National Digital Conference
Yesterday I went to ND15 in London to listen to some of the UK’s most influential speakers discuss how to lead a digital nation. The event is free to attend and attracts a cross-section of delegates from public, private and third sector organisations. Chaired by Mark Thompson, keynotes included Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, co-founder of Lastminute.com and Helen Milner, CEO of Tinder Foundation.
The conferences have been held annually for the past ten years – and despite the ability of technology to enable and empower, the issues remain: digital exclusion for many people; not enough women in the sector; lack of skills. Not surprisingly then the main themes of the day were around how government will equip people to shape and deliver digital public services, transform businesses, and support all citizens who need help to gain the skills needed to participate in and contribute to the UK’s digital economy.
No surprises with the content – as a nation we are missing opportunity and losing money with a lack of big ambition for a real digital revolution. We need some honesty around what is stopping us make the changes we know are needed – culture change is at the top of the list. If we continue to invest only at the rate we are currently there will still be a massive divide in 2020 – an estimated 6.3 million people without digital skills. We need a plan, a deadline and more investment.
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