Tag Archives: digital strategy

Community Partnership Fund deadline looms

The imminent closing date of a new round of the Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund on 10 November has set off a stampede of creative thinking. There’s no shortage of good ideas, though the $5.8 million available probably won’t be enough to fund everything being dreamed up.

The criteria for funding means existing projects aren’t likely to get additional assistance, unless it’s about extending reach or linking with others doing similar stuff, and new projects are required to “support digitally disadvantaged New Zealanders”.

Services delivering IT advice and support specifically to community and voluntary groups want to link up. Each of our respective services will be strengthened through regular face-to-face interaction with peers. A proposal is being prepared to enable us to meet regularly to discuss issues and developments, learn from each other, start looking at standards for IT services to the community, strategic discussion to support advocacy for the sector and providing support to other regions starting a community IT service.

At the moment there are three regional organisations looking to join in a proposal, with the Wellington e-rider IT service writing things up. I’m wondering if there are other people around the country delivering IT advice and support primarily to community groups that would like to join in this proposal. Get in touch if you’re interested.

At this stage applicants are just required to submit a short EOI, with short-listed applications having almost three months to complete a full application early in 2009.

A project bubbling out the Cycle Action Network’s Digital Strategy Initiative (aka new website!) will provide a suite of online tools to support the work of advocacy groups. CiviCRM is a powerful tool to support relationships with members. This can be about promoting action, collecting membership fees, receving online donations, administering events, or much more. The CiviCRM back-end can be combined with a Drupal website front-end to create an attractive public entrance.

Andre Cymbalista, project manager of the new CAN website, wants any advocacy network to be able to benefit from this combination of online tools. With many groups being using the same tools, its possible to capitalise on shared training and build up local support.

In New Zealand there are only a small number of groups using CiviCRM but internationally organisations like Amnesty International, Wikipedia and a multitude of grassroots ones all use the software.

If this sounds like something your group would benefit from, contact Andre today.

That’s not all by a long shot. Promoting open source software, developing an easy website builder, providing IT management training to community group managers, and building Drupal modules are just some of the other ideas I’ve heard about.

Let the sparks fly!

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.

Digital strategy 2.0 – online today

Facebook message about Digital Strategy 2.0 refreshThanks to Zara, plus a press release from David Cunnliffe, I’ve found out that government today started consulting on the second edition of the Digital Strategy.

55 people on the Digital Future Summit 2.0 facebook group received a short alert from Zara letting us know that we can have our say.

Using online tools has been a feature of the Digital Strategy refresh. Presentations at the Digital Summit held last November are online, as is the summit blog, and a room on/in secondlife. A Digital Summit summary is available .

Up until 12 May anyone can edit and discuss the draft document on a the Digital Strategy wiki.

I’m still digesting the wiki terms of use. There are lots of rules, including the need to login before making comments. Somewhat ominously MED staff reserve the right to intervene as appropriate.

I’m hoping to get beyond how to have a say, to thinking about the substance.