The European knowledge society is entering a new phase of development where ICT is providing the key basic infrastructures for all vital social and economic processes and is the most influential key technology in most innovations across all industries. All private and public services are being provided through and shaped by these infrastructures. ICT is becoming indispensable to address key social challenges and continues to play a defining role in our economy, providing a critical infrastructure for the global economy. The ICT infrastructure thus becomes an issue of the highest social concern. Therefore, in this new phase social innovation will be a key driver for ICT development.
The shift towards social innovation also implies that the dynamics of ICT-innovation has changed. Innovation has shifted downstream and is becoming increasingly distributed; new stakeholder groups are joining the party, and combinatorial innovation is becoming an important source for rapid growth and commercial success. Continuous learning, exploration, co-creation, experimentation, collaborative demand articulation, and user contexts are becoming critical sources of knowledge for all actors in R&D & Innovation.