Disruptive Digital Economy Trends and the Implications for the Workforce, Skills and Policy Initiatives on e-Leadership Skills – Workshop report

Brussels - The discussion at the first workshop of the European Commission initiative on leadership skills for the high-tech economy on 22 January 2016 was based on the reports from the Oxford Martin School at the Oxford University on ‘Digitalization, Jobs, and Convergence in Europe: Strategies for Closing the Skills Gap’ and the IDC Europe report on ‘Business, Industrial and Technology Trends and Impact on e-Leadership Skills’. Both reports and the workshop report can be obtained from empirica (see contact details below). After a very lively discussion nine strategic priorities were formulated as those to be addressed by a European long-term agenda on ‘Leadership skills for a high-tech economy’. For each of these strategic priorities recommendations and actions were formulated.

The nine strategic priorities are as follows:

1.       New indicators, statistics, monitoring, benchmarking and forecasting

2.       New education and training

3.       Best practice replication, expansion and scaling contributing to more balanced regional development  in Europe

4.       Platform-based online career support, recruitment and job search

5.       Maturing the ICT Profession

6.       Alignment and integration of different policy fields and education and training programmes

7.       Longer-term national policy and stakeholder commitment and coordinated actions

8.       Promotion and awareness raising

9.       New KET skills training.

Key contributions, recommendations and conclusions from the experts included the following ones:

·         There is an urgent need for and the European Commission is asked to establish and operate a continuous monitoring of developments as an ‘early warning system’ to guide policy development at European and national Member State level in the whole area of digital, e-skills and e-leadership skills and regularly and continuously report about the results.

·         In Europe we have to increase the number and share of teachers/lecturers from user industry (strategists, executives) to better align education and training with user industry and social partner requirements.

·         The experts recommend to support more experimentation with 'loose' or no curricula-based (ad hoc) education and training programmes using new approaches for creative learning like for instance peer-to-peer learning (e.g. ecole 42) offering co-working and learning spaces as opposed to the traditional tutorial teaching approach.

·         Several experts made the strong point for

o    the development and provision of online tools and guidance supporting diagnosis and self-assessment in recruitment, appraisal and career advancement processes mainly based on 'development potential' and less on certificates; p

o    the provision of tools and guidance for rapid programme adaptation building on new approaches such as the 'curriculum profile' approach followed by rapid light-weight certification;

·         Good practices from the own experiences of experts attend the workshop and from which to learn and base developments on include tools like the

o    'Berufsnavigator' (occupation navigator) from the German employment agency linking career advancement to training and thereby demonstrating short and long-term effects of training activities;

o    Further activities in this area should be based on an assessment of existing diagnostic tools which reflect the e-leadership skill requirements for their suitability (e.g. LMSA in Northern Ireland, the Entrepreneurial Skills Check as part of ECN Network in Austria, improve tool: https://www.improve-innovation.eu) to provide a checkpoint or baseline for individuals and signpost areas for development.

·         These tools should be used in

o    providing benchmark data to individuals, so they can see how they compare and also information for the Monitoring and Benchmarking of e-leadership skills;

o    could support the Innovative platform-based career support and job search services (see topic 3 below);

o    develop an online European repository for the promotion of tools and best practices of tool use but also case studies on how e-leaders of today developed their skills to make them successful.

·         Start early: Teach ICT use potential and digital literacy focussing on real-world challenges and situations starting already in primary and secondary schools and with a strong industry-related focus in vocational schools; increase exploration and experimentation with a 'boot camp' approach (e.g. Generation initiative of McKinsey).

·         Test different policy options to address e-leadership skills challenge based on the experiences of and lessons learnt for instance in the UK Commission for Employment and Skills ‘UK Futures programme’ (UKFP).  

·         Experience has shown that policy programmes could be developed throughout Europe:

o    with a relatively small sum of public money to pilot innovative solutions;

o    with specific learning delivery mechanisms;

o    with a strong employer leadership and collaboration between partners;

o     with the potential for scalability and replicability;

o     With committment to operate in a timebound manner to stimulate swift activity and working towards concrete goals with the potential for co-creation across different projects working to tackle the same problem.


A service contract has been awarded in December 2013 by the European Commission to a consortium led by empirica to undertake this work.

The event is supported by the EC in the scope of the service contract to promote e-leadership in Europe (LEAD)