Digitalisation, jobs and competences – emerging innovative practices


2018 – Hanne Shapiro has written a report based on four case studies. The study was commissioned by SIRI, a Danish tripartite national policy commission with the mission to advise about an innovative, sustainable and inclusive implementation of cognitive technologies (AI), Two of those cases are organisations in the public sector: a department for intensive care at an university hospital and a municipal primary and lower secondary school. The two private companies are a whole sale construction supplier and a commercial bank part of a Swedish financial concern.

These cases have in common that the organisations have invested in new technology not for the purpose of saving (staff) costs but to improve their services qualitatively in the first place. And they have provided their workers with the competences that are needed to use the new technology. Shapiros central questions were: what effect will this strategy of implementing a technological innovation have on job content and required competences and how were employees involved in the whole process?

The author concludes about some parameters that are essential for a positive result, such as:

  • A visible management and a leadership culture with a long term vision on the added value of digitalization and capabilities to communicate about this vision and to engage employees in the change process.
  • Implementation is seen as an organizational change process and not as an ICT-project.
  • SME’s must have ‘sand boxes’ or learning labs (such as the future-of-work labs of the Frauenhofer Institute in Germany) to test and experiment with the new technology.
  • The new technology is not presented as a fully developed solution, not by the management nor by ICT-consultants.
  • The approach is one of enquiry, experiment and learning.
  • The employees are involved in an early state if it were not them who had started the innovation process.
  • Employees are seen as resources not as costs.


Shapiro, Hanne. ‘Digitalisation, jobs and competences – emerging innovative practices’. (2018) Hanne Shapiro futures, Danish SIRI Commission. ResearchGate Febr. 2018.



Theme: Innovation & Innovation competences
Sector: Public sector; Commercial services
Source: Article, Cases