One of the predecessors of the ‘Leadership Skills for the High-Tech Economy Agenda for Europe’ recently adopted by the European Commission is the European Commission e-Leadership Initiative. It started in 2013 (see and was continued in 2014 by also addressing SME and start-ups ( and ended in late 2015. The European Commission is continuing these activities under the name of ‘leadership skills for the high-tech economy’ run by empirica together with PwC, IDC and Carl Frey and Thor Berger from the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University. This activity is currently developing a European long-term agenda on ‘Leadership skills for a high-tech economy’.

e-Leadership in the Context of EU e-Skills

In 2004, the European e-skills Forum adopted the following definition for e-skills (EC, 2004):

  1. ICT user skills: the capabilities required for the effective application of ICT systems and devices by the individual. ICT users apply systems as tools in support of their own User skills cover the use of common software tools and of specialized tools supporting business functions within industry.
  2. ICT practitioner skills: the capabilities required for researching, developing, designing, strategic planning, managing, producing, consulting, marketing, selling, integrating, installing, administering, maintaining, supporting and servicing ICT systems.
  3. e-Leadership skills (also referred to as e-business): the capabilities needed to exploit opportunities provided by ICT, notably the Internet; to ensure more efficient and effective performance of different types of organizations; to explore possibilities for new ways of conducting business/administrative and organizational processes; and/or to establish new businesses.

e-Leadership in the Context of Digital Transformation

e-Leadership is a key ingredient to foster competitiveness and innovation potential by using new digital technologies for innovation and transformation, managed in a relevant organizational context and embedded in the business strategy.

e-Leadership skills are the skills required of an individual to initiate and achieve digital innovation & transformation:

  1. Strategic Leadership: New type of soft skills, lead inter‐disciplinary staff, and influence stakeholders across boundaries (functional, geographic)
  2. Business Savvy: Innovate business and operating models, delivering value to organizations
  3. Digital Savvy: Envision and drive change for business performance, exploiting digital technology trends as innovation opportunities.

e-Leadership vs. Leadership

Leadership is the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human resources.

e-Leadership is the accomplishment of a goal that relies on ICT through the direction of human resources and smart use of business resources.

EU e-Leadership Index

The e-Leadership Index combines the different dimensions of the e-leadership scoreboard in order to monitor and benchmark EU Member States. It amalgamates indicators on the business and policy climate, infrastructure and related outcomes on e-leadership. It is intended to help fill the need for metrics and practices that can measure and understand e-leadership. Individual countries can use the index to monitor performance over time or benchmark domestic developments against other countries, identify role models and learn about how different policies may affect e-leadership practice.

The e-Leadership index correlates closely with GDP dana as well as with technology related indicators such as the Networked Readiness Index (of the World Economic Forum), but the deviations of technology and GDP trends lines indicate which countries perform “better” or “worse” than indicated by economic and technology maturity. Especially Ireland, but also Belgium and the UK appear to positively deviate from the “trend” of higher e-leadership maturity being associated with both higher economic power and higher digital maturity, and exhibit higher than expected e-leadership.