Digital innovation



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Digital innovation is the application of new technologies to existing business problems and practice. This is due to a number of factors: access to high speed internet and smart mobile devices, the internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Quantum Computing. Green and Hannon argues that technologies are now fully integrated into today’s younger generation; hey have grown up in a world of computers and the internet. Users can be categorised as follows:


·      Digital pioneers who were blogging before the phrase had been coined

·      Creative producers who are building websites, posting movies, photos and music to share with friends, family and beyond

·      Everyday communicators are making their lives easier through texting and MSN

·      Information gatherers are Google and Wikipedia addicts, ‘cutting and pasting’ as a way of life


Key characteristics include: networking, collaboration, co-production and participation. They see technologies as a tool to make their lives easier. There is a shift from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy and as a result the skills that young people need are changing. From the 1950s onwards jobs in the UK have shifted from production of agricultural and manufactured goods to the production of increasingly sophisticated services and gathering of information. The main ingredient in these services is now knowledge. This shift means that we are beginning to re-evaluate the kinds of skills and competencies that people, organisations and institutions need to thrive and flourish.


Whilst literacy and numeracy as still important, employers are increasingly looking for other skills, such as: creativity, ideas generation, presentation, leadership, team building and self-confidence. The pandemic has increased the use of technologies in education, however many teachers (and students) lack the necessary skills to make effective use of technology (PWC). The digital marketing institute argues that: As the educational sector becomes more competitive, digital transformation is now becoming a necessary means of survival as this new digital world requires educators to adapt and adopt digital technologies, methodologies and mindsets. Challenges to digital transformation include: a reluctance to adapt, inferior knowledge or skills, data silos, a lack of direction or strategy, and system based compatibility. Strategies to address these include: developing a strategy, hire, train and invest in skills, integrate and utilise digital data, automate, embrace the power of mobile, experiment with emerging technologies, and focus on digital citizenship.

The European Commission published a report “Resetting education and training for the digital age”. It outlined how the EU can help individuals, educational institutions and education systems to better adapt for life and work in an age of rapid digital change by:

  • making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning
  • developing relevant digital competences and skills for the digital transformation
  • improving education through better data analysis and foresight
  • strengthening European identity through education and culture
  • fostering the development of a high-performing digital education ecosystem
  • enhancing digital skills and competences for the digital transformation

EHL Insights cites a number of challenges with digital transformation: people are used to the status quo, generally there is a lack of clear strategy or direction for digital adoption, incomplete knowledge of the skills needed to achieve meaningful digital adoption, unclear data pictures for institutions, and existing systems not being used in an integrated way.

To conclude, so whilst clearly digital technologies have the potential to innovate learning and teaching there are many challenges to their effective uptake and use



Digital marketing institute,


EHL Insights,



European Commission,



Green, H. and Hannon, C. , Their space – education for the digital generation







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