Solutions for digital working worlds

Foto: Ludmilla Parsyak, © Fraunhofer IAO


TransWork Symposium presents the findings of 29 research projects on the future of work

TransWork, one of the most extensive publicly funded, collaborative initiatives to investigate work in a digitalized world, is looking at how digitalization is transforming jobs across industries. Research teams have now presented the core findings of 29 projects undertaken in this priority funding category.

How do we take advantage of new technological possibilities to make work even more effective, socially tolerable and healthier? What opportunities does digitization present for process and product innovation? The TransWork project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is all about exploring these and many other questions posed by a digitalized working world. Research teams from 29 different projects presented their answers to these questions in demonstrations and example applications showcased in the TransWork Symposium at the Fraunhofer IAO at Stuttgart on July 4, 2018.

Symposium brings together scientists, businesspeople and policymakers

“Science has a duty to not only demonstrate its research findings; it also has to enable businesses and organizations to put them to use. What’s more, the exchange among the diverse actors in science, business and politics is essential if we want to succeed at putting project outcomes into practice," says project manager Bernd Dworschak from Fraunhofer IAO. Developing skills, mastering complexity, managing productivity, shaping and regulating work – these and related topics featured prominently in these showcases.

Initial insights reveal that collective bargaining agreements and company work arrangements are being amended in the wake of the digital transformation sweeping the working world. This has triggered a public debate on labor law’s role. Flexibility in the time, hours and place of work, occupational health and safety, employment effects, social security, data privacy, and job qualifications are key regulatory issues. Workflows and structures are growing more complex, piling an even heavier informational load on workers. Companies are now identifying specific actions that need to be taken to support this transformation.

Experts speak their minds about the digital transformation of work

Documented workshops and live interviews posted on the Internet convey an impression of the diversity of topics and opinions of experts in various industries. Lothar Schröder of ver.di spoke about what work will look like in Germany in 2030; ifaa’s Prof. Sascha Stowasser shared his thoughts about what new technologies could do for jobs and work. Workshops addressed the potential of digital assistance systems, collaboration in the digital world, managers’ roles in workplace digitalization, and the prospects in different sectors for developing the necessary skills.

This discussion will continue on December 4 and 5 at the 2018 Work Research Conference in Stuttgart’s Haus der Wirtschaft. Its highlight is sure to be the Virtual World Tour, a 24-hour trip around the globe to twelve prestigious research institutions on five continents. Experts will offer food for thought, contribute to discussions, and present their research findings on the future of work, all from a local perspective via live streams.

Further information



Arbeitsforschungs­tagung 2018

4. und 5. Dezember 2018 Arbeitsforschungstagung im Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart. Highlight der Tagung ist die »Virtual World Tour«, eine 24-stündige Weltreise zu zwölf renommierten Forschungsinstitutionen auf fünf Kontinenten.