Three main drivers/objectives have influenced the design of the iKnow research and technology development (RTD) activities. The first was the recognition of the growing need to push the boundaries of interdisciplinary and “blue sky” research by systematically interconnecting knowledge from as many relevant sources and domains as possible. Such recognition has been evident in How are foresight methods selected? (Popper, 2008) and Mapping Foresight (Popper, 2009), which introduced the systemic use of social networking analysis (SNA) approaches (see figure below) to reveal key patterns related to methods, research areas and socio-economic sectors associated to foresight practices in Europe and the world.
The second driver or general objectives was the growing the need to engage the research system in Europe’s response to a series of Grand Challenges which depend upon research but which also involve actions to ensure innovation and the development of markets and/or public service environments (Georghiou et al., 2008).
Finally, the third driving force was the need for more participatory and evidence-based conceptual, methodological, technological and communicational innovations capable of:
Supporting the identification, evaluation and exploitation of knowledge related to complex and highly uncertain issues (e.g. wild cards and weak signals) and,
Interconnecting the European and global research, foresight and horizon scanning communities.