REPAIR - Recognising Emerging Practices Anticipating Industry Renewal

Establishing a framework for the recognition of emerging working practices in the railway industry


The world of work is changing constantly: Many of today’s jobs did not exist 20 years ago, while occupations that will be needed in the next decade have yet to be invented. This necessitates that people keep learning new skills and thus raises a series of questions:

  • How can people be trained for jobs that do not exist yet?
  • How do those transformations emerge? What are the signals?
  • How do people at work experience and contribute to or hinder those changes?
  • How can digital technologies contribute to making those changes visible to individuals and organisations for career and development planning?

One particular challenge concerns competency frameworks as well as tools and processes used to create and exploit them: how to keep them up-to date in a world of continuous change? 

Competency frameworks or “competency maps”

A key challenge for maintaining up-to-date competency frameworks are the technologies and processes used. Competency frameworks can be considered “competency maps” describing a professional “territory”. The process and technologies used for establishing these maps have not changed much since the 1950s. It is a top down process that can last months if not years, involving a small number of experts, leading to an abstract representation that is unable to adequately capture variations. 
However, examples exist for establishing maps by collecting (digital) data provided directly by users, harnessing crowd intelligence and performances through feedback loops: road maps such as Google Maps and Open Street Maps.  These maps are created/updated by using the map itself -the digital map is both outcome of a process and enabler of the process.
Being able to visualise, in real time, how competencies are evolving could be a powerful instrument for labour market transparency and would benefit many different groups (students, employees, professionals, managers, human resource managers, etc).

Project content 

The objective of the REPAIR project is to establish a framework and an environment for identifying emerging working practices in the railway industry. The framework shall serve as a means to anticipate changes to those processes and keep key stakeholders informed of those practices. For this, the project aims to translate the lessons learned from mapping land to mapping competencies, answering questions such as: 

  • How can the collective intelligence of people at work be harnessed to create and update such a map in real time? 
  • How can emerging practices be recognised to anticipate the needs for an industry or business sector to evolve? 

Method & project outcome

To achieve its objective, REPAIR uses the “Open Badges” open technical standards  as a means to recognise and visualize current, emerging and expected practices to map professional territories. Using the collective intelligence of the professionals within the communities creates a new generation of framework, built bottom-up and updated in real time. The project consists of mapping & analysing data, designing an open badge system for the railway industry, developing a framework for using the open badge system, and evaluation.
Results are

  •  a conceptual and practical framework supporting communities of practice as co-constructors of occupational/professional practices maps
  • a range of resources supporting the activation of the communities of practice to curate mapping data 
  • a report collecting the outcomes of the data collection, monitoring of pilots and analysis


External Staff
Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Geiger BSc
  • Union Internationale des Chemins De Fer - France (LEAD)
  • Reconnaître-Open Recognition Alliance - France
  • Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias – Spain
  • Institut für Partizipative Sozialforschung - Austria
Co-funded by the ERASMUS + programme of the European Union
09/01/2020 – 08/31/2023
Involved Institutes, Groups and Centers
Carl Ritter von Ghega Institute for Integrated Mobility Research