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Digital Skills Deficiencies Cost Europe Billions!

Fiona.Fanning's picture
Submitted by Fiona.Fanning on Tue, 2012-06-19 15:55

Since ICT is now clearly entrenched in almost every sector of the economy we need to focus on strengthening the competence of the entire European labour force through digital skills proficiency. We've seen immense benefits to organisations through saving costs, and increasing their own employees’ efficiency via ECDL certification. In the Netherlands, ECDL Nederland, our national partner, co-commissioned a study which showed that workers’ lack of ICT skills could cost €19.3 billion losses in productivity for businesses and that's just in the Netherlands. Just imagine what we could do if the ESF was truly able to provide every European the chance to be digital! http://www.ecdl.org/index.jsp?p=932&n=2803&a=4194

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Gianluigi Cuccureddu's picture
Submitted by Gianluigi Cuccureddu on Tue, 2012-06-19 20:01

Thanks for sharing Fiona. This is not all, what about what Havard Business School professor Morten Hansen and colleague Bolko Von Oetinger said about most companies continue to squander their greatest assets – knowledge scattered and embedded within and outside organisations.

Not able to put at use data in the window of opportunity, which is both a digital and data science skill.

Lots of capabilities work to do.

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stylianosm's picture
Submitted by stylianosm on Wed, 2012-06-20 14:28

Fiona, solid grounded evidence such as this highlight the urgency for firm strategic policy decisions and commitments.

Gianluigi, thanks for pointing out the importance of effective collaboration and knowledge management. Indeed, e-skills isn't just about tools use. It (should) include multiple competencies and components for an individual to live & work productively in the digital era.

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nabeth.thierry's picture
Submitted by nabeth.thierry on Wed, 2012-06-20 18:04

Collaboration and knowledge management "skills" are indeed critical skills in the knowledge (& networked?) economy that go beyond ICT skills.
Note that we are using these skills at this very moment when we interact in this platform.

Collaboration and knowledge management "skills" are however very difficult to teach because they relate to behavioral transformation (on attitudes), and are dependent of the culture of the individual, of the organization and of the society.
I would also like to remind you that different tentatives have been done in the past for better managing knowledge in organization, and in particular "knowledge management" tools have been designed an introduced with very disappointing results. There reasons of these failure was often that the human factors (such as motivation) were often overlooked.

I would therefore strongly suggest that we do not forget these "soft digital-skills", or we take risk not to get all the expected value. For instance in some cases, too many tools can be counter productive, and for instance many researches have shown that humans are poor multi-taskers. Many companies have been worried that their employees are too much distracted by social network, and many people agree now about the nuisance of email.

How should we teach people these skills?

Probably beyond the traditional methods there is some room here to be more creative.
Examples:
* Experimenting with collaborative "crowdsourcing" systems (social networks, Wikis, etc.) including understanding the underlying social dynamics
* Serious games, gamification? That encourage collaboration rather than competition.
* Bringing in neuroscience to indicate people what is happening in their head when they interact with others. (cf. trust formation, mirroring, reciprocation, reward system). Note that some brain interface devices are even becoming affordable and could be considered to be used in the future.

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