Where’s the strategy in the Digital Strategy 2.0?

I’ve just looked at the Digital Strategy website and I’m wondering if I’ve missed something. After all the online and off talk, and policy deliberations over the last 8-10 months, I can’t seem to find the strategy in DS 2.0 released on 28 August 2008.

Strategy as in….

  • an elaborate and systematic plan of action
  • a player’s strategy, in a game or a business situation, is a complete plan of action for whatever situation might arise (game theory)
  • a broad non-specific statement of an approach to accomplishing desired goals and objectives
  • a planned, deliberate procedure goal-oriented (has an identifiable outcome) achieved with a sequence of steps subject to monitoring and modification.

(For fuller definitions search in Google for “define: strategy”).

The goals are lofty and aspirational – hmm, arguably? But as far as broad or elaborate? I’m not so sure.

The actions and sequence of activities seem, well, sparse. Or even truncated. And there’s a tendency to rely almost entirely on government interventions.

Community and voluntary organisations might be able to apply to a (small) pool of grant funding, but the role they play in communities is not acknowledged otherwise. Unless I missed references to this.

And I can’t see any steps that will enable those on low incomes to access 20 Mbps broadband, though it’s wonderful that we’ll have super fast Next Generation Networks. Unless I missed references to this too.

One of the members of the disbanded Digital Strategy Advisory group, and former Waitakere e-democracy activist, Andy Williamson is forthright on his views about updated strategy. Speaking to him in late June from London, where he works as the Director of the Hansard Society’s e-democracy unit, Andy said:

We’ve failed miserably with the digital strategy. I think the digital strategy 2.0 is an embarrasment to the bureuacracy because it has finally be captured by the Minstry of Economic Development.

When we worked on the first draft, after it came out we had all sorts of people feeding into it and getting listened to. We had a dynamic document that was really a whole of society solution.

What it’s turned into is what’s good for keeping Government happy and everybody else is secondary in it. I think it’s a major step back.

I’m hoping things are not as bleak as Andy suggests. I’m happy for someone to set me straight.