The Policy Lab of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs - Civic Innovation Platform

The Policy Lab of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

The Work 4.0 Dialogue Process has shown that the digital transformation requires networks and collaborations that do not currently exist. This is where the Policy Lab comes into play. To the website of the Policy Lab

What we do

The digital transformation is having profound effects on society, business and culture. As an important area of people’s lives, the labour market in all its facets is also being impacted by these changes. Production cycles, value added chains and business models are changing and this is having a corresponding effect on the organisation of labour and the work culture in companies. New types of employment are being created. The use of innovative technology in companies requires other skills and qualifications and will thus also change the professions themselves. The OECD forecasts that between 50 and 70 percent of tasks will be reorganised in more than one third of all professions. And this is set to happen within a period of ten to fifteen years.

People’s expectations about their work have also changed. Many people want to work in a more flexible manner – independent of a fixed workplace or strict working hours. They desire a healthy balance between their professional and private lives, without having to forgo a successful career. At the same time, flexible working models also pose new challenges: Work and collaboration need to be organised differently and it requires the development of personnel skills so that professional and private lives do not become blurred into one and place a burden on health and family life.

Shaping a rapidly changing labour market requires the involvement of many players from the areas of society, business, political science and administration and not least citizens themselves. The Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society aims to help shape the social dialogue about the digital transformation of the labour market.

Where we come from

The Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society as the Federal Ministry’s very own Experimentierraum arose from the Work 4.0 Dialogue Process held by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Up to the end of 2016, experts and the general public were both asked to re-imagine the concept of work and develop recommendations for the design of a digital world of work. The explicit aim of the dialogue process was to discuss the social conditions and ground rules necessary for good working practices in a digital labour market. The main focus was always placed on the question of how technological progress can also be turned into social progress.

Taking the decisive step together now.

With the Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs established a new, interdisciplinary and agile organisational unit that combines the functions and working practices of a traditional think tank and those of a modern future lab. The Policy Lab began its journey in October, 2018. The aim is to identify new areas of activity that, for the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, have emerged due to digitalisation and other trends at an early stage, consider the labour market to a greater extent in a social context and develop new solutions for the labour market of the future.

The Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society will combine projects and processes dealing with the digital transformation at the BMAS and use them to create a bigger picture of the labour market of the future. It will thus provide a central supporting function for academia, those people involved at a practical level and social partners. The Policy Lab will follow an approach where digitalisation is considered in a consistent and systematic manner based on its impact on people and their social and civic relationships. Especially against the background of a constantly changing digital economy, this approach will be based on the firm conviction that employment relationships can be oriented to the needs of employees and the requirements of good working practices.

Using scientific methods for the development of strategic forecasts, the Policy Lab will observe technological, economic and social trends. What significance will they have for the future of the labour market? What lines of development are possible? What is the current state of international research and how can we benefit from the experienced gained by other countries? Where is there a need for research and what partners from academia and those involved at a practical level can help us to identify where there is a need for knowledge and fill any gaps in the research? The Policy Lab will define any immediate and long-term requirement for government policies on this basis. It will develop specific policy tasks for the BMAS and thus make a significant contribution to the digitalisation strategy of the German government.

We are not thinking alone

An intensive exchange with the scientific community, but also with companies, associations, institutions, civil society and the public is essential for the development of realistic future scenarios. To this end, we are in regular contact with stakeholders and the tech community in various formats.