Finding the next digital transformation champions

We believe that innovation - the creation and adoption of new ideas - is the key to human progress, prosperity and happiness. Digital innovation, in particular, has not only produced a vast range of new digital products and services which can improve productivity for all, but has also enabled the emergence of radically new business models, which in turn are transforming virtually every industry. From data analytics to AI, automation, blockchain and the internet of things, digital innovation is creating profound change.

This digital transformation has dramatic potential to increase our wealth, well-being and quality of life but along the way it is also creating novel social, ethical and economic challenges, such as new monopolies and centralised power; greater opportunities for surveillance and control; rapid job changes; and potentially deeper social divisions.

Solutions to these problems may call for regulation to break monopolies and ensure privacy. They may require education and retraining, to ensure digital accessibility and employment. They might benefit from community-based mechanisms, such as ‘data commons’ or open standards, to encourage decentralised power and a diversity of technologies. They may demand philosophical and creative thinking to ensure ethical AI and to find alternatives to the advertising-based business models which have come to dominate much of the web.

However, this does not mean that there is no role for the private sector. The fact is that businesses invest vastly more in innovation than the public sector can ever afford, whilst it is markets that advance the affordability and adoption of new technology. Digital transformation simply will not happen without innovative enterprises driving the ‘creative destruction’ of established industries.

For that reason, the FT, in partnership with Google and Nesta, is looking for European (EU, Swiss, and Nordic) companies and individuals making exceptional use of digital technology to drive growth, enhance productivity and create high quality jobs. The aim is to create a list of the 100 European leaders of digital transformation.

We are asking for members of the public to apply or nominate people and organisations, big or small, deserving of inclusion in the list. We are happy to receive self-nominations. The final list of 100, to be decided by a jury panel, will be published in an FT magazine, Europe's Road to Growth, in autumn 2018. Nominations will close on July 5, 2018.

In order to be considered companies, non-profit organisations or individuals should have done one of the following:

  1. Created a large number of high-quality/digital jobs
  2. Provided exceptional technology skills training, particularly promoting job readiness and opportunities for disadvantaged groups
  3. Used technology to radically change a traditional business
  4. Used technology to expand to new markets
  5. Created a technology that enables economic growth for other companies or individuals.

We will also consider examples which fall outside of these categories. The key considerations will be job creation, economic growth or a measurable positive impact on a community.

Please use this form to nominate digital transformation champions for consideration.

Photos by Octavian Rosca and rawpixel on Unsplash


Christopher Haley

Christopher Haley

Christopher Haley

Head of New Technology & Startup Research

Chris led Nesta's research interests into how startups and new technologies can drive economic growth, and what this means for businesses, intermediaries and for the government.

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