Digital Technologies, Innovation, and Skills: Emerging Trajectories and Challenges


In order to better understand the complex and dialectical relationships between digital technologies, innovation, and skills, it is necessary to improve our understanding of the coevolution between the trajectories of connected digital technologies, firm innovation routines, and skills formation. This is critical as organizations recombine and adapt digital technologies; they require new skills to innovate, learn, and adapt to evolving digital technologies, while digital technologies change the codification of knowledge for productive and innovative activities. The coevolution between digital technologies, innovation, and skills also requires, and is driven by, a reorganization of productive and innovation processes, both within and between firms. We observe this in all economic sectors, from agriculture to services. Based on evidence on past technologies in the innovation literature, we suggest that we might require a new set of stylized facts to better map the main future trajectories of digital technologies, their adoption, use, and recombination in organizations, to improve our understanding of their impact on productivity, employment and inequality. The papers in this special issue contribute to a better understanding of the interdependence between digital technologies, innovation, and skills.

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Tommaso Ciarli
Silvia Massini
Lucia Piscitello
Publication date: 
April 1, 2021
Publication type: 
Working Paper