What is competence?
Competence – a multifaceted term that we shall we taking a closer look at in this issue. Digital competence, media competence, environmental competence, scientific competence, architectural competence …
The list could be continued “ad infinitum”. All of these examples refer to a particular skill or ability on a technical level, however. Yet there are other levels as well: the social and the emotional. Which makes the term even more complex – and even harder to “get a handle on”. Look it up in the dictionary, and (apart from very specialised uses of the term in the fields of e.g. microbiology and medicine) you'll find definitions like “physically and intellectually well qualified”, “an ingrained level of expertise”, “mastery of a skill”, “capability”, or “authority; legal power or capacity”.
In turn, each of these definitions is also capable of being interpreted in various different ways. This is what the weld+vision team found when we started work on this issue, in which we asked four prominent representatives of the fields of industry, business, art, research and education what they understand by “competence”.
Read their answers in this edition. We can tell you this much in advance: From what all our interviewees said, it was apparent that competence is more than just an ability or capacity pure and simple, but rather a bundle of qualifications. Only when all these occur together can we speak of “competence” as we understand it.