As traditional at the start of the new year, many are taking the opportunity to propose some predictions for how 2017 might unfold. The independent innovation charity Nesta has boldly published ten predictions for trends, social movements and technological breakthroughs that it believes will dominate the year ahead. The Nesta predictions are fascinating as they range from the purely technical such as blockchain (which will grow) and the internet (which will fragment), to much broader social movements and transformations such as social engagement – between people, and institutions – and also diverse creative practices. What cuts across all of these, and is indeed a prediction in its own right, is the need for individuals at all stages in their lives and careers to acquire the new skills necessary to enable all of this to materialise.
The EU-funded EDISON project
The EU-funded EDISON project has been looking into the data-related skills and competences individuals need in this new era, and how best to address the growing demand from organisations for individuals at all levels to be suitably equipped to thrive in the digitised economy. The challenge is that both work and the research environment are transforming into interdisciplinary environments, so data-related skillsets have to be harmonised in order to foster collaboration. The EDISON project has collected these skills and competences under the umbrella of Data Science partly as a term for the experts who will acquire a broad range of Data Science specialisms, but also to recognise the needs of the many who will focus their careers on traditional roles, as well as those embracing new, as yet undefined, roles, all of which will require varying degrees of specialism in data-related skills.