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Incentives and Policies


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Work 4.0 does not only refer to the new technological developments of Industry 4.0, it stands for all the changes taking place in the whole of the working world and their implications for society. Indeed, a silent revolution of the working world is being driven by technology, people and companies: we are currently experiencing a deep cultural shift, with new preferences emerging regarding the way in which work is conceived and organised. In addressing the Work 4.0 topic, the goal of the COTEC EUROPE SUMMIT 2018 is to launch the dialogue on how we want to shape the work in the future, in all its breadth and diversity, in a way which benefits people and companies, moving economies and societies beyond, at the European Union level.



Arrival and registration


Work 4.0 at a Glance


Opening speech | Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy


Understanding Work 4.0 – Setting the Framework


Round Table


Jorge Portugal, General Manager, COTEC Portugal
Jorge Barrero, General Manager, COTEC Spain
Claudio Roveda, General Manager, COTEC Italy


Moderated by: John Gapper, Associate Editor and Chief Business Commentator, Financial Times


A Futurist, a Sociologist and a Humorist in Dialogue on Work 4.0


Arlindo Oliveira, Full Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and President of Instituto Superior Técnico


Manuel Carvalho da Silva, Sociologist, Researcher of the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra and former Secretary-General of the General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP–IN)


Eduardo Madeira, Humorist / Screenwriter


Moderated by: Pedro Pinto, Journalist, TVI


Accelerating Work 4.0 in Organizations – A Challenge for Leaders


José Manuel González-Páramo, Executive Member of the Board, Head of Global Economics, Regulation and Public Affairs, BBVA


Cristiano Camponeschi, Partner, Deloitte Consulting


Pedro Rocha e Melo, Vice President, Brisa Auto-estradas de Portugal, SA


Moderated by: John Gapper


Closing Remarks | Ana Teresa Lehmann, Secretary of State of Industry


Coffee Break


Taking Stock of Work 4.0 Incentives and Policy Options at the EU Level


Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation


Interviewed by: John Gapper


Final Remarks | Francisco de Lacerda, President of COTEC Portugal


Closing Speeches

H.E. the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella
H.M. the King of Spain, Felipe VI
H.E. the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa


Greetings Hall


the Summit


The German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs coined the term ‘Work 4.0’ in the context of the dialogue – that started early in Germany – on how society will work in the future. ‘Work 4.0’ does not only refer to the new technological developments of Industry 4.0, it stands for all the changes taking place in the whole of the working world and their implications for society. Indeed, a silent revolution of the working world is being driven by technology, people and companies: we are currently experiencing a deep cultural shift, with new preferences emerging regarding the way in which work is conceived and organised.


The debate on WORK 4.0 has expanded with other countries and at the European level. It is currently one of the major priorities of European Commission and member states, through the new skills agenda and other policy interventions, as these issues are not only of primary concern to business leaders and political decision makers, but also to the current workforce, youth and families.


In Portugal, Italy and Spain, as in some other countries of the European Union, the opinion concerning the future of work, in the current context of a fast-growing technological environment, is still significantly sceptical and fearful due, mainly, to a lack of appropriate information. For instance, there seem to be a common assumption that automation will bring upon long-term unemployment, when it can actually promote the creation of jobs upstream and downstream of manufacturing, turning skills and capacities such as planning, coordinating, strategy, informing, directing, managing, and many others, increasingly valuable. Furthermore, the media has been exploring such fears, contributing to spreading biased and misconceived ideas on the matter.


In addressing the Work 4.0 topic, the goal of the COTEC EUROPE SUMMIT 2018, by gathering, on 7 February 2018, at the Convento de Mafra, the representatives of Portugal, Italy and Spain, COTEC organisations, their stakeholders and EU institutions is to contribute to the strengthening of an emerging dialogue among a wide range of stakeholders and decision makers – business, Unions and other worker representatives, Policy makers, Government Officers, Academics – on how we want to shape the work of the future, in all its breadth and diversity, in a way which benefits people and companies and advances the economy at the European Union level.


Hopefully the debate will give rise to the spreading of the appropriate awareness and information and enable all stakeholders to take stock of the current priorities and policy agenda of the EU and COTEC countries and suggest solutions for Europe.



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Work 4.0


The German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, headed by social democrat Andrea Nahles, coined the term ‘Work 4.0’ in the context of the dialogue on how society will work in the future, that started early in Germany. Such discussion lead to the Ministry’s Green and White Papers on Work 4.0.


Economic and technical changes are redrawing society. We are now beginning to understand the extent to which the fast rate of technological evolution has already transformed our reality at many different levels. The widespread use of the Internet, digitalisation and automation is fuelling innovation, surprising us with new products and services, and disrupting business models.


Work is part of this transformation.


‘Work 4.0’ does not only mean the new technological developments of Industry 4.0. These technological developments are just one important factor revolutionizing the new work era. ‘Work 4.0’ refers to the work of the future, in all its breadth and depth, encompassing all the forces driving it, its trends, challenges and opportunities.


Along the fast evolution of technology, a silent revolution is being led by people and companies that is materializing in a fundamental and sweeping cultural shift, with new preferences and values emerging in relation to the way in which work is viewed and organised.


As a result of these new forces, new jobs are appearing while others are becoming obsolete; atypical work patterns are replacing full-time work and open-ended contracts; work is increasingly being carried out on online platforms connecting various stakeholders, or by project-teams across borders and time zones; intelligent machines are progressively replacing the human workforce for routine tasks; new types of professional and personal skills are required to respond to technological progress, etc.


Several and sometimes contradictory interests are at play. In order to strike the best balance among those interests and adequately cater for the new, constantly evolving, reality of the world of work in a way that benefits both people and companies and advances the economy, people, companies and policy makers need to gather and, together, start the dialogue on Work 4.0.

12 Primary Forces

In its study of March 2017, the Boston Consulting Group identified 12 PRIMARY FORCES, propelling the Work 4.0 ecosystem:


Technological and Digital Productivity


  • Automation: Industry 4.0; artificial intelligence, machine learning, and wearables; digital channels; augmented reality; and robotics
  •  Big Data and Advanced Analytics: Predictive technology, integrated tools to optimize performance, social media insights, behavioural sensors, and big data
  • Access to Information and Ideas: Cloud-based technology and the “Internet of everything,” open-source software and processes, open innovation and peer-to-peer technology, decreasing degrees of separation, and new capital and infrastructure platforms


Shifts in Ways of Generating Business Value


  • Simplicity in Complexity: The value of simplicity, lean methodologies, the evolution from silos to more holistic organizations, specialization, and organizational complicatedness
  • Agility and Innovation: An accelerating pace of change, increasing uncertainty and black-swan events, exponential organizations, agile development, and digital stakes and subsidiaries
  • New Customer Strategies: Personalization and premium products and services, the sharing economy, data security, ethics, and the environment
  • Shifts in Resource Distribution
  • A New Demographic Mix: The “demographic dividend,” talent scarcity, aging populations, multiple generations in the workforce, and talent imbalances
  • Skill Imbalances:New skills, waning skill life, formal curricula and development, digital late-comers, and skills education and reach
  • Shifting Geopolitical and Economic Power: Disparity in wages and economic growth rates, multiple centers of power, urbanization and resource depletion, migration, and the rise of the middle class in developing countries


Changing Workforce Cultures and Values


  • Diversity and Inclusion: Multiculturalism, racial and ethnic diversity, gender equality, value pluralism, and equitable economic development
  • Individualism and Entrepreneurship: Freelance work versus employee loyalty, risk taking and entrepreneurism, multidisciplinary pursuits, talent renting and freelancing, and individualized aspirations
  • Well-Being and Purpose: Desire for personal, social, and communal impact; reflection and purpose; self-expression; appreciation and respect; and physical and mental health and balance”.


These 12 forces are complex and interrelated.

To cope with them, people and companies need to adapt to the disruption in time.

Four dominant dynamics of work 4.0 models

In its 2017 study entitled ‘New Skills Now’, Accenture identified four dominant DYNAMICS OF WORK 4.0 MODELS:


Digital and human


Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are transforming the nature of work and the skills needed to thrive. Humans and machines will increasingly work together to drive productivity.


Cooperative and collaborative


New digital technologies are changing how people work together. Tools such as interactive portals and social networking are common features of work, and their use is set to increase. In the digital economy, people will need to cooperate and collaborate with both colleagues and technologies.


Knowledge and task-based


Work will increasingly be broken into tasks that utilize an individual’s unique skills and knowledge areas. The future workforce will be structured more by project than by job function.


Flexible and fluid


Work used to be a place to go to. Now it is a place to which we connect. Technology is uncoupling work from finite hours and locations.


Source: Accenture, New Skills Now – Inclusion in the digital economy, 2017

Challenges and opportunities for people and companies

Today, more than ever, while companies need bold leadership to break with old habits and embrace flexibility and agility, people need to become entrepreneurial thinkers and adopt a growth mindset.


To successfully adapt to the new working reality, people need, for example, to:


  • Keep learning throughout their careers to face the fast-evolving job market, anticipating skills needs, seeking the constant up-skilling of their specific competences, to learn new skills and to become digitally-savvy workers.
  • Develop uniquely human abilities such as curiosity, creativity, resilience, and collaborating, anticipating the skills that will be most valued and needed in a highly automated world.
  • Embrace autonomy in an empowering manner and develop a greater sense of collaboration, responsibility and proactivity.
  • Build and expanding their own supporting network and portfolio career throughout their professional path.


To become winners of this new working context, companies need, for instance, to:


  • Think ahead, anticipate new needs and trends and plan accordingly, not being afraid of testing innovative ways forward
  • Foster organization flexibility regarding schedule, location and working remotely, smoothing the path towards an autonomous work culture that rewards people by results rather than hours spent at the office.
  • Be open about the concept of employment relationships and embrace more flexible arrangements such as freelancing and part-time contracts and facilitate the transition from one type of arrangement to another and back.
  • Undertake more project-based work and run these projects in a more malleable way, with fewer fixed rules and more tolerance for risk taking, viewing the collaboration as a multi-stakeholder partnership rather than a hierarchical relation. Build networks, not hierarchies, enabling the shift from a “top-down” to “side-by-side” organizational structure.
  • Optimize workers’ knowledge and skills by valuing constant learning and providing ongoing learning opportunities inside and outside the company’s structure. It is better to train workers and have them leave than not to train have them stay.
  • Embrace agility in strategic and financial planning to accommodate the flexibility demanded by work 4.0.


Adopt organizational goals that go beyond profitability to include subjective aspects such as social and environmental corporate responsibility, the development of a culture of well-being and the definition of a clear vision of the organisation’s shared purpose that inspires greater commitment from employees and provides an important emotional connection to the organisation’s project from the 4.0 workforce.

Challenges for policy makers at the EU level

The former German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, leaded by Andrea Nahles, coined the term “Work 4.0” in the context of the dialogue – that started early in Germany, in the ambit of the German Federal Government’s Digital Agenda 2014-2017 – on how society will work in the future.


Since then, the debate on Work 4.0, has expanded with other countries and at the European level.


It is currently one of the major priorities of the European Commission and the Member States, who are acting notably through the New Skills Agenda for Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights and other policy interventions and related initiatives.


The New Skills Agenda for Europe, adopted by the European Commission on 10 June 2016, is number one in the list of major initiatives in the Commission Work Programme 2016 and launched 10 actions to make the right training, skills and support available to people in the EU – one of those actions is the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition action, introduced on 1st December 2016.


The European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed by EU leaders at the Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 17 November 2017, sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems.. As part of its follow-up, the European Commission has adopted several initiatives:


For instance, on 21 December 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new Directive for more transparent and predictable working conditions across the EU, establishing, e.g., minimum standards to ensure that all workers, including those on atypical contracts, benefit from more predictability and clarity as regards their working conditions.


Also, on 17 January 2018, the European Commission adopted new initiatives to improve key competences and digital skills of European citizens, such as a Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning and a Digital Education Action Plan.


The issues arising from Work 4.0 are not only of primary concern to business leaders and political decision makers, but also to the current workforce, youth, aging workers, and families. A dialogue on the future of work among all stakeholders at the European level is crucial in view of crafting well-adjusted policies, with people and companies and their needs at their heart.


Public policies must pave the way and accompany change in a way that facilitates adaptation to the challenges and opportunities of work 4.0.


We have to adapt and we also have to take our own responsibility but it is up to the politicians, to those who have political responsibility to create an environment to make that possible” Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility


Active labour market policies will seek to address potential difficulties while adapting to new realities. For example, they could ease the transition from employment to freelancing and back, seek ways to provide more security to gig economy workers, make greater efforts to enable the provision of customised skills and trainings that maximise employment potential.


The big challenge for policy makers will be to strike the right balance between several, sometimes contradictory, interests:


Flexibility, security, health, productivity, education, work, profitability, innovation, planning, investment, safety, social protection, agility, skills, automation, good jobs, market shifts, family, well-being, work-life balance, part-time work, freelancing, autonomy, responsibility, hierarchical structures, collaborative models, change, stability, earning, learning, aging population, opportunities for all, purpose, motivation, talent retention, volatility, baby boomers, generation X, millennials, expectations, fulfilment, meaning


Shaping the world of work in a way which benefits both people and companies, and moves society further, requires positive, inclusive and appropriate incentives and policies.

Toolbox 4.0

Here we share some research in progress, from COTEC Portugal, COTEC Spain and COTEC Italy. Final reports will be shared soon but for now, you can have a first read of the working papers.

Transformation of Work Model

Hypothesis for a new modernity.

Videos Work 4.0

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COTEC Portugal is a leading Think and Action network for advancing technology diffusion and business Innovation cooperation. COTEC Portugal business network encompasses Multinationals companies, major national groups and SMEs, operating in most sectors of activity, and whose gross added value represents more than 16% of national GDP and 8% of private employment. COTEC Portugal’s main activities include anticipating and discussing issues on innovation trends with impact on business competitiveness, advancing business networks and partnerships and, contributing to public policy on innovation issues. COTEC Portugal earned from its foundation in 2003 the support of the President of the Republic, who currently holds the status of Honorary President. More recently, COTEC has been awarded the status of entity of public interest.


The mission of COTEC Europe forum is to strengthen European business competitiveness by serving as a permanent platform where business leaders, policy makers, academics and other stakeholders are engaged to identify, discuss and propose opportunities for policy intervention at EU level that reflect the need of advancing business capabilities and practice of innovation.


With the patronage of the Head of State of the three COTEC Countries, the COTEC EUROPE agenda is the result of an ongoing process of cooperation and collective thinking, aiming to share experiences and good practices, pursue solutions for common problems, provide key recommendations for strengthening and increasing the coherence and impact of the EU’s innovation instruments as well as providing contributions to building blocks for new strategic thinking for Europe’s path of competitiveness, growth, inclusiveness and prosperity.


For more information about COTEC Italy, please visit


For more information about COTEC Spain, please visit


For more information about COTEC Portugal, please visit




February 7, 2018


Convento de Mafra, Terreiro D. João V, 2640 Mafra


Maria João Rodrigues

How to get there

From Lisbon (25 min) or Porto (2h45min)  –  A8 (Lisboa/Leiria ou Leiria/Lisboa), exit in A21 (Malveira/Mafra/Ericeira)
From Cascais (40 min) and Sintra (30 min) – A16, exit in N9 in direction of Pêro Pinheiro/Mafra
From Ericeira (10 m) – A21

GPS Coordinates

38º56’12” N
9º19’34” O


Amelia Klenkke

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Michael Nehring

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