About three years ago, MIT launched the Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE), a major effort focused on the broad changes brought about by the relentless advances of digital technologies. As its website explains:
“While digital technologies are rapidly transforming both business practices and societies and are integral to the innovation-driven economies of the future, they are also the core driver of the great economic paradox of our time. On one hand, productivity, wealth, and profits are each at record highs; on the other hand, the median worker in America is poorer than in 1997, and fewer people have jobs. Rapid advances in technology are creating unprecedented benefits and efficiencies, but there is no economic law that says everyone, or even a majority of people, will share in these gains.
The future of work and jobs is one of the major areas being addressed by IDE. What will the workforce of the future look like?; Where will jobs come from in the coming years?; Will the nature of work be significantly different in the digital economy?; How can we accelerate the transformation of institutions, organizations, and human skills to keep up with the quickening pace of digital innovation?
To help come up with breakthrough answers to these very challenging questions, IDE just launched its first annual Inclusive Innovation Competition. The competition aims to identify, celebrate and award prizes to “organizations that are inventing a more sustainable, productive, and inclusive future for all by focusing on improving economic opportunity for middle- and base-level income earners.”