I recently attended an event entitled “Britain’s Digital Future” event at the TUC Congress Hall Conference Centre in London with lots of luminaries and men in suits. I went because I thought they would talk about how we need to empower large and small business and individuals to have digital skills and digital mindsets and I might pick up some tips on how others were marketing or building their online brands and social capital to compete in the global market. But I was wrong it wasn’t about that at all it was about the digital industry talking about itself and its value:
Digital Content- the BBC talking about and all its digital content, second to none of course.
Digital Premium/Paid for content- Basically BSkyB – the dominant force in all digital programming especially around sport, but also MTV were there going on about all the content they produced.
Digital Music – Feargal Sharky no less who represents Music UK – who represent everyone in the UK music industry it seems and who want to be No:1 in the World in Music by 2020. – of course couldn’t leave this one out, someone from Saatchi and Saatchi, interesting enough mentioning the threat of Silicon Valley in the US as the “digital leaders”.
Digital Gaming – Ian Livingstone the founder of Games Workshop and Eidos producer of Lara Croft/Tomb Raider, saying how Games was a $90 Billion global industry and we could do more to encourage development in the UK.
Digital Communications - BT got up and talked about bandwidth and services, then O2 did the same for mobile.
All very interesting but this is all digital stuff that businesses and people buy, nothing about the need to get businesses and people educated digitally, motivated digitally, empowered to collaborate and compete globally. Even Stephen Carter who was the Labour UK Government Minister for Communications, Technology and broadcasting talked about nothing other than telcos and the number of households who refuse to go on line, policy and even RPU, but then he is now the EVP and Chief marketer for Alcatel- Lucent, so hardly surprising.
The only glimmer of hope was Google, Sarah Hunter the Head of UK Public Policy got up and said its not really about access, although it and speed is important, its about demand for the internet meaning people need the motivation to use it, and stimulating innovation on the internet – meaning businesses and individuals creating really compelling stuff that people want to use/buy/collaborate on.
However, the underlying tone and therefore worrying thing is that the “establishment/government” probably think that “digital” is mainly about supporting these industries and that is what will secure Britain’s digital future. The point is its actually Digital Business and “Digital People” who will secure the future and someone needs to do something to help them. Enter Ecademy with its shortly to be announced Digital Business Britain Initiative and Manifesto and the Ecademy Digital School to back this up with real resources to help. Its a real case of right thing, right time and right place a great opportunity for all active in the Ecademy network.