Now that the final Digital Britain report has been released by Ben Bradshaw and Lord Carter, we’re looking for your views so that we can put together a response to the report.
In the comment section below please state:
1. Your over all impressions (excellent, good, satisfactory, bad etc.)
2. Your thoughts in more detail – either on a specific area or overall. If anything, what was missed?
3. Possibly suggest where we should take things next
A word from Digital Birmingham:
Digital Birmingham and Aquila in association with Fazeley Studios will be live streaming Lord Stephen Carter’s speech at the first regional debate and launch of Digital Britain ‘Final Report’ event.
Plus, there will be a day of panel/fun sessions and networking opportunities as part of Fazeley Digital ’09.
Watch Lord Carter, who is heading the government’s Digital Britain project, announce his findings that will set out the aims needed to address the challenges of the internet and other digital technologies that were highlighted in his Interim Report. His talk at the ICC will be followed by a Q&A session, which will give the Unconference attendees in Fazeley Studios a chance to join the debate via Twitter and discuss the issues that arise from his report.
The official event at the ICC will bring together some of the regional experts and stakeholders across the digital economy with representation from media, telecoms, creatives, technology, inclusion and industry sectors to review with the Minister his report.
Digital Britain ‘Final Report’ Unconference is the official fringe to the structured ICC conference, driven completely by energy, passion and a room full of people who want to make a difference.
Lunch and refreshments will be available on the day.
We’ve been busy editing a report covering all of the unconferences that have taken place, and finally submitting it to the Digital Britain team yesterday.
We wanted to put the reports from the London event at the ICA on the 6th May 2009 up online, and so here they are consolidated into one PDF.
Thanks to all who have been involved, and particularly those who wrote up a session – this couldn’t have happened without you.
London Session Reports – pdf and audio
Andrew Wise – Broadcast pdf audio
Bill Thompson – Rights pdf audio
Brian Condon & JP Rangaswami – Uploaders’ Manifesto pdf audio
Ellie Louis – Billionaire Businesses pdf audio
Helen Milner – Digital skills and inclusion pdf audio
Mike Kiely – Data Trans & Wifi pdf audio
Ghislaine Boddington – Community Usage & Inter-authorship pdf (sorry – no audio)
Jim Killock – Privacy pdf
Vinay Gupta – Digital NHS pdf
William Perrin – Community pdf
Andy Gibson – Digital Britons pdf
audio for all four of these
Thanks to Laura North for recording the audio reports.
Embedded slide show and audio from the event can be found here on Tom’s blog.
We’ve been asked to put together a short, formal explanation of the Digital Britain Unconferences, so we thought we should put it up here too:
The Digital Britain Unconferences were a set of UK-wide, volunteer-organised events quickly set up in reaction to the British Library hosted ‘Digital Britain Summit’ on 17 April 2009. Their aim was to produce a representative ‘grassroots response’ and gather set of positive, realistic contributions for the report.
A week after the Summit, and with a nod from the Digital Britain team that they were listening, a website was launched with these simple instructions:
“Anyone can attend or hold an event and associate it with Digital Britain Unconferences, you’ll just need to summarise your discussions and hold it by 13th May 2009! Yes, time is very tight.”
By the 13th May, twelve unconferences had taken place from Glasgow in the north to Truro in the south west. All attendees were encouraged to read the Interim Report and the level of engagement and serious thinking across each event was exemplary. The events included a virtual discussion focusing on rural issues related to Digital Britain and a family unconference held in Tutbury, Derbyshire, as well as large events of over 50 people in London and Manchester.
Such a speedy reaction was made possible by the free social media tools such as Yahoo Groups, Twitter, wikis, blogs and instant messaging. Few phone calls were made by the organisers. The process exemplifies what is possible for Digital Britain when these tools are combined with channeling existing loosely connected networks and motivations.
As Clay Shirky describes this phenomenon in Here Comes Everyboody:
“When we change how we communicate, we change society.”
The Nottingham Digital Britain Unconference will take place as part of MediaCamp Nottingham, details as follows:
Saturday May 9th, 2-5pm:
Lace Market House, 54-56 High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HW
MediaCamp Nottingham is a free unconference running from 9.30 – 6.30pm on Sat May 9th, please sign up to attend here (or just turn up on the day): http://mediacampnottingham.pbworks.com/register
The Digital Britain Unconference part of the day will take place in three hour long episodes from 2-5pm to drop in and out as you wish as follows:
Session 1 (2pm-3pm)
Introduction – what is Digital Britain about? What do we think of its key messages?
Session 2 (3pm-4pm)
What are Nottingham’s views on the challenges of Digital Britain? What local solutions can we develop to meet our challenges (including the recession)?
Session 3 (4pm-5pm)
Wrap up and write-up session to formulate MediaCampNottingham’s official response to Digital Britain.
Follow @susioneill for updates
A very select bunch of people met at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on Friday 1 May for the first DigitalBritain Unconference. I had initially been worried that with only seven people it would be a bit of a waste of everyone’s time but in the event the small numbers made it possible for us to sit around a table and have a really good discussion. Due to the short timeframe involved this is a personal report on the meeting rather than an agreed formal report. You can find the gathered raw output of the meeting on the Wikidot Wiki we set up.
We had a wide ranging conversation that spread from infrastructure to rights management to government monitoring via education, health, and enterprise. However despite that we kept seeming to revolve around one or two specific themes. The most important of these revolved around user generated content and how this changes the playing field.
The Citizen Content Producer
The interim report focuses on the existing broadcast industry and their existing business models. Yet the promise of a Digital Britain lies in enabling the users to be content producers. The report barely includes the words “people” or “users”. The potential for real innovation, particularly in the current ecnomic climate, lies in enabling microindustries, user/content producers, and communities to compete on a level playing field with existing suppliers. This means:
- Net neutrality is crucial – anything short of this stifles innovation and content production
- Infrastructure must enable the upload path – if we’re producing content we need to be able to upload it easily
- We need a social and legal infrastructure that supports content production – simple and easily understood rights and management approaches based on enabling rather than limiting the ability to create content.
Walking the walk
The second main theme that came out of our meeting was the need for any response from this community effort to demonstrate the values and principles that it proposes. While it seems likely that the formal response will have to be a couple of sides of A4, it should still be possible to embed examples, case studies, multiple media, and links back to the raw material we generate through the various meetings. The key principles identified at our meeting were:
- Transparency – all the material should be available if someone wishes to dive into it, no hidden process
- Use the medium/media – collect video, audio, tweets, and above allow people to comment on them. The Read-Write web is key to both the potential and what is missing from the report.
- Detail and real numbers – it was pointed out the notion of “2 megabit” is totally meaningless without details of contention. We need to provide examples to backup assertions and to query the report where needed and where things are vague.
Thanks to all who came and were involved either in person or remotely and good luck to everyone involved in the rest of the meetings!