Two years ago, in their groundbreaking book The Second Machine Age, Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, and Andrew McAfee, Co-director, of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, described digital technology’s transformative effect on business, the economy, and society. With productivity, wealth, and profits at historic highs, digital innovation has created unprecedented bounty for a great number of people. However, not all people have shared equally in this prosperity. In economic terms, overall GDP is growing but median incomes since 1999 have actually fallen. While technology has created greater wealth for society and for innovators at an unprecedented pace, changes in our economy are actually leaving many people — especially middle- and base-level earners — worse off.
This is the great economic paradox of our time, yet at the Initiative on the Digital Economy, we know this disparity will not define our future. Rather we are technology optimists, and we believe that the future of work can be better for all. However, we cannot ensure that people will enjoy prosperous working lives, if we just stand by and watch these trends unfold. Thus to celebrate, support, and inspire solutions to this challenge, the MIT IDE launched the Inclusive Innovation Competition (IIC). We will award a total of $1 million in prizes to the world’s most inventive organizations that are enabling more people to fully experience the prosperity of the Second Machine Age.
At the heart of the Competition is this open challenge:
How can technology drive progress and growth, while ensuring that ALL of our society – particularly middle- and base-level income earners – is brought along into this brighter future?
Celebrating the achievements of Inclusive Innovation pioneers will act as inspiration and a call-to-arms for future Inclusive Innovators, particularly in the following four critical areas:
1.) Skills: How do we re-skill members of our workforce to prepare them for opportunities of the future?
The jobs that are in demand today will be very different from those required in the future. To enable prosperity in the face of accelerating technology, we need to position people to complement technological advances through strategic re-skilling and lifelong learning.
Read the full post at Forbes.
Devin Cook is Executive Producer of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Competition. She holds an MBA from MIT Sloan.