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Boris Koprivnikar is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia. He manages activities which are an integral part of the Centre of Government and focus on digital transformation.

As Chief Digital Officer he initiated an ambitious vision of Slovenia to become a green reference country in digital Europe in which he aspires to bring together interests of the State, economy and citizens to establish a digital ecosystem.

In part two of our interview, Minister Koprivnikar shares his vision of industry, the future of work and ageing in a digital world.

Minister Koprivnikar speaking at Readie Policy Summit 2016 in Berlin.

Minister Koprivnikar speaking at Readie Policy Summit 2016 in Berlin.

Good things come in small packages

“In Slovenia, unlike the 4.0 model in Germany, an organised initiative came from the State [at the start]. Companies immediately seized the initiative and began to cooperate intensively. A smaller country with a high export-oriented economy cannot succeed, in economic terms, if it is not a desirable partner for the buyers of its products and services. As a smaller state, Slovenia has one more advantage: we are actively interested in agreeing on common standards of communication and cooperation with other countries. This enables us to prepare proposals for the Digital Single Market, for example, more quickly and efficiently.

Digital changes everything

“Digital transformation is radically affecting all activities and virtually all businesses. These effects can be seen as a possibility for optimising production or services processes.

Companies will always use technologies which make them the most effective and efficient in the market … One of the key challenges is, of course, the radical change of the structure of jobs. Jobs that can be automated will gradually disappear because robots perform more efficiently than any human. At the same time, new jobs and ways of working, which until recently did not even exist, are slowly coming into existence.

Lifelong learning is vital

“I expect great changes with the impact of the sharing economy on work relations, as it will become irrelevant how many years and where a person was employed, but how much time a person is willing to contribute.

Expert knowledge is becoming quickly outdated in more and more activities. The skills that cannot be automated will gain on significance. Functional skills of cooperation, learning, organising, performing, adaptability, creativity, communication, and social skills are universal and serve as a basis for successful careers. By strongly focusing on functional skills we will be able, throughout our lives, to effectively respond to constant changes and search in them for new opportunities and not the loss of vocations. Lifelong learning is extremely encouraged in Slovenia.

Older generations and the elderly are an interesting part in this story, as we face rapid demographic changes of developed civil societies. Dealing with technology can be more challenging for the elderly. In its true essence, technology can be quite complicated; however, its applications are becoming increasingly simple and intuitive. It should be noted that the elderly are thought of differently today compared to fifty years ago: an age that was perceived as old in 1967, is today someone in his or her most productive years and in a physically excellent condition.

Solutions for these changes are being explored in skills strategy, intensive public communication on the challenges ahead, and gradual transformation of formal education systems, from learning specific professional skills to now learning functional skills and knowledge.”