Digital transition is a key priorityin the EU which is setting standards and pathways to support a transformation that has accelerated consistently during the pandemic. CECOP is working intensively on the topic, advocating for a just and democratic transition by promoting worker and social cooperatives.
The mutual learning sessions titled ‘How can federations support cooperatives in the digital transitions?’ aimed to delve into the needs, opportunities, and transferability of existing practices among member countries.
The mutual learning was co-hosted in collaboration with CECOP member, Confcooperative Lavoro e Servizi (Italy), who has a wide range of experience on the matter.
During three online sessions, members from 7 different countries, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, and Malta shared challenges and opportunities for cooperatives and workers that must face digital transformation.
While digital transformation touches different levels of the business, from the production chain to the management and governance of the cooperative, and can affect these levels differently, some common trends could be identified by the participants.
The need to nourish a culture of digitalization was underlined, as the benefits of this transformation are not always understood as important or necessary by managers and workers. Awareness should be promoted by the federations, on the advantages that digitalization can bring to the business, like, more attractiveness, competitiveness, facilitation of work, and better service provision.
Another aspect is a need to provide training to workers and managers of cooperatives to support the upskilling and reskilling of workers, an activity crucial for the survival of the business under such transformation. For the federations that cannot provide it by themselves, the main obstacles to this need are building partnerships with institutions that can provide this kind of training and funding.
Four examples from Italy, were presented to members:
- The cooperative Node, a Digital Innovation Hub of Confcooperative, which helps cooperatives in their digital transformation
- Drimlab, a cooperative that designs, develops and tests digital prototypes for practices and services in the metaverse,
- Colser Aurora Domus Group, providing different kind of services to public authorities and private enterprises, such as cleaning services for the healthcare industry, but also smart facility, management, Conciergerie, help desk, and integrated services like smart building management which recently underwent an innovation process to improve it services.
- Netcoop, a network created by Confcooperative Lavoro e Servizi to connect their cooperatives and foster digitalization.
Overall, participants agreed that there is a lot of work to do to support this transformation process and that for many countries we are just at the beginning.
CECOP thanks all the participants for their collaboration and contribution and looks forward to continuing working on the topic.