At its 2009 Annual General Meeting in Lausanne, the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG) formally endorsed the view that cost-cutting by itself was not a sustainable way out of the current economic crisis and that innovation was required now more than ever.
“With new ICT enabled tools we can tap the brainpower of knowledge workers in new ways,” said Richard Straub, ELIG’s Secretary General. “It is only they who can deliver the creativity and innovation that will bring a new leap in innovation and hence growth.”
Industry experts and academics attending the AGM from all over Europe concluded that learning and knowledge technologies have now reached the ‘tipping point’ to enable not only a step change in productivity but also in creativity and innovation. Web 2.0 advancements, currently dominating the personal use arena, have the potential to provide accelerated experiential learning across organisations – but only if they can be channeled to systematic institutional use. Mobile technologies further enhance the capabilities for interaction and access to knowledge by innovating the tools available to knowledge workers.
ELIG went on to advocate key actions including:
- Exploring innovative approaches to the quality accreditation of learning programmes and environments
- Identifying a research agenda that moves from technology-centred research to an application-orientation, including new ways of user involvement in the innovation process itself.
“There is no doubt that Europe’s learning industry needs to innovate in order to compete,” said Fabrizio Cardinali, ELIG co-Chair and CEO of Giunti Labs. “Europe needs a ‘Renaissance 2.0’ in order to recreate the creative eco-system which enabled the advancements of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Comment: ELIG is, of course, completely correct in saying that cost-cutting is not effective as the main method of surviving the economic crisis. But, do bankers get bonuses? Unfortunately, the business world is ruled by accountants who take the opposite view to ELIG and who take no account of any evidence to the contrary. What’s more worrying is that, in the very short (and short-sighted) term, they tend to be right – to the disadvantage of everyone else in the economy.