Platon and Aristoteles joining CONCORDIA project
The subject of innovation is commonly recognized as the basis of a competitive economy and is also strongly advocated within European research projects. However, innovation means different things to different people, depending on the context in which it is being reviewed. In CONCORDIA project and the context of creation of EU cybersecurity network and community of competence centers, this blog, written by Aljosa Pasic, CONCORDIA Innovation Manager, is describing innovation strategy that enables collaborative and cooperative generation of new value for cybersecurity in Europe.
Plato was born somewhere in 5th century B.C. and, among many other things, was the founder of the Academy in Athens, generally regarded as the Western world’s first university. Plato argues that material world is changeable and therefore unreliable. Behind this unreliable world of appearances is a world of permanence and reliability, that he called the world of ‘Forms’ or ‘Ideas’ (eidos/idea in Greek).
His pupil Aristotle founded an official school called “The Lyceum” in the temple with a same name, dedicated to Apollo Lyceus (Apollo the wolf). Aristotle’s focused on what today might have been tagged by some as “cooperative research”. He defended, as opposed to Plato, that the judgments of “experience” are universal and that idea is formed after experience, not the other way round.
To make an extreme simplification: Aristotle defended that we know dog is a dog by experience, while Plato claimed there is a certain idea of “Dogness” which is not particular, but rather universal to all dogs. Ever since, we had this dualism between model-first and experiment-first approaches.
We put Plato and Aristotle in the time machine and we bring them to the 21st century, right in the middle of discussions at European cybersecurity research conference. During their travel, they both read about internet, cyberspace and cybersecurity, so they are familiar with some basic concepts. “On the Internet”, the famous cartoon joke was saying in the newspaper that Plato was reading, “nobody knows you are a dog”. Aristotle was more inclined to read scientific papers. “Realistic data-sets are difficult to find. Information sharing is limited. Lab environment is simulating operational context.”, he tried to absorb all these statements.
Once they arrived to the conference, their opinion was in line with their thoughts. “Idea of cyberthreat is behind any cyberthreat in the universe”, said Plato, “and therefore we must find an universal model to predict future threats”. “Trustful experiments with real data…”, Aristotle claimed, “…will lead us to a definitive solution. You can not know what your cyber-sensors do not experience.”
The existence of (invisible) adversaries and (unknown) threats, as factors in shaping the cybersecurity innovations, have several implications. Compatibility and actual behavior in an operational setting is also an important issue for these innovations. “Platonic” researchers might argue that accelerated dynamics of threat evolutions is making innovation cycle much shorter, and that the constant generation of untested ideas is a “must”, not “nice to have”. Eventually, models emerge to predict, and not only to detect, threats in cyberspace. Aristotle minded practitioners might put pressure on tangible experiments, since business must be kept running, and these need feasible cybersecurity innovations here and now.
Innovation strategy in CONCORDIA must cope with both. It relies on a model very similar to the networked or ecosystem innovation, with supply “push” and demand “pull” forces, both contemplating theoretical ideas and experimental contributions. Best practices in idea generation and concept development, but also operational evaluation, selection and validation, will be included in the joint innovation exercises that will find place throughout the project. The overall project objectives in CONCORDIA are mentioning “Open Calls, challenges and competitions (hackatons), initiated to support the novel development with prizes and awards to increase visibility.” Aristotle and Plato are welcome to apply.
ALJOSA PASIC current position is Technology Transfer Director in Atos Research & Innovation (ARI), based in Madrid, Spain. In CONCORDIA project he acts as Innovation Manager and is also a member of the Exploitation Board. He will be talking about “Cross-industry Innovation Ecosystem for Cyber Security” during the 9th annual event “Market-Driven Innovation in R&D”, on September 25th in Berlin. You can check event agenda and an interview with Aljosa Pasic on https://events.marcusevans-events.com/market_driven_innovation_r_d_atos/