Carl Heath Utbildningsdirektör RISE

The crisis, digitization and lifelong learning

Publicerad: 3 April 2020

How does the current global crisis affect our society and our companies? How do we meet the problems we face, and capture the opportunities that arise? How do we strengthen our society with knowledge and lifelong learning?

We are in the midst of one of the biggest societal challenges Sweden has faced in modern times. The biggest threat to society right now is the suffering pandemic that causes people to die and die. In the wake of the pandemic, great stress is affecting society as a whole and not least our companies and the business community are affected by major financial difficulties.

But crises are also often the starting point for change, innovation and innovation. Simply for the reason that you have no alternative but to try what you previously did not dare to try. We take greater risks because the threats are greater. We have been seeing pages of social and corporate digitization in recent weeks that we could not imagine just over a month ago. We use digital tools like never before. We collaborate, share tips and ideas, and develop work methods at high speed. Many of us have quickly gotten into the habit of having digital meetings, maybe even association and board meetings, customer meetings and after work. We find new features in the collaborative tools we have looked at, but have not come to test for real. Working groups organize themselves into Teams or Slack or other collaborative areas. The company Zoom doubles in value in no time when their video calling technology suddenly becomes the first choice for many educators and many others. A spontaneous digital workshop exists between a couple of companies, and with the Miro tool, collaboration takes place that builds common ideas about the future. Youtube strengthens its leading position as a people education environment. Online healthcare, online school, online job and online leisure. All of a sudden, digitalisation and people's access to the internet are a fundamental prerequisite for taking part in society, for working, studying or contributing to the social life.

But everything is not roses and perfume. Most of us want a little of each. We miss our meetings, talks, conferences and meeting places. We long for what was, but maybe together with what we found. For some, the challenges are even greater. Many are those who are not part of our rapidly digitized society and working life. Around a million Swedes are online to a small or no extent. For these, our present day presents great challenges. With a changed media landscape, society is subject to disinformation and propaganda from both other state powers and various malicious interests. Knowing what is true and not is not only important to us as citizens, but also to our companies and organizations and to society at large.

To meet challenges and problems, and to find opportunities and ways forward, we see with all desirable clarity how important a lifelong learning is. Because it is only with knowledge that we can shape a future of prosperity and success. It is only with knowledge that we can counteract the destructive aspects of society's digitalisation. If this crisis we are now in the middle of is learning something about this now, this is exactly it. The ability of society to face the future is about our responsibility for a lifelong learning, for everyone.

Published 2020-04-03  |  Authored by Carl Heath