Tech with Society

It’s time to rethink and redraw the social and political institutions that we need going forward to foster social and economic value creation

Summary

This policy paper concludes the #Tech4Society innovation series, putting forward policy recommendations designed to ensure that technological change will not be an end in itself — and that actors from civil society, politics, business, and academia will be able to develop a European model of value creation based on co-creation instead.

The main objective of #Tech4Society is to rethink and redraw the social and political institutions that we need going forward to foster social and economic value creation and build up resilience within society. Resilience empowers, prepares, or protects everyone in our society from the changes that new technologies bring about, which will alter the way we produce value as a society.

In order to build up this new resilience, the policy paper “Tech with Society ” considers the latest developments and challenges in the economy, society, and the individual and develops 12 policy recommendations for a value-based approach to technological change.

We need to ensure that digital technologies preserve freedom, protect privacy, and give people control over their life.

Geoff Mulgan, Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College London

Key policy recommendations:

  • Promote digital public entrepreneurs
    Moving forward with digitalisation in the public sector, it will be crucial for governments to invest in their own workforce. Firstly, if governments go digital, public service workers will need to retrain and acquire new skill sets. Secondly, while governments are designing stimuli packages and public investments at an unprecedented scale, public service workers must think and act like entrepreneurs in order to harness new technologies and create an innovation ecosystem for the future.
  • Technologies of representation
    Governments should make legislative processes more transparent through digitised documentation and increase the resilience of democratic processes through digital solutions. They should facilitate stakeholder involvement in a way that ensures an equal voice for all and document these processes.
  • #Tech4Society Innovation Impact Assessments
    Defining societal innovation as a prerequisite to technological innovation projects, and assessing them accordingly, will help to redefine the value (the “profit”) of an innovation in economic, social, and ecological dimensions. This will help building a more sustainable and inclusive economy post-COVID-19.

Building on scenarios of progressive governance

Tech with Society” also reflects on the great uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibilities of shaping a more progressive future.

In order to increase the robustness of our final policy recommendations drawn from the discussions along the way, we have tested the ideas against six post-COVID-19 scenarios as outlined in the Strategy Paper of the Progressive Governance Digital Summit 2020. This helps us to imagine more and less favourable future scenarios and possible pathways for progressives emerging from the pandemic. In times of the unfolding social and economic challenges following COVID-19, our method of looking into present and future scenarios allows us to bring together realistic policy concepts and to develop a vision of what will matter in the future.

A progressive vision of innovation “Made in Europe”

The paper closes by defining the parameters of a high-performing European innovation ecosystem. What Europe needs is an open, inclusive and emancipatory innovation culture that is supported by a progressive narrative of innovation. To this end, European societies should openly discuss what kind of future they collectively envision and how technological innovations could help them to realise this vision. It takes collective effort to innovate and stakeholders will neither be able to network nor cooperate in a meaningful way without a shared vision of their future. 

Background on #Tech4Society

With the #Tech4Society innovation series, we seek to bring forward and explore the goal of promoting economic, social, and ecological progress. The starting point of the conversations is the fundamental question of how new technologies can work best for societal progress. Further on, it takes into account the perspectives of the economy, the society, and the individual.

#Tech4Society seeks to address the long-term challenges of our societies, including economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, tomorrow’s work and economy, demographic changes, regional imbalances, and the increasing political polarisation in democracies. The premise of our co-innovative dialogue is to put new technologies at the service of people and society. Respectively, the project already dove deep into the economy, the society and the individual during a series of workshops in summer/autumn of 2020, each resulting in a workshop synopsis.


Authors

Daniela Blaschke supports a research team at Volkswagen Group Japan by looking into the regulatory and socio-political context of innovation in South and East Asia. In 2021, she was part of the Work4Germany Fellowship and worked at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building, and Community.
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Dr. Florian Ranft

Head of Green New Deal
Florian Ranft is Head of Programme Economic and Social Transformation and focuses on inclusive growth and the future of work. In previous capacities, he was Head of Policy and International at Policy Network, and a former Senior Research Analyst at the Centre for Progressive Policy, both think tanks based in London.
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Content

Summary
Authors

Dr. Florian Ranft

Head of Green New Deal

We develop and debate progressive ideas and bring together leading actors who turn thoughts into action. Our think tank’s goal: making the just transformation a reality. ▸ Learn more