Europe 4.0: Opportunities and challenges of digital technologies in Europe

On November 9th, 2020, the World Bank published the report “Europe 4.0: Addressing the Digital Dilemma”, with contributions by Prof. Dr. Thorsten Posselt, Institute Director of Fraunhofer IMW, Dr. Riad Bourayou, Research Fellow at the Chair of Innovation Management and Innovation Economics at the University of Leipzig, and Dr. Sebastian Haugk, Team Leader Concept and Method Development in the Data Mining and Value Creation project.

Europe 4.0 describes a Europe in which the potential of new digital technologies of Industry 4.0 is used to increase European competitiveness. Some of the new technologies boost Europe’s economic competitiveness by creating or expanding access to markets for smaller firms and in lagging regions. At the same time, however, the risk arises that economic activity is increasingly concentrated in large companies and leading regions. This is referred to as the digital dilemma. The COVID-19 pandemic is a particular illustration of the risks to achieving economic goals in the event that the digital dilemma continues to exist. In the future, countries and companies dedicated to Industry 4.0 will be better positioned to meet the challenges of a globalized world.

In their paper “Characterizing the New Data Economy: Big Shifts and Their Impact on Europe and the Wider Global Economy” the three scholars look at the current state of the data economy, particularly in Europe, the changes and implications of advancing data use, and the value of data. The World Bank’s report picks up on the Fraunhofer scientists’ thoughts at various points and presents possible courses of action and uses of platform technologies that can help avoid current conflicting goals in the future and exploit the full potential of new technologies. /ja

Europe 4.0: Addressing the Digital Dilemma