Think tank for digital technologies, politics and society
Many excellent research institutes and think tanks already contribute to the fields of foreign policy, economic policy or environmental policy in Germany. Issues related to new technologies however lack comparable expert organisations that focus on current politics and social debates. The Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV) wants to fill this gap in the landscape of German institutes and think tanks. This think tank seeks to provide a focal point for all people whose work covers current political and social questions of the cross-sectional issue of digitalization. We compile and publish analyses, develop recommendations for action for policymakers, conduct expert workshops, invite experts to engage in publicly accessible policy debates, and explain contexts and backgrounds in the media.
Topics and focus of the work of Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
Many technology-intensive issues of politics are cross-sectional issues that change at a rapid pace. When it comes to developing working proposals in this area, expertise from many different disciplines is often needed. The combination of different knowledge, continuous testing of ideas and speed thus forms the core of the organisation. Therefore, our organisation does not focus on a specific field such as defence, economic or foreign policy, but rather brings together the expertise needed to solve a specific problem. One example is our work in the field of IT security policy: here our experts deal with the global supply chains of IT manufacturers, with experiences from consumer protection, the strategies of online criminals, the developments of technology markets or with standardisation bodies at the European level.
Our activities are affected by social developments and are constantly changing. Currently, we are dealing with the following questions, among others:
- Data Economy: The introduction of big data architectures in companies and the associated methods of artificial intelligence (including machine learning) are changing traditional value chains, competitive dynamics and consumer behavior in markets. How can economic policy react?
- Digital Rights, Surveillance and Democracy: How can government monitoring in a networked society be effectively controlled, reasonably limited, and sufficiently documented?
- Technology and Geopolitics: What is Europe’s position within global semiconductor supply chains and what relevance and potential impact does this have on industrial competitiveness, technological dependency on foreign countries and national security?
- International Cybersecurity Policy: Cybersecurity and cyber defense are new areas for German policy. What can we learn from the global developments and strategies of other states?
- Artificial Intelligence: Developments in the field of artificial intelligence are forcing new dependencies in the global economy and changing the military power relations between states. What does this mean for German foreign policy?
- Strengthening the Digital Public Sphere: Strengthening the digital public sphere: Digital platforms open up new communication spaces for individuals and societies, but they also entail risks. What measures and reforms are appropriate to address not only symptoms, but structural challenges of digital platforms and information spaces?
- Data Science Unit: With the SNV Data Science Unit, we are expanding our think tank work to include quantitative, data-driven methods.
SNV’s Working Method
Many technology-intensive issues of politics are cross-sectional issues that change at a rapid pace. The combination of different knowledge, of continuous testing of ideas and of speed thus forms the core of the organisation. That is why Stiftung Neue Verantwortung works differently than conventional research institutes and think tanks.
SNV systematically involves and co-operates with experts in the fields of politics, economy, NGOs and research institutes and this already at an early stage in the process to rapidly test and improve policy proposals. This collaborative working method allows for different perspectives to participate in the process, inoperative proposals to be discarded early and ideas to be made practicable. Although SNV's experts are themselves specialists in their field, they always work closely together in a network of other experts or professionals.
Independent and well-founded knowledge helps policymakers make better decisions and makes an important contribution to ensuring that public debates are conducted more objectively. However, analyses and papers can only help if they are available to policymakers and the public at the right time. Therefore, we prefer not to produce lengthy and extensive studies, but instead concentrate our work on analyzing a problem quickly and outlining initial ideas for solutions. This allows us to deal with current social problems and take ongoing technological and social developments into account.
We test our ideas and problem analyses early on in workshops with other experts and professionals from civil society, academia, business and government. This helps us separate the good from the bad proposals, improve ideas or discard them altogether early on. The more feedback and criticism an idea receives, the easier it is to identify weaknesses and make improvements. This methodology is constantly repeated so that proposals incorporating a variety of different perspectives. At the end of the process, very concrete and implementable policy proposals will be created that are socially viable and that do not serve only one interest group.
Experts of the SNV
At the SNV are currently 18 experts working – all of them with an academic background and specialized in political and social issues of new technologies and with practical experience in ministries, companies and NGOs.
Here you will find an overview of all SNV experts.
Funding and independence
To guarantee the independence of its work, the organisation adopted a concept of mixed funding sources that include foundations, public funds and businesses. In 2019, about 88 percent of our total budget came from grants from nonprofit foundations, universities, and public institutions. Depending on the respective project durations, SNV's funding structure changes annually. Here you will find a detailed list of all funders, the amount of funding, and their respective share of the total budget in of 2016 to 2019. All our analyses, recommendations for action or other papers are also published on our website and are always available to the public.
For more information about SNV, please have a look at the FAQ's.