On Thursday 16th of September 2021, the Austrian-German lighthouse project for Gaia-X in manufacturing, EuProGigant, invited the members of the intergenerational advisory board for a binational meeting. The hybrid meeting simultaneously took place at the machine tool manufacturer Gebrüder Heller in Nürtingen, Germany, and at the TU Wien in Vienna, Austria. At both locations, the working groups consisted of eight participants. The goal? Discussing what the future of work will look like in the year 2035, and how companies can contribute to reaching this vision.
Employees build the future working environment
The workshop showed the extent to which transformations are currently happening in all professions and industries, led by digitalisation, the Corona pandemic and a changing idea of the future of work. The working groups agreed, that employees will shape future working conditions themselves. Characteristical trends defining actual transformation processes are that employees increasingly place more value on meaningful work, that collaboration takes centre stage and that hierarchies tend to flatten. The courage to fail is part of an open and transparent working culture, which breaks up rigid planning processes and creates space for experiments. The future of the manufacturing industry will be “glocal” instead of global: rigid and dispersed supply chains are difficult to manage in case of catastrophe. Returning manufacturing capabilities to Europe – “reshoring” or “nearshoring” – is already taking place.
A common langauge
Technical developments in the course of digitalisation and current project initiatives such as Gaia-X at the European level; and EuProGigant as a binational research project, are driving this transformation process forward. The project is an advocate for broad social acceptance of new technologies and for involving society. This includes the development of a common language; a simple and explanatory language, which is strengthened by attractive media formats such as explanatory videos. Co-design in user-centred development processes plays an important role and promotes a critical view and evaluation of products and their functionalities in the first prototypical test phases. In so doing, it can be ensured that Gaia-X and other digitalisation initiatives make a long-term and sustainable contribution to economic prosperity in Europe.
The intergenerational advisory board
The intergenerational advisory board was founded at project conception in March 2021 with the goal of discussing the changing work environment through digitalisation in manufacturing in an open manner and with a broad societal base. Currently, the advisory board consists of 19 members from Austria and Germany, divided over four generations. The academic and professional backgrounds are divers, which strengthens the interdisciplinary discussion. Apprentices, union representatives, works committee chairmen, students, project leaders and EuProGigant project partners attended this meeting.
You can learn more about the intergenerational advisory board here.
EuProGigant is the research project “European Production Giganet for calamity-avoiding self-orchestration of value creation and learning ecosystems”, carried out by an Austrian-German project consortium.