Digital gives us a good excuse to start a change that becomes urgent. Anyone can become more efficient, better informed and achieve a better balance in life. In any organization, we need to understand the potential to adopt new technologies and their new culture.

This is how a few years ago, I started a training programme dedicated to digital competence at the European Commission. The motivation for it had two origins.

The first motivation: ACTA crisis. Some opponents criticized the European Union for a lack of transparency in the negotiations. They used the web to rally more opposition and thus counteract its implementation. The Commission perceived the need to take advantage of the digital world, to watch and join conversations. Today, everyone at the top has well understood the value of having a continuous presence. But this is not enough. All staff also need to be aware of the benefits of social media for the Commission, and join conversations.

You have the second excuse with “doing better with less”. The Commission has to reduce its workforce by 5% by 2016, while assuming increased workload. Following some quick analysis, the situation is not that bad in all services. Some work routines cause frustrations. For instance, lack of internal collaboration, too many organizational silos, evaporation of knowledge. We also see some protective reflexes which can generate time wasted. For instance, a lot of time could be saved from managing email and searching information, or from a workload generated by too many internal procedures. Some processes are not adapted anymore to a fast evolving world, highly networked. I believe that for simplicity and order, things have become sometimes chaotic. The tree structure does not work anymore.

A digital competence programme brings concrete solutions, provokes a framework for change and lifts people out of their comfort zone. With such a programme, you can spread the values of the web, and thus promote the entrepreneurial spirit at every level. Like in every other organizations, most of the solutions will have to come from the staff.

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