Interdisciplinary impulses for digital transformation

March 10, 2016

The Munich Center for Internet Research (MCIR) was founded by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in December 2015. It explores the social changes connected to the Internet and to digitalization and develops solutions for politics and society. It examines, for example, how digital work environments change through cloud solutions or who is responsible for the conduct of autonomously acting, smart robots. Dietmar Harhoff, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, and Honorary Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Munich, is one of Center's initiators.

Internet-based applications fundamentally change the way people communicate and receive information, how their work environment looks like and how they spend their leisure time. They have a substantial impact on how political processes work, how opinions are formed, as well as how values are established and knowledge is conveyed.

The new Center focuses on interdisciplinary and practice-oriented research. Various disciplines are combined, and economic, technical, social and scientific and legal perspectives merged. Initial findings should be available by the autumn of 2016, and are to incorporated into a federal initiative. It is planned to set up nationwide centers for Internet research.

The concept of MCIR was developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, together with colleagues from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich University of Technology, and the Institute for Social Science Research. Scientists from further Bavarian institutions are already involved in the interdisciplinary project work. In the long-term, researchers from other German states and from all around the world will also participate.

Lecture series with world-class experts

An interactive debate on key issues of the Internet and society is being held as part of the lecture series. World-class speakers will take position and discuss their beliefs in a public debate. "How does the Internet change innovation?" is one of the questions that Eric von Hippel, for example, will address in his presentation on March 17.

Eric von Hippel is a Professor of Technological Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research is focused on the democratization of innovation. He is best known for his famous concept of user innovation, which says that not manufacturers, but end users are responsible for innovation. Free and open source software is largely based on this concept.

After the presentation, there will be a panel discussion moderated by Dietmar Harhoff. Katja Hutter, professor of marketing at the University of Salzburg, and Norbert Lütke-Entrup, Head of Corporate Technology Management and Innovation in the Siemens Group, will discuss the consequences, opportunities and risks of changed innovation processes. The event will be shown via live stream. Interested parties can participate in the discussion via live chat.

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