ZSI conducts research on the social embedding and impact of all types of innovations, and contributes to the design and diffusion of socially accepted and sustainable innovations to meet social challenges. By deployment of innovative research, education, advisory services and co-ordination of networks, they create new knowledge, reflect and configure existing knowledge, evaluate measures, develop concepts and forward their implementation. As independent and globally acting scientific institution, they are engaged in the development of theories, methodologies, instruments and measures as well as in the dissemination of a systemically conceptualised broad innovation approach.
As an independent scientific institute, ZSI generates, disseminates and applies knowledge and skills in thematic areas that are of pertinent relevance to meet the grand societal challenges of our time. In these thematic areas, ZSI acts on different spatial levels from local to global through the deployment of: