This interview is part of the Dialogue on Digital Transformation series.
Dr. Giacomo Damioli is an economist with a long track record of research and consultancy on innovation, economic development, welfare and vocational training. Currently, Dr. Damioli is a researcher for the European Commission, where he provides policy advice to the Directorate General Research and Innovation. Dr. Damioli also served as a consultant at the Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, and gained his PhD in Economics from the University of Essex, United Kingdom.
In this interview with Network Readiness Index (NRI) Project Manager Anna Henry, Dr. Damioli shares his research insights about the state of digital readiness among individuals, firms and governments. Given the economic, social and political shocks administered by the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Damioli emphasizes that “changing your digital strategy is even more urgent than before.” The talent and employment landscape has changed irreversibly: for one, the types of skills valued by employers have evolved, and our notions of “standard employment” have evolved. Digital transformation creates opportunities for employers to “reduce cost and space”, optimizing existing digital infrastructure to build new models of living, working and learning. Dr. Damioli also draws attention to the importance of building networks and “social bonds or ties with peers”, in universities and in workplaces. As the global workforce aims to reskill in order to meet the challenges of the digital age, this sense of togetherness “is a crucial element of the educational process, and for the development of youth into [future-ready] adults.”
Leveraging his experiences as a researcher, Dr. Damioli also explains how he would measure digital transformation. To measure digital transformation, Dr. Damioli outlines, it is necessary to address the digital part and the transformation parts somewhat separately; the first part rooted in three pillars of the NRI (Tech, People and Governance), considering all relevant indicators with a digital dimension (such as digital participation, content creation), and the second part tracking changes over time.