On Tuesday 23rd September I attended the Digital Development Forum in Wellington and participated in discussions to find ways to bring co-operation and collaboartion. The DDF is an initiative supported by the Government to replace the now defunct ICT-New Zealand. While most of us wonder how it will work and what it will achieve, if it achieves its aim to bring umberlla support to the IT Industry, I’m all for it. For years I’ve been encouraging those in the industry to work with others, rather than protect their own patch. I’ve written a blog post on the subject of collaboration and gave 130+ complementary copies of the Internet UNMASKED!! book to the delegates on behalf of WDANZ.
In attendance were 150 heads of New Zealand based ICT groups and associations
Fran Wilde convened the event under the direction of the Minister of
Communications and Information Technology David Cunliffe, who attended, spoke, and answered questions from the floor. Judith Tizard (Minister of Consumer Affairs, Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, Minister Responsible for the National Library, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Associate Minister of Commerce and more) also attended and supported the Minister.
A very broad section of the community was represented, including business,
community, creative & cultural, education, local government and of course
the ICT industry.
I attended and represented WDANZ at this event, attending the business group
convened by Paul Winter, EMA (Central). WDANZ also donated a copy of the book
Internet UNMASKED!! to every attendee, a retail value of over $5,000.00. This
gesture was very well received by the delegates.
The Minister David Cunliffe has been seeking a single voice from the IT industry for a while. With the demise of ICT-New Zealand (an effort to bring very tight structural collaboration), it appears that the new initiative will have legs, probably because the individual organizations will remain separate entities under the constitution; the lessons from previous experiences; and the aim is to work together with existing organizations in their current structure.
The government’s Digital Strategy 2.0 (http://www.digitalstrategy.
As quoted by Computerworld (http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/A3031B45BA59015CCC2574CC00098EFC), Ernie Newman (TUANZ) suggested that the Digital Development Forum could democratise the Digital Strategy, making it "the nation’s strategy not just the government’s".
The minister said today that Forum membership is self-selecting. The
Forum’s job is to set the strategy for the Digital Development Council. Cabinet has approved seed funding, and wants to facilitate and provide policy levers to affect legislative change.
The minister emphasises that he is "passionate to ameliorate* the digital divide."
*Dictionary definition: [to make or become better, more bearable, or more
The Forum divided into several groups based on sector type (Business, Community & Voluntary, Local Government, Education, ICT, and Creative & Cultural) and discussed the four "enablers" as they related to their own sector:
3. Capability, and
Each group at the Forum discussed these enablers, and the general feedback from attendees was that there is wide acceptance of the need and importance of collaboration.
Fran Wilde made mention that Kiwis tend to want to work in silos however they
network well, with only two degrees of separation between anyone in New Zealand.
eHeath was a major sector not represented at the Forum, however it will be
involved in the DDF shortly.
The new executive director is Paul Alexander, ex the Prime Minister’s and
David Cunliffe expects that the focus will be moving from how to obtain more
bandwidth, to more on how to capitalise on increased bandwidth.
Judith Tizard talked about the difficulties of copyright issues and seeks
suggestions and ideas from vested interests and copyright holders.