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How can Sweden reach the cutting edge of digital competence?

Despite intensive debate and many measures taken to increase the total number of people who excel at digital, the need for skills and personnel in business and the public sector remains as high as ever.

Campaigns have been run to increase the number of people in advanced digital education, increase the availability of training opportunities in what we call “lifelong learning” and – last but not least – improve gender equality. However, need is increasing at a faster rate than progress. Not least, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have shown the strain under which our existing digital systems can be put – proving that an even higher level of excellence is required.

In April 2020, I blogged about “Digital excellence – the new Renaissance man”(In Swedish) based on the inquiry commissioned by UKÄ and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, requested by the Minister for Digitalisation. Our mission was to investigate and propose a definition of digital excellence. Recently a scientific article has been published that describes the results of this work: what digital excellence is, or what it should be.

The government assignment is continuing and will come to an end at the close of 2022. The inquiry has already led to the publication of a report with a preliminary proposal, in order to inspire discussion and debate about what is now needed from the political sphere, academia, business and the public sector for Sweden to be able to meet current – and future – requirements for cutting-edge digital expertise. Under the title Digital Skills Sweden the inquiry has asked the government to contribute significant educational and research investments, to improve cooperation by establishing a state-run collaboration council for digital excellence, and to give a clear mandate for the collection of statistical data in order to be able to make reliable forecasts for how things will be in the future. The inquiry commission welcomes comments and input which will help sharpen the proposal further!

Alongside this, I am also now part of another assignment connected to the inquiry along with representatives from Linköping University, Örebro University and Uppsala University to investigate the consequences of different policy decisions that are intended to promote digital excellence. We will carry out a forecast and develop a number of scenarios relating to the development of competences required for digital excellence. This assignment will be concluded with a debate on 13th June 2022 – feel free to listen in and participate!