Advances in technology have brought with them incredible improvements in the standard of living of millions, but the reality is that some of the most innovative places in the world, like Silicon Valley, are also some of the most unequal. Inclusive innovation policies can help to mitigate this risk. While they’re not yet the norm, two recent examples around worker inclusion stand out.
In North Carolina, a training course created a pathway for displaced manufacturing workers to join the state’s world-renowned biotechnology sector. Its success sparked the creation of a robust talent pipeline that remains attractive for bio-manufacturing firms. In Finland, Nokia’s Bridge Program shows how a company can support its laid off workers as it makes difficult strategic decisions. Nokia helped 70% of its 5,000 participants find their next step in employment, entrepreneurship, or education.
These examples show the potentially transformative effects of thoughtful innovation policy. It has the power to benefit entire communities and regions, even beyond those who initially seem to be most at risk from the disruption brought about by new technology.
One door closed is another open
In the late 2000s, after years of dominance in the mobile phone world, Nokia faced unexpected and fierce competition from Apple and Android smartphones. By 2011, Nokia announced it would leave the space, focus on its other business ventures and lay off over 18,000 people globally.