About Digital Society

The Digital Society research department builds on the research expertise of 3 iMinds research groups:
- MICT (research group Media & ICT, Universiteit Gent)
- CUO (research group within Institute for Media Studies, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
- SMIT (Studies on Media, Information & Telecommunications, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

The research department has a multi disciplinary team at its disposal, counting more than 85 researchers, amongst whom are sociologists, communication experts, economists and psychologists.

The Digital Society Department aims to become an international reference for research on the impact of the ICT innovation on social, economical and policy related themes. In this way, it wants to contribute to a climate for open innovation in digital Flanders.

While focusing on three main application domains, Future Internet, Future Media and Digital Arts, the Digital Society department links up to the four technology driven research departments of iMinds. In it’s research, Digital Society is applying three interrelated research approaches:
  1. It studies Market Innovation and Sector Transitions (MIST): through Impact Assessment & Business Model tools, Digital Society research evaluates the impact of ICT on specific sectors or domains and support the emergence of sustainable and competitive economic growth models.
     
  2. The Digital society department also carries out User empowerment studies. Special attention is paid to core elements, such as:
    1. profiling
    2. privacy
    3. safety and confidence
    4. the digital gap
    5. digital scholarship
    The department uses, amongst others, panel enquiries and methodological tool boxes. In order to rapidly discover all possibilities in the development process of innovations, we make an appeal to living labs.

    This method is different and stands out from traditional market and user investigation by the far-reaching involvement of end users. It is a guarantee for the market orientated character of the innovation process, where needs and expectations of the user are focused on. Moreover, this method allows us to better substantiate potential business models and introduction strategies.
     
  3. In order to evaluate the durability of existing and future policy measurements in the field of the new media, we perform ICT policy evaluations. The challenges are situated mainly in the field of contents, access and competition policy. We apply, amongst others, comparative analysis, expert interviews and round table conferences as research methods.