Digital Society, a future lab on digitalization by Thomas More University of Applied Sciences

Every academical year, as a kick off the start of the summer semester, all (150) students of the bachelor course Digital Experience Design (for more info, see QR code below) contribute in a hackathon on an overall theme that connects with the course content & competences – those of the digital product architect – and challenges them to create innovative solutions directly linked to this year’s overall theme: Digital Society. Through examining this issue, students will learn to critically assess, anticipate, and shape the social, cultural, and political effects of digital transformations. Students will also become more capable – via their research on the topic(s) – of understanding the range of possible future implications of emerging digital transformations on, amongst others, work.

Subdivided in 7 use cases which can be explored on the projects website https://hackathon.wearexd.be/, a number of students was assigned with the use case Digital Society and GenZ@work: what makes young people relate to their (future or current) job – finding a sense of enthusiasm, satisfaction, meaning and purpose in it – and how does digital technology factor in? Work also plays a prominent role as a source of purpose and meaning. People attach more importance to a good working relationship and see their job as a function of personal growth. This also means that communication, cooperation and leadership skills (so-called ‘soft skills’) are gaining in importance. How do students and their peers view work? What makes them enthusiastic about a (potential) job, and how do stay engaged?

Another use case – on “Digital Society and sustainability – connected directly to EntreComp4Transition: the Digital Society will foster the creation of new jobs, like the facilitateur de la transition verte (green transition facilitator). Policy in Europe and Flanders (and other regions) are demanding education to train future employees to become active participants in this transition. The green transition developed from the consensus that economic growth must urgently be decoupled from environmental harm to address both climate change and poverty. The digital transition, on the other hand, evolved because firms realized they could reap economic gains from using digital technologies. However, for it to successfully happen, education and businesses need to join forces. EU citizens are called to upskill and re-skill themselves in the domain of entrepreneurship, together with digital and green skills to be able to contribute with sustainable solutions to a stronger and more resilient Europe. Indeed, entrepreneurship is the key to enable this change. What are these new Green and Digital jobs? What are possible scenarios so that employees and collaborators are motivated and inspired to re-skill et up-skill themselves in relation to the green and digital transition that we need? How can the greening of the economy be joined with digitalization? What possible jobs in the future lay ahead for digital product developers and designers being green and sustainable jobs at the same time? How would YOU design the job of the Green Transition Facilitator? In a next blog article on this website we will share the results of the developmental journey that the students have worked on with these issues. Stay tuned!

By Filip Burgelman

Entrepreneurship Education Architect

Thomas More University of Applies Sciences