Parallel Working Sessions: outcomes – Guido Romeo

Next Generation Internet Summit, 7 June 2017 – Plenary Session – Guido Romeo.


Thank you, Robert.
Joachim unfortunately has some issues with his family. His son is in the hospital, so he excused himself and we wish him and his son the very best. 

In the first session, the one on disruption of the economy – I can sum it up basically in two words: cautious and optimistic. I will elaborate a bit more on that. 

We tackled three lines there, in both sessions, the first one is disruption of the economy, of the current models and of the workplace, of employment of course – that stems from all the work from Frey and Osbourne. 

The second one is skills and the third one is regulation. Which is something that is very close to the heart of all the speakers and to all in the room, because that is a space for politics and of course, being at the European Parliament, it was a very hot topic. 
And there were very diverse approaches to this. 

A fourth, an extra one I would say would be attitude. 
It’s more of an emotional, social topic but I believe it is crucial, it echoes a bit with what Luciano was saying on being a bit more daring and experimentation in Europe.

So, on the first one on disruption. There is no question, I think we had a consensus there, there will be disruption. We are seeing it already, there is a study that is coming out in the next couple of weeks, comparing the performance of small and medium companies in Catalunya, Ronalpen, Lombardy and the ones in Germany.
And it shows that companies that innovate, that are internationalized, go through efficient digital transformations, can perform in terms of productivity at 200% better than the ones which don’t. It is clear that some companies and workers will be driven out of the market and some will excel and will profit greatly from this transformation.
That said the figures pulled by the future of employment by Fray and Osborn – by the way it’s not a peer-reviewed paper I’ve learned so we should be extremely cautious about how we handle those forecasts. The idea of having a 50% of workers outside of the job market, those jobs being disrupted, is not that clear.
In fact, it could be much less. But I think the takeaway point is not about how many jobs are distracted it’s about the difference between the jobs that they are distracted and the jobs that are created. If the bottom figure is positive, we can actually gain.

So, that brings us to the skills. Skills again is something that needs to be tickled on two levels because their existing level, that need to be recalled if I’d they have to learn, new skills to adapt. But they’re also the ones that will become workers in the NGI world. 
And we were talking about our millennials who, as we told yesterday don’t see much engaged in the conversation but need to learn a bit more critical thinking, they need to be engaged in this conversation. And in this perspective, one of our speakers, actually more than one of our speakers, stressed the importance of developing critical skills and not simply coding skills. 

Last but not least, the regulatory approach, this is an extremely sensitive topic of course, I will use the words of Kaja Kallas who rightly said: “we tend to overreact in the short-term, and overestimate in the long-term.” We should adopt a long-term view and try to develop regulation that is made not for the actual incumbent, but that is geared toward having innovation in Europe, having new players emerge in Europe. 
The take away commitments I asked – I tricked my panellists into trying to say – what they would like Europe to do in the next 12 months, and the overarching commitment there asked was expansion of broadband and commitment to openness.
And that is openness of public records, but also openness of innovation and of innovative business models.
And again, no reinventing of the bicycle: so, shape the new rules thinking long-term and cultivate diversity and optimism. 
That’s one of the most societal bridge challenges, but I guess one of the most important ones.

Day 2