World Economic Forum

How to think local about the global tech companies

Remember when futurists told us that the internet would result in the “death of distance”? That prophecy has fallen short, as cities remain hubs for commerce and community. The growing geographic consequences of digital technologies puts new demands on decision makers at all levels of government. Bolstering their levels of expertise on these issues is clearly needed and each of the local policy issues raised above would benefit from additional analytical scrutiny.

We can't tell if we're closing the digital divide without more data

Much has been made of the digital underpinning of many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals – gender equality, good health, quality education, industry innovation, and smart and sustainable cities – and the need to set ICT sub-targets for them.

The Global Information Technology Report

Part 1 of the 2016 edition of the Global Information Technology Report assesses the state of networked readiness of 139 economies using the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) and, under the theme "innovating in the Digital Economy," examines the role of information and communication technologies in driving innovation. Part 2 consists of an extensive data compendium with the detailed performance of each economy in the NRI and rankings for each of the 53 individual indicators included in the NRI. Four key findings:

  1. The digital revolutions changes the nature of innovation.
  2. Firms will face increasing pressure to innovate continuously.
  3. Businesses and governments are missing out on a rapidly growing digital population. -- A widening and worrying gap is emerging between growth in individual ICT usage and public-sector engagement in the digital economy, as government usage is increasingly falling short of expectations. Governments can do more to invest in innovative digital solutions to drive social impact.
  4. A new economy is shaping, requiring urgent innovations in governance and regulation -- A critical ingredient for the success and sustainability of the emerging system will be agile governance frameworks that allow societies to anticipate and shape the impact of emerging technologies and react quickly to changing circumstances.

New Initiative on Internet Governance

The World Economic Forum has announced the launch of the NETmundial Initiative on Internet governance cooperation.

Through close collaboration with key government, industry, academic and civil society partners, including the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the new initiative will provide a venue for leaders from many regions and sectors of society to discuss and collaboratively address a range of emerging policy challenges related to the Internet.

Specifically, the initiative seeks to provide an international, multistakeholder platform that brings together government, business and civil society leaders, along with the representatives of technical communities, to sustain and strengthen an effective and distributed approach to Internet governance.

The initiative will seek to make a contribution to the positive evolution of multistakeholder Internet governance in two concrete respects:

  • First, taking advantage of the World Economic Forum’s uniquely interdisciplinary, leader-level multistakeholder communities, it aims to support a broader policy dialogue on issues that would benefit from the engagement of additional relevant ministries, industries and academic and civil society expertise beyond those specializing in the ICT sector and participating regularly in traditional Internet governance fora.
  • Second, it will serve as a platform for galvanizing support for capacity building in two respects: to support developing countries that wish to enhance their access to the Internet and build their own multistakeholder governance frameworks; and to explore ways to strengthen the capacity of the decentralized Internet governance ecosystem to respond to specific issues or problems that arise, including those encountered by developing countries which may not be in a position to readily identify relevant expertise and resources.