In the days after the launch of the Index on Digital Life, Telefonica joined forces with POLITICO to host a leading event in Berlin for the first exclusive discussion on the impact of the Index findings.
In front of an engaged audience, Telefonica Germany’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Valentina Daiber, and the Index’s lead author, Professor Erkko Autio from Imperial College, took to the stage to discuss the barriers and opportunities presented by the digital world as highlighted by the Index.
Kicking off the “Harnessing the power of a Digital Revolution” event, the pair got underneath the skin of the Index and examined some of the resulting policy recommendations, including the importance of e-skills.
When asked about how Germany can learn from the Index findings, Erkko commented: “A very important part of digital society is the education system. We must connect more schools and we must teach more digital skills.”
State Secretary Dorothee Bar also backed this view, stating that: “digitising education is one of the most important issues – we need to be more open minded there.” … “We are often afraid of digitalisation, and this is something we need to work on”
The discussion also covered digital trust, another key area examined by the Index. Gerold Reichenbach – member of the Bundestag Committee on the Digital Agenda commented that: “When I look to the US, the discussion on trust has increased. People will look more and more at keeping their privacy. In the area of data collecting and processing, the people currently don’t know what happens and that needs to change.”
Lucilla Sioli, Head of the ‘Digital Economy and Skills’ Unit, DG CONNECT at the European Commission commented that the European data protection legislation is crucial as it’s “important that it applies in a uniform way across European countries”. She added: “The challenge we have is keeping our processes as fast as the pace of change in the digital world.”
Much of the discussion reflected areas covered by the Index as a whole. Developed with world-leading scholars, the Index itself assesses 34 countries worldwide on the extent of their digital development. Going beyond simply measuring digital infrastructure, the Index takes into account three socio-economic components that combine to establish digital life within a particular economy: confidence, openness and entrepreneurship.
Erkko rounded off his discussion by explaining that, while there is correlation between a country’s wealth and its index position, correlation is not automatic. Countries like Colombia, Chile, and the UK are among those that can be said to ‘over-perform’ in Digital Life relative to GDP per capita.
You can watch a summary of the POLITICO event below and you can keep up with ongoing discussion and future events involving the Index by following the hashtag #MyDigitalLife.