The Changing Nature of Work: 30 signals to consider for a sustainable future

30 signals to consider for a sustainable future

July 28, 2021

The Changing Nature of Work: 30 signals to consider for a sustainable future

SIGNAL 13. Value creation through the digital economy



The global economy is transforming rapidly due to digitalization. Accenture estimates that 70 percent of new value created over the next decade (>$100 trillion) will be based on digitally enabled platform business models.

Digital markets benefit from network effects and economies of scale. Businesses interact with users through many different types of online or web-based interfaces, often called ‘platforms’. The platform economy is built on business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) business models. Digital platforms are the drivers of some of the world’s most successful companies and can be aggregators of both supply and demand. They are characterized by a near-zero marginal cost of access, reproduction and distribution. The platform economy’s impact will be profound.

The digital economy creates value at stake (e.g. value addition from new products/services, value migration from shifting profit pools) and digital value to society (e.g. lives saved, lower carbon emissions, longer life expectancy, time savings, cost savings on consumption, net job creation, median income growth, lower income disparity). The digital economy brings new value, but also creates risks of further exacerbating exclusion, an unequal concentration of power and wealth, and social instability. Nearly 47 percent of the world’s population are not connected to the Internet. The digital divide lies in gaps in physical access to the Internet and other technologies, as well in digital technology skills and use. Companies must adopt digital business models in order to survive and compete. It is important that this transition occurs while addressing societal challenges.

Check out the next signal, #14: The gig economy.




The Changing Nature of Work: 30 signals to consider for a sustainable future

Work helps sustain livelihoods and largely determines the quality of life. Its changing nature is at the frontier of development. This report is the result of a broad horizon scanning by six UNDP Accelerator Labs across Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.  They reveal 30 signals that shape the “where, who, how, and why” of the changing nature of work. From the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce to new work models and entrepreneurial ecosystems, the authors explore opportunities and threats, as well as solutions from local contexts that can be scaled up into positive answers to the challenges people around the world are facing.  Download the full report here