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iKnow Newsletter 1 (September 2009)

What is the WI-WE bank?

The WI-WE Bank is an interactive Web 2.0 environment interconnecting knowledge on wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE) potentially shaping or shaking the future of science, technology and innovation in Europe.


Users and visitors of the WI-WE Bank will be able to:


  • map wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE)
  • assess wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE); and
  • interconnect wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE) with:
    - 17 thematic research areas,
    - 6 strategic pan-European objectives and
    - 21 Grand Challenges of the 21st Century.

So far we have mapped 30058 wild cards and 38973 weak signals (a total of 69031 WI-WE). From these, 68096 are nominated and 935 are further discussed using three levels of characterisation: basic (532); advanced (180); and fully-fledged (258).


To produce the WI-WE Bank, the iKNOW Project has combined several methods, including: 

  • Structured Scanning of EC FP7 research and foresight projects;
  • Open Scanning of other EU sources, IGOs, RTOs, government, business, NGOs, lawmakers/politicians, scientists/researchers, celebrities/artists, blogs, social networks, TV/radio, corporate press, community press, fiction books/movies, magazines, academic journals, foresight/futures, history/past event, etc.)
  • Interviews (mainly to experts on foresight, S&T, and European Research Area related issues)
  • Workshops (in Finland, UK, Germany and Czech Republic)
  • Surveys


We used Web 2.0 tools so as to promote a bottom-up process whereby different stakeholders are capable of capturing and assessing the relevance of a wide range of wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE). However, in order to pilot and populate the system with high quality entries, the 2009 WI-WE mapping has been more of a top-down process carried out by leading foresight practitioners in six institutions: PREST Institute of Innovation Research of the University of Manchester (UK), Finland Futures Research Centre (Finland), Z_punkt (Germany), RTC North (UK), Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic) and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Technology Analysis and Forecasting (Israel).