Design Science Research for a New Society: Society 5.0

Humanity has experienced unprecedented technological developments during the past few decades. Few can argue that the lives we live and the societies we are part of are undergoing vast, often unexpected adjustments and transformation. More voices are requesting a rethink of the relationship we – as humans – have with technology in this new world.

Society 5.0 is the term that has emerged to describe the new society that is the result of “… the high degree of merging between cyberspace and physical space”, where we “will be able to balance economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by providing goods and services that granularly address manifold latent needs regardless of locale, age, sex or language” [1]. The concept was first introduced by the Japanese government in 2015 in its Fifth Science and Technology Plan.

The question that arises is: What will be different in Society 5.0? Currently, we live in an economy in which knowledge and information are often used without being shared, whereas the vision of Society 5.0 is that the Internet of Things DESRIST2023 will connect all people; and a much higher portion of data, information and knowledge will be shared. Society 5.0 aims to overcome social disparities regarding access to goods, for example, by using drones for distribution in rural areas. People will not be overwhelmed by information, as technology will be used to analyse large datasets and other information, and recommendations will be made based on the findings.

Due to its problem and solution orientation, which promises to drive  innovation and address challenges on all levels of analysis (society, the
business ecosystem, the enterprise, the workgroup and the individual), design science research (DSR) in information systems (IS) has received significant attention in the information systems research community. In an immersed society, where there are numerous wicked problems on all levels of analysis, DSR is an ideal approach to understand  complex challenges and support the design of useful solutions, making provision for rigour and relevance. Based on multi-stakeholder problem analysis and informed by existing descriptive and design knowledge, well-designed innovative methods, solution patterns, reference models and exemplary IS solutions promise to be effective means of addressing many of today’s challenges – and will contribute to the further development of DSR’s methodological foundations. The better we get at integrating humans, organisations and machines, the better we will be able to use all means possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations, with its economic and social development agenda, as it pertains to sustainability,
ultimately impacts all countries, organisations, teams and individuals
through the SDGs.

The theme of the 18th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST 2023) therefore challenges the DSR community to think about research from a humanitarian perspective. Research papers, panels and workshops will be encouraged to address the challenges faced by society, business ecosystems, organisations, workgroups and individuals. The organisers believe the conference will be impactful and succeed in addressing solutions in this space.

[1] Deguchi, A. et al. 2020. What Is Society 5.0? In: Society 5.0: A peoplecentric super-smart society. Springer, Singapore. Available at: