Bridging Queensland’s digital divide

The digital divide in Queensland (or Australia in general) becomes incredibly poignant at  a digital innovation festival; where you are having conversations on ‘resurrection tech’ in one stream and ‘how to get internet to regional schools’ in another.
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Digital inclusion is unfortunately one of Australia’s most complex and critical problems. And as all complex problems go, they are not easily solved.
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That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! So as Something Digital, we did what we do best – we hosted a roundtable discussion…
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… inviting friends, partners, speakers and key members of the innovation ecosystem to commit to doing one thing (even a small one) to reduce the digital divide.
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The goal was simple – to bring industry, not for profits and government together to:
  1. Further increase our understanding of the challenges behind the digital divide
  2. Identify and amplify already existing initiatives
  3. Highlight current gaps and form collaborations to solve them
We weren’t there to dish out funds (we have none), nor to own any part of the conversation – there are already plenty of great organisations doing fantastic work in this space.
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What we did do is ask every attendee (we had 35) to end the session having made one commitment. One small action which would narrow the divide between those that are highly included in digital life and those that experience digital poverty.
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It could be as simple as an introduction; chatting to a colleague about a potential initiative, or a collaboration that could yield something new.
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That is how we create change. One step at a time.
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Actually 52 steps. Our 10 page output document indicates that our small(ish) group has made 52 commitments ranging from leveraging existing partnerships, to advocating for industry involvement, having conversations with peers, looking into unused phones and laptops, advocating for the role of librarians to make digital more available, running low tech programs in schools, speaking to clients about what they can do better, leveraging existing networks; linking councils to Indigenous Chambers of Commerce and much much more.
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Something Digital is also making commitments:
  • To serve as a connector in this space
  • To remind our incredible audience to follow up on their commitments
  • To host follow up meetings and roundtables
  • And to write this blog post (tick)
A very big thank you goes to the NBN, particularly Sophie Walker and Marcello Massi, who championed the partnership with Something Digital, giving us the opportunity to host this roundtable and carry on critical conversations with Brisbane’s digital community.
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If you are interested in finding out more about how you can bridge Queensland’s Digital Divide please get in touch with us. Also do get in touch if you run initiatives in the space and would like some help or amplification of some sort (we can’t promise but will do what we can)
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This roundtable is the first in a series designed to leverage digital innovation to solve some of the world’s (and Australia’s) sticker problems. They will be delivered in partnership with corporates and government – so if (like the NBN) you are interested in collaborating with us as a partner, please do email in too!

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