Towards a Science of Ideas

Modern society thrives on knowledge. States, companies and universities are continuously acquiring, recombining, producing and applying knowledge. Where in former centuries agriculture or industry was the economic foundation of society, knowledge is now the most important pillar. Whether it's renewable energy, healthcare, ICT or infrastructure; knowledge is decisive for the direction in which these domains develop.

It is therefore remarkable that two sides of knowledge are rarely discussed. The first one is about the very beginning of the pipe; the root causes of knowledge, the nature of ideas, their working mechanisms. Sure, there’s quite some literature about creativity and idea generation, but research on mechanisms and the patterns of ideas is hard to find. And at the end of pipe there is a lot more to learn about the social impact of knowledge, about the conditions which influence ideas becoming reality. The question of how knowledge is gained and which ways it gets value is hardly considered.

What is the nature of ideas?
What do we really know about the combination of ideas?
Is it possible to develop a taxonomy of ideas?
What are fruitful analogies between the various scientific domains?
How can the social impact of ideas and knowledge be increased?
What could be the role of big data?
What could be the main pillars of a 'Science of Ideas'?


IFKAD 2018 has the ambition to extract some interesting insights from old (1796) and new thinkers (2018) on this subject. Through lectures, presentations and dialogue sessions, the European dialogue about ideas, knowledge and social impact will be given a powerful boost.