HIEDD – Heuristic-based integration of ELSI in data-related decisions
Project at a glance

Project at a glance

To successfully use the opportunities of digitalization and at the same time meet the growing demands of different stakeholders, companies must consider ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) in addition to technological and economic aspects when developing and implementing data-based business activities. This poses major challenges for companies because the social and regulatory environment as well as the interests of stakeholders are developing extremely dynamically. To be agile in the face of these requirements, all persons involved in data-based activities must be able to make informed, reflected and independent decisions regarding the collection, storage, analysis and monetization of data.

Making “good” decisions in such an environment is not an easy undertaking. In practice, it has been shown that professionals in such situations often feel insecure and unable to make decisions. As a result, on the one hand, additional sales and earnings potential – and thus the creation of new high-quality jobs – are not realized, and on the other hand, undesirable developments are recognized too late, which is associated with considerable reputation and liability risks.

Rule-based solutions prove to be ineffective here, as they cannot be conclusively formulated and implemented in complex and dynamic contexts. Rather, employees at all levels of the company must be empowered to internalize and proactively apply the ELSI-relevant decision-making principles.

This is where this innovation project comes in. In order to strengthen employees’ value-based decision-making and capacity for action in data-based activities, a digital dialogue system for the heuristic-based integration of ELSI in data-related decision-making processes (HIEDD dialogue system) is being developed.


  1. HIEDD dialog system (prototype): digital dialog system that guides users through the ELSI-related data governance process, proactively points out "blind spots" (creates awareness), promotes judgment, enables decision making, and documents it in a clear manner.
  2. HIEDD Handbook: describes the ELSI heuristic optimized and validated in quantitative tests, and the integration of the heuristic and digital dialog system into the strategy, structure, processes, and software applications of the data governance.
  3. HIEDD Training Concept: incl. Train-the-Trainer Concept: Curriculum, train-the-trainer manual and methods to support the data governance managers in the implementation of the training courses to approach the customers.

The four implementation partners involved in the project are developing the HIEDD dialogue system together with the two research partners (FHGR and UZH). After the completion of the project, the HIEDD dialogue system will also be made available to all other interested Swiss companies via the Data Innovation Alliance.

In addition to the staff of the UAS Grisons, the following person is also involved in the project: 

  • Carmen Tanner, University of Zurich
Additional information

Additional information

Parties involved

The project is being implemented by the Swiss Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIFE) in collaboration with the PRME Business Integrity Action Center and the University of Zurich, Department of Banking and Finance.