A polycentric network forming digital competencies for the future: Construction of a competency model through engaged scholarship informed by social system theory and design thinking

Margit Neisig, Uffe Kjærgaard Hansen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The chapter is based on the Social Foundation project: ‘Digital Pathways to Growth: Competency’ conducted in the region of Zealand in Denmark. The process of creating a multifunctional semantic – a competency model – is unfolded. Informed by social system theory the semantic required to enable dialogue in a polycentric network is analysed. The participants are various small and medium-sized enterprises, across many occupations and tasks, different types of educational and training organisations as well as process consultants from various knowledge institutions, labour unions and industrial interest organisations. The model is designed through a participatory process to help this polycentric network of organisations to build competencies for the digitalisation ahead.We argue that design thinking and engaged scholarship in the construc-tion of a multifunctional semantics – such as the competency model – is useful both as a practical method and as a semantic research strategy in-formed by social system theory. The role played by design thinking when developing the competency model as a multifunctional semantic is con-cluded and the future research outlined.The research generates knowledge of practical value for networked collaboration in educational ‘ecologies’ as the need increases for stronger links between education, business and research, as well as the involvement of social partners and civil society to increase Europe’s innovation capac-ity as advised by both the OECD and the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman & Technological Resource Management (HTRM) : New Insights into Revolution 4.0
EditorsPayal Kumar, Anirudh Agrawal , Pawan Budhwar
Number of pages18
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9781838672249
ISBN (Electronic)9781838672256
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Competency model
  • Design thinking
  • Digital transformation
  • Polycentric networks
  • Shared semantic reservoir
  • Structurally coupled systems

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