Digitalisation & digital transformation© Photo Credit: metamorworks -

Digitalisation & digital transformation

Data-driven business models, innovative technologies and applications in business and administration

Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) not only enables companies and public authorities to increase efficiency and improve quality, but can also be used in the development of new products, services and business models.

As part of the WIK research programme, we analyse and evaluate the current and future technology diffusion of AI technologies, methods and algorithms. We examine various practical AI solutions and assess the potential impact for market participants, consumers and competitive dynamics. For the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, we have implemented the AI trainer programme of the AI strategy of the Federal Government together with the Mittelstand-Digital Zentren. The large number of our publications on AI topics illustrates the wide range of potential areas of application for AI.


Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technological innovations that expand the spectrum of perception and thus open up new fields of application and business models. While in AR the real world is expanded through computer-generated elements, in VR applications the user moves in a purely virtual world. The spectrum ranges from AR applications in the areas of e- and m-commerce or remote maintenance to the collaboration of spatially distributed employees on complex models or the simulation of emergency exercises based on VR solutions. We analyse use cases, identify opportunities and challenges and derive concrete recommendations for action for the actors involved and the implications for the legislative framework.



When using cloud solutions, users or companies do not have to manage their own servers and run software applications on their own computers. We have built up relevant domain knowledge of the cloud market, infrastructures and application scenarios through a variety of projects. We also analyse European cloud initiatives such as GAIA-X. The European data ecosystem should provide an infrastructure, but also standards and rules for controlled and sovereign data storage and exchange. We have contributed to the design of value creation opportunities and the development of a supportive regulatory framework in various projects on this topic.



Algorithms influence decisions in many social and economic areas and can have far-reaching effects. It has long been known in research that algorithms do not always generate unbiased and value-neutral results. Yet those affected are rarely aware that decisions - be they about hiring, granting credit, granting parole, or simply pricing products online and serving personalised online advertising and recommendations - are supported or made by automated systems.

We examine both the effects and consequences of algorithmic decisions and the ability of those affected to comprehend algorithmic systems. We use a mix of methods adapted to the respective research question, ranging from qualitative in-depth interviews and experimental designs to econometric modelling.




Blockchain enables the forgery-proof transmission and storage of information and transactions with the help of a decentralised database. The characteristics of decentralisation and tamper-proofness offer the opportunity to increase economic efficiency through automation, e.g. via so-called smart contracts.

Within the framework of the "Blockchain Dialogue" based on the German government's blockchain strategy, we have dealt with the economic, legal and technical implications in a series of studies and workshops. In the WIK research programme, we are investigating the dissemination and possible use in the telecommunications and energy sectors, the potential of the technology and possible competitive economic implications in SMEs, and have thus been able to build up considerable know-how on blockchain.