Europe & the World Innovation & Sustainability

Digitalization and Youth on the agenda of the Third Cluny Forum

Meeting of French-German young managers in Lyon
Foto: Eugenio Marongiu

On 7-9 October 2016, Das Progressive Zentrum joined the third edition of the Cluny Forum as a cooperation partner. Created three years ago by the French-German Association “Trait d’Union”, this Forum creates new bridges between young and innovative managers from business as well as from the civil society working in one or both countries. Gathered together, they exchange experiences about their own working environment, discuss common challenges and design new ideas in a European perspective.

Strengthened by the will of creating cross-sectoral and transnational interfaces, Das Progressive Zentrum is fostering again more cooperation between the two biggest European economies. Launched under the auspices of both French and German Ministers for Economics, the Cluny Forum is trying for the third time to develop concrete projects based on the ideas brought by the debate between young and upcoming professionals working in France and/or Germany.


7 working groups for launching concrete projects

The forum was focusing this time on the challenges of the digitalization in regards to the youth. Three days long, around 50 young professionals coming from multinational companies as well as founders of civil society initiatives debated on the following issues:

  • Digital media and the reshaping of civic engagement
  • French-German digital cooperation and competitiveness
  • The digital transformation of education and employability
  • Boosting innovation through digitalization
  • A job market without human resources intermediaries
  • The digital customer as the driver of markets
  • Digitalization as the last frontier of culture?



Participants of the Third Cluny Forum in Lyon © Cluny Forum

A strong support from top managers willing to foster intercultural exchanges

The event wass supported by several institutions promoting French-German relations such as the Franco-German Youth Office, and companies working in one or both countries such as Airbus, Areva, Orange, BNP Paribas or EY. As think tank, Das Progressive Zentrum was supporting the event by providing an expertise on policy issues and on the best ways to find synergies between business, civil society and politics.

Logo of the Third Cluny Forum - Digitalization and Youth

Logo of the Third Cluny Forum – Digitalization and Youth


The results of the workshops are the basis of long-lasting projects

Senior leaders and managers from these organisations discussed the results of the working groups on Sunday. These results will serve as a basis to implement concrete solutions during the coming months, relying on the expertise and the help of the supporting organisations. For the third edition of the Cluny Forum, the different groups proposed again innovative solutions. The group “A job market without human resources intermediaries” developed the idea of a French-German web portal supporting HR services with information about the educational systems in both countries. In the long term, this portal could evolve and include information about more and more European countries.

Foto: DPZ

Annika Straub presenting the results of the group “A job market without human resources intermediaries” © DPZ


The civic responsibility of companies on the agenda for 2017

A few other groups dealt with the current political development and the boom of populist movements such as the French Front National or the German Alternative für Deutschland. Pleading for more civic engagement and responsibility by the business sector, several Cluny participants offered solutions to companies for implementing programmes helping their employees to understand and do more in this domain. All participants agreed that this is now a crucial moment for businesses to face up to their responsibilities, a few months before national elections both in France and in Germany.

Civic engagement of the companies was on the agenda of the 3rd Cluny Forum's participants | © DPZ

Civic engagement of the companies was on the agenda of the 3rd Cluny Forum’s participants © DPZ


Since the launch of the first Cluny Forum, several initiatives have been already launched successfully, such as Youth Employment is a MOOC which struggles against youth unemployment by providing online training in digital tools for graduates.


For more information, please visit the Cluny Forum’s website.

You can also read the article published in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung about the third edition of the Cluny Forum (more information in German here).

Dominic Schwickert

Alban Genty

published on

6 October 2016


Lyon, France