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Digital Policy Playbook 2017: Approaches to National Digital Governance

Prepared by a network of experts from more than a dozen countries in an open, collaborative and consensus-building manner, the report aims to be a playbook for government officials, civil society and business leaders. Envisioned as a living resource, the intention is to add new case studies over time as other countries share their experiences with national digital policies.


Executive summary

As the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution continue, there is a growing need to share pragmatic and practical insights in a more holistic manner to help guide the understanding and actions of digital policy-makers across silos. This White Paper presents case studies that reflect the different approaches countries have used to tackle the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The countries selected were chosen by the National Digital Policy Network to reflect a diversity of geographies and challenges. The four classes of challenges were based on the Open Systems Interconnection “stack’, starting with access and then examining the effects and results of the services leveraging that infrastructure.

The classes of challenges are:

  1. Innovating in digital governance and access
  2. Developing a smart society and public services
  3. Growing the digital economy
  4. Protecting digital infrastructure, business and fundamental rights

For those unfamiliar with the term “playbook’, it is a commonly used tool in many sports to provide potential strategies, or “plays’, which a team might execute in response to a set of circumstances during a game. This term was deliberately chosen in recognition of the nature of implementing digital policy: no single right answer exists for every country. The most applicable “play’ will depend on the prevailing demographic, economic and political circumstances in each nation. The goal of this White Paper is to present a series of potential policy plays which have worked in specific circumstances, and from which other governments might choose to draw lessons.

Several core themes have emerged from the plays presented in this White Paper:

  • Committed political leadership is vital for implementing digitalization strategies and initiatives.
  • Agility is paramount to the success of digitalization. Countries are rewarded for creating governance solutions which are adaptable, innovative and collaborative in their implementation.
  • The creation and implementation of a comprehensive digital development strategy should transcend the technology sector and embrace different sectors of society and the economy.
  • Adequate government structures are needed to manage the digital transformation and to protect digital infrastructure, services and data.
  • Multistakeholder digital governance models are unique in their ability to address the complexities of networked societies and economies.
  • Partnerships are essential to accelerate positive socioeconomic outcomes and to create enabling policy frameworks, particularly for improving communications infrastructure and creating digital public services.

Above all, agility is paramount. The goal of this work is to show the importance of national and transnational governance approaches which can adapt to changing circumstances ‘“ a system that mirrors the architecture of the internet itself.

You can read the full report here.