Challenges and Opportunities for Crafts and Trade in the Knowledge Economy

As robots, automation and artificial intelligence systems perform more tasks and lead to a massive disruption of jobs, what role will skilled crafts and trade play in a shifting knowledge economy?
A majority of European businesses engages in this economic sector that represents nearly a third of national workforces. As a result, it seems necessary to investigate how technological and social advances, that we already face, will affect the economic sector, and how its businesses will shape the future economy. What implication do new macro trends have on people, professions, and jobs in this sector? Can the conjunction of the traditional and the innovative be a critical success factor for the future? How can academia, industry, and government support this transition?

  • Knowledge transfer and (informal) knowledge acquisition through practice
  • The present and future role of tacit knowledge in crafts and trade– limits of technology?
  • Measuring tacit/informal knowledge and competences – consequences for the emergence of future professions
  • Defining characteristics of crafts and trade in a changing environment
  • Alternative taxonomies of professions (organized in SMEs)
  • Methods and technological approaches for strategic planning
  • Internet of things and its consequences for crafts and trade – opportunities for new business models (e.g. co-creative and individualized production/services)
  • Digitalization and its implications on social and economic inequality
  • Exploring business opportunities in the digital era
  • Exploring new markets on individualized production/services, “green economy”, and sustainability
  • Implications of power in the platform economy on business models and market transparency
  • Alternatives to globalized mass production and standardization
  • Reflections on Schumpeter’s creative destruction – emergence of new professions, (service) markets, and entrepreneurs
  • Education and vocational training

In this conference track, we welcome contributions, both conceptual and empirical, from all academic fields that tackle these and related questions.


Track Chair


Florian Kragulj
WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria