Wavelength Switched Optical Networks (WSON) were designed with the premise that all channels in a network have the same spectrum needs, based on the ITU-T DWDM grid. However, this rigid grid-based approach is not adapted to the spectrum requirements of the signals that are best candidates for long-reach transmission and high-speed data rates of 400Gbps and beyond. An innovative approach is to evolve the fixed DWDM grid to a flexible grid, in which the optical
spectrum is partitioned into fixed-sized spectrum slices. This allows facilitating the required amount of optical bandwidth and spectrum for an elastic optical connection to be dynamically and adaptively allocated by assigning the necessary number of slices of spectrum. The ICT IDEALIST project will provide the architectural design, protocol specification, implementation, evaluation and standardization of a control plane and a network and service management system. This architecture and tools are necessary to introduce dynamicity, elasticity and adaptation in flexi-grid DWDM networks. This paper provides an overview of the objectives, framework, functional requirements and use cases of the elastic control plane and the adaptive network and service management system targeted in the ICT IDEALIST project.