Research-Education-Business Forum: Competencies for Managing the Digital Transformation

MakeLearn & TIIM 2022 confernece will also feature the Research-Education-Business Forum entitled “Competencies for Managing the Digital Transformation: Science – Education – Business Interface”. The forum will be chaired by Prof. Dr. Eglė Staniškienė who is a professor at the Sustainable Management Research Group, School of Economics and Business, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania, and holds a PhD in Social Sciences. Her research topics extend from quality management to sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, education for sustainable development, and interdisciplinary research. From 2008 to 2013, she has worked as the Head of Quality Department at KTU. She led the development and implementation of the project for the improvement of the internal quality assurance system at KTU.

Forum topic announcement and presentation:
Here are the key figures you need to understand the ‘state of digital’ today (DIGITAL 2022: GLOBAL OVERVIEW REPORT):

  • Global population: The world’s population stands at 7.91 billion in January 2022, with the annual growth rate of 1.0 percent suggesting that this figure will reach 8 billion sometime in mid-2023. Well over half (57.0 percent) of the world’s population now lives in urban areas.
  • Global mobile users: More than two-thirds (67.1 percent) of the world’s population now uses a mobile phone, with unique users reaching 5.31 billion by the start of 2022. The global total has grown by 1.8 percent over the past year, with 95 million new mobile users since this time last year.
  • Global internet users: Global internet users have climbed to 4.95 billion at the start of 2022, with internet penetration now standing at 62.5 percent of the world’s total population. Data show that internet users have grown by 192 million (+4.0 percent) over the past year, but ongoing restrictions to research and reporting due to COVID-19 mean that actual growth trends may be considerably higher than these figures suggest.
  • Global social media users: There are 4.62 billion social media users around the world in January 2022. This figure is equal to 58.4 percent of the world’s total population, although it’s worth noting that social media “users” may not represent unique individuals (learn why). Global social media users have grown by more than 10 percent over the past 12 months, with 424 million new users starting their social media journey in 2021.

Digital skills are fast becoming essential for people to navigate ordinary day-to-day activities such as using a mobile phone to transfer money to family members via digital financial services, using the Internet for remote education classes and to research, prepare and deliver coursework, and acquiring basic skills for staying safe online. In the workplace, digital skills are required for an ever-growing number of jobs, and even in traditionally manual sectors like agriculture, digital applications are beginning to make inroads, with a corresponding requirement for some level of digital literacy. Developing a digitally skilled population calls for the involvement of different institutions: universities need to undertake research and determine requirements; government institutions need to develop appropriate policies; training institutions need to deliver relevant digital skills training, and the private sector and civil society organizations need to support digital adoption and use (Digital Skills Assessment Guidebook (2020) by ITU). Exploiting digital technologies requires new competencies, which need to be combined with existing competencies to increase business efficiency and introduce digital innovations. However, competence combination for digital transformation is particularly challenging due to the scale of needed organizational change, conflicts between new and existing operating logic, and employee stress and resistance (Pihlajamaa, Malmelin, & Wallin, 2021). Without the right skills, people fall behind. If enough of them get to the back of the line, it is the whole of society that starts to fall apart. Today, 52% of European workers are in need of reskilling. Investing in the digital skills and continuing education of Europeans is not an option. It is imperative (https://www.digitaleurope.org/policies/digital-skills/). The following questions shall lead and support the discussion among participants:

  • Digital technology is evolving faster than people can adapt to it. How would you propose to tackle this problem?
  • Digital competencies are interdisciplinary. Who should undertake research of digital competences and determine requirements? Which researchers from which discipline? Why do you think so?
  • Who should take responsibility for the slow acquisition of digital competencies? How to speed up the process of acquiring digital competencies?
  • What does science expect from business and what does the business expect from science? How can we reconcile the different expectations when it comes to the need for digital skills?
  • What forms of learning appeal to learners? What forms of digital competence acquisition are universities already using today? What is still to come?
Makelearn Conference 2023
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