This blog post first appeared as the editorial piece in issue 50 of our tech-i magazine.
To guarantee the future growth of public service media, and prevent the global media companies from using their market power to absorb the limited talent available, we need more than ever to invest in our future. This is about the skilled people whose presence in our organizations is a prerequisite for mobilizing and sustaining innovation.
We need to redouble our efforts to create growth. The defensive stance that is the more typical response to a critical period cannot be what drives our efforts. It is only by offering a growth perspective to the youngest generations that we can gain their belief in what we do and, later, the energy injection that is necessary to take us to a stimulating and sustainable future.
We are today engaged in a war for talent; winning that war requires a renewed effort to educate a new generation of young media scientists, engineers, technologists and creators. This generation of digital natives is no longer confined to working in one domain, which in the past would have dictated their academic path. Their common humanist background is founded upon an inherent understanding of the importance of trust, rigour, and excellence, of having an open and curious mind, and the ability to engage in deep analysis.
To build our future and guarantee a continuous and increasing flow of energy, we now require new talent, ideas and initiatives at the edge of innovation. To start with we must target deeper collaboration between EBU Members, our T&I team and leading European universities interested in media innovation and related educational activities, as well as other private institutions interested in joining such an initiative.
More concretely, the idea is to actively foster the creation of new curricula in media innovation, whether as graduate courses or vocational training. In addition to cutting-edge technical training, such courses must stimulate the creativity of younger generations, with additional focus on media literacy to develop fundamental skills in producing and managing media content. As we evolve towards ever more immersive experiences, including the prospect of participating in a virtualized ‘metaverse’, citizens must be empowered with knowledge that gives them mastery over the media they consume, instead of being dominated by it.
The idea of combining the development of creative and technological skills does not necessarily mean that everyone should be able to shine at the same time in technology and artistic creativity. Rather it is about promoting a positive dialogue across the full spectrum of human skills. (I say this as an engineer with a creative spirit: I studied piano for many years without taking the path towards being a professional pianist. This creative endeavour gives me an additional pleasure and insight when listening to any music but also a wider vocabulary when it comes to exchanges with colleagues in the creative sector.)
It has become more important than ever to provide the knowledge and ability to any university student, and in fact any citizen, to use tools that underpin our new ways of working, accelerated by the COVID crisis, as well as to interact in this rapidly changing media world. This imperative will strongly influence how media R&D&I will be structured. We need to proactively help setting the reference strategies and related technologies that will get us there.
This new ability to attract, reach, communicate and debate represents an additional growth opportunity for society, limiting disinformation, improving citizens’ education, and giving voice to a larger share of the population. We must take steps now to ensure that our youngest generations will not only help define their own future but also be actively involved in the democratic evolution of society.
In the end, this is a joyful and invigorating challenge: extracting and guiding the energy of new generations to rejuvenate our world and reinvent our future!
P.S. I hope you enjoy the 50th issue of tech-i. Since 2009 it has chronicled a period of profound change in our industry (see pages 10–11). Let’s see what we will achieve together in the next ten years, pushing forward our digital transformation!