DS 110: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2021), VIA Design, VIA University in Herning, Denmark. 9th -10th September 2021

Year: 2021
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Canina, Maria Rita; Bruno, Carmen
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Section: Industrial Involvement in Design and Engineering Education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.46
ISBN: 978-1-912254-14-9


Design and engineer education urgently need to co-evolve with the human, technological and cultural evolution of the digital era we are facing. Indeed, digital transformation is changing people’s mindsets, behavioural and social attitudes, impacting every sector of our society (Author&Author, 2019). Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and other emerging technologies, are impacting the process of creating and innovating, transforming the industrial economy and the associated job market, creating significant opportunities and threats that need to be properly understood, managed and guided. According to the WEF’s Future of Jobs Report (2020), 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as the ‘double-disruption’ of the economic impacts of the pandemic and adoption of technology increases, transforming jobs. At least 133 million new roles may emerge globally because of the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. This will require people to develop new skills, and education to improve their training. In a near future, there will be a strong demand for digital skills (e.g. information skills, programming and app development) as declared in the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition launched by the European Commission, along with human skills that computers can’t easily master such as complex problem solving, strategic and creative thinking, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, communication and negotiation, relationship and network building abilities. Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employees and the newly emerging this year are skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. This set of fundamental skills can be defined in a unique way as Digital Creative Abilities and represent the levers to be activated and enhanced to allow individuals and teams to express their maximum creative potential. Their development allows managing the digital transition achieving a Digital Maturity (Kane, 2017) that means enabling people to continuously adapt to a changing digital landscape, learning how to collaborate with digital technologies and how to use them to serve the human needs in any field. The 2017 MIT Sloan report ‘Achieving Digital Maturity’, explained some key practices to become digitally maturing companies, among which stands (a) increasing collaboration of cross-functional teams (b) cultivating digitally minded cultures, visions and experiences, (c) performing digital experiments with a business impact. Based on this knowledge, the paper presents the Digital Creativity for Digital Maturity (DC4DM) model aimed at enhancing people's creative and design skills for reaching a Digital Maturity. It is a creativity-driven design model built (a) to empower Digital Creative Abilities of cross-functional teams of design, engineers, and management students, (b) to transfer a design and creative mindset, and (c) to design innovative digital solutions in different fields of application. The DC4DM model is the core of the Erasmus+ project, ‘Digital Creativity for developing Digital Maturity future skills’. The project aims to implement and spread a new scenario of cross-functional teams’ education for training future professionals to face the complex real-world challenges brought by the digital transformation.

Keywords: Digital Maturity, Creativity, Design Mindset, Future skills, Cross-functional teams


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