Today I am at the Digital Scotland 2018 Conference in Glasgow – if you are along do give me a wave (you’ll find me easily from the glare of my mirrored protractor brooch!). i’ll be liveblogging today, with the usual caveats that I welcome any additions, corrections, etc.
Introduction by Conference Chair: Alisdair Gunn, Director, Framewire, & BIMA Scotland Council Member.
Good morning and thanks for coming today to the inaugeral Digital Scotland conference. I’m Alistair Gunn and I’m honoured to be your chair today. Today’s conference brings together suppliers, local and national government, and technologists together. At the beginning of 2017 the Scottish Government published the Digital Scotland strategy, and each of us play a role in delivering that strategy which aims for inclusive economic growth, and to make Scotland one of the world’s leading digital nations. We really encourage tweeting and sharing of today’s conference, using #digitalscotland
. The event is also being livestreamed by ProductForge
. Due to overwhelming interest today I can also announce that the Digital Scotland event will run again next year.
Keynote: ‘Harnessing technology for the benefit of society’
Chris Yiu, Senior Policy Fellow for Technology, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
I wanted to kick off with a birds eye view of technology and policy themes as we see them at the Institute. So, first I want to start with some numbers. Martha Lane Foxes doteveryone charity surveyed people across the UK: 50% said “the internet has made life a lot better for people like me. But only 12% (one in ten) said “the internet has had a very positive impact on society”. So, something has gone very wrong. What I’d like to talk about today is what those issues might be, and what we might do as policy makers.
Some of the questions here are issues like surveillance – whether we are being monitored, if there will be another data breach. But that can be countered with rights. Manipulation – are my apps, are the tools I use manipulating me. Or will we use technology for wellbeing, for making lives better. Polarisation – fake news, polarised political views. But technology also has the potential to build and enable community. Stagnation vs Prosperity; Automation or Meaningful work and life; Indifference or Fairness; Excess – e.g. bitcoin’s environmental impact vs sustainability; and vulnerability vs security. None of these questions are easily answered but we face them every day, and we have to think about how policy makers and politics address those questions.
Right now politics is no longer left or right. And you can also think about the world against Politics mapped against Tech. We can visualised this as a grid from False Nostalgia; Incremental progress; Exponential progress; and Tech nationalism (moving clockwise from bottom left). We mainly focus on that nostalgia for a pre-tech world adn incremental progress. We should be focusing on the other side of this graph – China a leading on that Tech nationalism area. But the real world concerns is about affordable good quality healthcare, education, social change, and those are unchanging concerns in many ways, we need those to shape our use of technology.
We also have increasing AI possibilities. As a hobby I make a list of exciting AI examples (see deepindex.org). At first these were fun silly things, but now it is supply chain management, risk management, predictive analysis in insurance, diagnostic medicine tools that outperform human specialists. Some see this as a threat to jobs. I think this is about freeing up human time for more important interactions. This stuff is real, the opportunity is there. And actually where you see this technology now is everyday in AirBnB, in Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, Twitter, Uber… And these companies do powerful things with AI which raise all sorts of policy channels. Rules, laws and regulations are frequently pre internet, whilst these companies have new business models, new ways of working. No matter what you think of these companies they are delivering services to huge numbers of people, many of whom are satisfied with that experience. Amazon for instance is one of the most loved companies on the planet, transforming the highstreet – with shops closing… But also the customer experience is light years ahead, and it would be good to see more shops doing that which is where service design comes in.
On service design… I try to book an appointment at my family doctor. Maybe once I’d have written a letter, then I could go in in person, or call… As we get further along, maybe I can book online without that telephone queue wait. Sounds good, and it sounds achievable… But those apps and the technology that pervades our lives has changed the rules…. And if you haven’t seen it you should read Jeff Bezos’ letter to shareholders where he says “customers are perfectly discontent”… As user experience becomes better, perfect user experience is also racing away… So nevermind that online booking of appointment – maybe I want to videocall my doctor right now. And this is hugely important. My experience as a consumer looks one way, my experience as a citizen lags behind. Maybe there was always a lag but the wider that gap in experience is, the less appealing and sustainable participation in society. That’s a threat to transactional stuff – moves to private schools or healthcase – but more importantly ceasing to try to make your voice heard…
But I think there are things we can do:
1. A structured dialogue between the change makers and the policy makers
2. A better approach to regulation that is built around the reality of the internet – that means root and branch reform that is built on internet as the norm. That’s harder to do today – it’s a reserved issue. But it’s also a global issue.
3. An ambitious policy platform that gives people hope about the future – be bold enough to see the potential to make a radical difference to the stuff that matters. That needs focus – we can’t do everything – and really requires work across sectors with government and local authorities working with private and third sectors.
I’m going to leave that here and will be around to engage in the conversation throughout the day. Thank you.
Digital Transformation Panel
Join us for a conversation on how digital is transforming Scotland, and what more needs to be done to fulfil the potential of our communities and the nation.Featuring:
– Alistair Gunn (AG), Chair of session
– Colin Cook (CC), Director, Digital, The Scottish Government;
– Martyn Wallace (MW), Chief Digital Officer, The Digital Office Scottish Local Government;
– Polly Purvis (PP), Chief Executive, ScotlandIS;
– Cat Leaver (CL), Project Director, Brand Scotland.
CC: Chris was absolutely right in an aspirational way – we really want to be ambitious and transformational. And no-one in Government thinks that transformational change is possible on our own, government has to work together with other sectors with common programmes and pieces of work. Equally important as that is that government doesn’t think that the public sector can be working alone here, and see the value of working with private sector. We work in different ways with the private sector, and CivTech is a part of that, but there is more to do that. We have more than achieved our targets on broadband rollout, we have key programmes on identity management, and we have more to do and are looking forward to what can come out of the discussions today.
MW: Echoing what Colin said, we are facing all kinds of challenges in the public sector. I came from the private sector and thought I knew the public sector, but its so much more complex – the things we do every day saving lives, facing challenges, we have technical and HR skills to address as well as cultural shifts that need to be there. I was at an event on Friday asking if we were tinkering or whether we are transforming. I think in many ways we are still tinkering but we need to be transforming… We have more pilots than RyanAir – we need to be more agile, iterate… We shouldn’t have these big media-covered collapses if we do that. And we need public understanding that we can’t do what we used to as we just don’t have the finances to do it. Sometimes you don’t need a doctor – you need a GP, or an information source, and that saves money in the system. We have to have a balanced approach – investing but also changing the conversation at the top. There is great collaboration across Scottish and local government. We need common data standards and interoperability to get this right – otherwise we are handing over public money to service integrators that we can ill afford.
PP: We represent everyone – from Microsoft, CGI, SkyScanner, to small companies and everything in between. We work closely with government both to help them but also to hold their feet to the fire. We need to really focus on the opportunities that technology provide. There are such bright futures possible here, but we have to get more people involved and engaged. That is a really serious challenge. Lifelong learning has to be for all of us all the time to make this work.
AG: This is part of why agile, service design, and actually you could almost drop the private and public sector labels… It’s all one sector in some ways.
KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE MASTERCLASSES AND INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS: SESSION 1
11:00 – 11:30
THE ECONOMY: Supporting growth in the digital sector
Panellists: Polly Purvis, Chief Executive, ScotlandIS; Colin Cook, Director, Digital, The Scottish Government;Melinda Matthews Clarkson, Chief Executive, CodeClan; Maggie Morrison, Vice President, Public Sector, CGI.
Chaired by: Alisdair Gunn, Director, Framewire & BIMA Scotland Council Member.
11:35 – 12:05
PUBLIC SERVICES: Designing services around users
Panellists: Cat Macaulay, Head of User Research and Services Design, The Scottish Government; Leah Lockhart, Engagement Consultant; Clare Hillis, Head of Public Sector, Vodafone and Paul Duffy, Co – Director for IT and Telecommunications, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
12:10 – 12:40
HEALTH: Technology enabled health and social care in Scotland
Speakers: Michelle Brogan, Home and Mobile Health Monitoring lead, NHS24; Hazel Archer, Video Conference and Attend Anywhere Lead, NHS24; Liza McLean, Head of eHealth Strategy and Policy, Scottish Government.
Alexander Holt, Head of CivTech, The Scottish Government.
State of the Tech Nation:
Gerard Grech, Chief Executive, Tech Nation.
Innovation to drive growth for all
Professor Charlie Jeffrey, Vice Principal, Edinburgh University.
Refreshments and networking
KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE MASTERCLASSES AND INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS
The second in a series of six masterclasses/interactive workshops delivered in three streams, covering public service design and delivery, skills and infrastructure, and growing Scotland’s digital and wider economies.
14:40 – 15:10
INFRASTRUCTURE: Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN), Masterclass by Capita
Speaker: Mike MacDonald, Head of Digital & Innovation, Capita, Toni Gribben, Scotland Manager, Cisco
15:15 – 15:45
SKILLS: A digitally skilled nation
Panellists: Donald McLaughlin, Technology Sector Business Leader and Chair of Scotland’s Digital Technologies Skills Group; Kirsten Urquhart, Digital & Smart-Tech Director, Young Scot; Joshua Ryan-Saha, Skills Manager, The Data Lab.
Chaired by: Melinda Matthews Clarkson, Chief Executive, CodeClan.
Close of Conference
*Agenda subject to change