Handbook of Digital Innovation
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Handbook of Digital Innovation

Edited by Satish Nambisan, Kalle Lyytinen and Youngjin Yoo

Digital innovations influence every aspect of life in an increasingly digitalized world. Firms pursuing digital innovations must consider how digital technologies shape the nature, process and outcomes of innovation as well as long- and short-term social, economic and cultural consequences of their offerings. This Handbook contributes to a transdisciplinary understanding of digital innovation with a diverse set of leading scholars and their distinct perspectives. The ideas and principles advanced herein set the agenda for future transdisciplinary research on digital innovation in ways that inform not only firm-level strategies and practices but also policy decisions and science-focused investments.
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Chapter 12: Prolegomena on digital innovation and jobs

John Leslie King and Jonathan Grudin


Measurements of change in employment and/or job quality are problematic. This chapter uses logic, historical and contemporary analysis to forecast little change in net job availability or quality due to digital innovation. Over the long run, digital innovation is more likely to be correlated with net job increase. Forecasts to the contrary interfere with prudent planning and needlessly raise anxiety. Economic, social, and environmental change can, in combination with digital innovation, affect job numbers. By itself digital innovation is unlikely to disequilibrate labor markets. There is similarly no evidence that digital innovation systematically lowers job quality. Thus far digital innovation has taken humans out of dangerous or unpleasant jobs. One can argue that digital innovation has improved job quality. Planning should be devoted to disequilibrium caused by multiple factors including digital innovation. For example, a pandemic below a tipping point of social unrest might push over to social unrest if labor markets are temporarily disrupted by digital innovation.

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