DIA keeping digital inclusion on the government agenda

The digital inclusion team at the Department of Internal Affairs is making sure that digital inclusion stays firmly on the government agenda.  Recent posts on the NZ Digital Government blog by Kirk Mariner and Anna Prendergrast report on progress being made in developing a Digital Inclusion Blueprint.  Kirk’s post “Empowering *everyone* through digital” puts a personal and human perspective on what it means to be part of the digital world, and underlines why going digital is now an imperative.  “Opting out is increasingly difficult, ” he says.  Anna is helping to frame the Digital Inclusion Blueprint that will hopefully provide a roadmap for creating digitally included communities, a roadmap that we can all buy into and contribute to, whether as government, as businesses, as philanthropists or communities.  She suggests a draft digital inclusion vision “that everyone in New Zealand has what they need to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the digital world.”  This is certainly not a bad vision but the phrase‘has what they need to’  weakens the vision and tends to shift the discussion away from a clear outcome to one about ‘needs’.  So my suggestion is to recast this as: “that everyone in New Zealand can participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the digital world.”  Let’s keep our focus on the outcome we want and not get diverted into a never-ending debate about needs.  Anna has adopted the four dimensions of digital inclusion suggested in “Digital New Zealanders: The Pulse of our Nation” – Access, Skills, Trust and Motivation.  This framework builds on approaches in other countries, especially the UK.  So well down, Anna, for not re-inventing the wheel.  Just one tiny suggestion – let’s put motivation at the front – this then provides a context for people to journey down the inclusion path – to seek affordable access, gain essential digital skills and develop the confidence and trust in the digital world.