Today there is a consensus that science and innovation are vectors of economic and social change. Transforming knowledge in innovations for the betterment of society is a permanent priority in the agendas of countries that are moving forward.
However, evolving large scale challenges, such as climate change, population growth, famine and others will impose substantial challenges to the conventional processes of knowledge generation and technological innovation.
Conventional organizations are usually managed in ways that promote the advancement of individual disciplines and excessively specialized teams. However, one can expect that operation through vertical, specialized and disciplinary processes will be increasingly challenged by a much more informed and demanding society.
As people have more access to education, information and income, expectations become greater. And society reacts to the ineffectiveness and perplexity of organizations that are unable to comprehend the real world and to adjust to new realities.
Conventional organizations must perceive that the process of knowledge generation is rapidly changing. A new constellation of actors, among them the private sector, NGOs, and, more recently, social networks, increasingly contribute to our pool of knowledge. And the need to build “knowledge organizations” and a “knowledge society” is becoming clearer to many.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO, just released a Report that deals with a very important dimension of this evolving reality: the Social Sciences.
The complexity of today´s problems requires interdisciplinary research from natural to social sciences. We must increase our capacity to integrate concepts, perspectives, data and methodologies from multiple scientific domains in order to advance our fundamental understanding of the real world.
And identifying social causes to the complex challenges we are facing, mapping human impacts, calculating costs and advising policies – all depend on social sciences.
According to the Director General of UNESCO, “today, the social sciences bring greater clarity to our understanding of how human populations interact with one another, and, by extension, with the environment. The ideas and information they generate can therefore make a precious contribution to the formulation of effective policies to shape our world for the greater good.”
Those interested in the subject can access here the World Social Science Report 2010, Knowledge Divides.