithms (robotics, self-driving vehicles air/land). However, digitalization happens within societal relations shaping digitalization as well as being shaped by digitalization. Consequently we can speak about societal innovation.
- The session should contribute the clarification of the concept of societal innovation related to digitalization, dealing with both aspects: shaping and being shaped. System and socio-cybernetic complexity approaches may prove helpful here.
- In starting to clarify the categories it is suggested to define societal innovation as macro-level and social innovation as micro/meso level phenomenon (individual and/or organizational actors, roles). Both are intgerrelated by technological, organizational, and institutional innovations. Thus, societal innovation unfolds as processes in which actors (individuals, organizations) use digital technologies to create relations (networks, institutions) which in turn create actors (new roles, new organizations) and relations and so forth.
- There are drivers and opponents within this intertwined process, motivated by money, values or being part of a swarm. This results in the questions of ethics of digitalization. Do we need them? Should there be one ethic or rather several ethics? Who defines them?
Theoretical as well as empirical contributions are welcome dealing with one or more of the aspects mentioned above, including alternative conceptions and reflections of our presently transforming societies.