"Innovations: Curse or blessing for the labor market?"

Deutsche Welle's reportage from the i4j Munich Summit, November 22-23 2013:

What job opportunities are created by technological advances? Who benefits the most - companies or workers? These are questions that produced surprising answers at a top-flight conference in Munich. This weekend (November 23, 2013), some 40 renowned guests from Europe and the United States met in Munich to discuss the impact of the newest technological innovations on business.

Research and development teams of large companies determine how to use the latest in technology to make their products even better, or how to produce their products at a lower cost - whether by using new machinery or by changing workflows. Workers play a key role in this process, as they have to adapt to the constant change in technological advancements. However, this is not always easy. Many of the conference guests are or have been company directors or board chair people and practically all of them have been responsible for cutting jobs.

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About the summit

The current economic crisis has brought the interplay between innovation and jobs on to center stage. Countries badly need innovation-driven productivity gains to grow out of debt, while it remains unclear whether such growth will also significantly reduce unemployment. Information technology, the most recent industrial revolution, has dramatically skewed labor demand in favor of highly-skilled workers and to the detriment of the less qualified. Disruptive innovation around the world is creating and destroying jobs on a massive scale. Conversely, persistent mismatches between employee skills and job requirements can seriously impede innovative activity.

In order to successfully confront these challenges that lie at the nexus of innovation, employment and training, intersectoral problem-solving with thought leaders from around the world and across sectors of business, academia and policy will prove indispensible.

For this reason, Bertelsmann Stiftung, the International Institute of Innovation Journalism and Communication (IIIJ) in collaboration with Bavarian Industry Association (vbw) organized the i4j Munich International Summit "Innovation for Jobs - Jobs for Innovation". The Summit took place on 22 and 23 November 2013 at the Westin Grand Hotel Munich.

The Munich summit is embedded in an international network of i4j thinkers and doers. Building on the concepts and ideas produced at the first meeting in Silicon Valley, the Munich summit offered a forum to share international best practices in innovation for jobs.