Ten years ago, the world ushered in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The global Covid-19 pandemic helped turbocharge it and now Europe’s post-pandemic recovery program has put innovation and digital transformation at the heart of our economic future.
In Greece, that transformation remains a work in progress. Although the country has made remarkable strides in becoming a regional hub for innovation, many Greek businesses remain behind the curve in adopting next-generation technologies.
In Greece, that transformation remains a work in progress. On the one hand, the country has made remarkable strides in becoming a regional hub for innovation, mostly through foreign investment. On the other hand, many businesses operating in Greece remain behind the curve in adopting next generation technologies.
How can Greece do better?
Digital transformation means harnessing new technology to innovate the way a business operates from the ground up. And that means using everything from Big Data to robotics, AI, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and machine learning, to fundamentally restructure business models.
Leading Greek companies are investing in innovation, but in sectors where smaller companies dominate digital transformation is lagging. And one of the constraints that Greek companies, large and small, face is the dearth of skilled talent: Eurostat data shows Greece has the lowest ratio of ICT workers in Europe.
So far, the Greek government has done an admirable job of jumpstarting Greece’s innovation ecosystem. In the last few years, Greece has witnessed a revolution in everything from startups to data centers, from 5G networks to online government services. Just in the past few weeks, Greece hosted Europe’s leading business conference for angel investors and welcomed yet another tech giant, Hewlett Packard, to its shores with plans for a new R&D hub.
The government’s recovery and resilience plan – Greece 2.0, which will be two years old this month – focusses on innovation. Almost a quarter of the total 30.5 billion-euro plan is set aside for digital transformation. Most of that, more than €2.5 billion, is earmarked for the digital transformation of the public sector, skills training, and digital investment in the education and health systems. Another €375 million will support the digitalization of businesses.
There’s no question that Greece’s efforts to promote innovation through skills, programs and infrastructure have increased the digital gravity of the country, positioning it well as a regional tech hub of the future. But as the latest European Investment Bank report on the digitalization in Europe notes, the transition is more than just adopting new technology: “The digital transformation is a societal change.”
That is why the upcoming 6th InvestGR Forum will bring together business leaders and policy makers to discuss the role of innovation and digital investment in the economic future of the country. And to take that discussion to the next level. Because Greece is ready to open a new chapter, both as an innovation hub with global reach and in the transformation of its economy.