As the dust settles from May’s General Election, the 10th annual National Digital Conference (ND15) brought together UK digital leaders, innovators and inspirational speakers to identify, debate and brainstorm the key opportunities and networks to kick-start a new agenda for digital growth, transformation and social innovation over the next Parliament.

We had a great day of disruptive ideas, best practice, exciting speakers and a genuinely cross-sector view of digital life in the UK, drawing upon a broad range of inputs from our international Digital Leaders network and DL Local programmes. Our overarching objective for the day will be to use this event to offer a platform to all those leveraging technology for the economic and social benefit of the UK.

Morning session focus

In recognition of the transversal impact of digital across different stages and areas of our lives, the morning section of the conference adopted a holistic approach covering the following key sessions:

  1. Leading a digital nation – How will the new Government engage and equip people to both shape and deliver digital public services? What are the innovative partnerships, expertise and engagement strategies required to deliver inclusive digital transformation in a climate of on-going fiscal austerity
  2. Empowering a nation of digital businesses – how can we enable more small firms to promote, market their products and transact online? What are the key enabling factors the UK needs to achieve international leadership in new areas of innovation such as Big Data, the Internet of Things and the Sharing Economy?
  3. Leading a third age of digital opportunity – with 11 million adults in the UK aged 60 and above, and a further 3 million adults aged 80 or over – what are the approaches, platforms and partnerships we need to maximise the digital support structures and opportunities available to this rapidly growing segment of our society?

Afternoon session focus

In the afternoon, we rolled up our sleeves for intensive table-based debate and discussion to question and engage with digital skills. In a context where 1 in 5 UK adults lack basic digital skills, what are the approaches, policies and partnerships we need to ensure the right balance of formal and informal digital skills learning opportunities across the UK?:

  1. Skills for a Digital Nation Workshop – this session looked into key recommendations for how the government should address digital skills in the next parliament. We heard from key thinkers and innovators in the digital skills provision sector on four main areas for developing greater digital skills: children, women, apprenticeships and digital industry needs. Each speaker presented two actions that will make a real difference to digital skills outcomes in the next five years. After questions and table discussions the audience voted for their preferred actions. The findings from the session will inform a short report being compiled by Digital Leaders on where the focus on skills should lie during the next Parliament.

Presentations from the day can be seen here.

Photographs can be seen here.

The organisers would like the thank this year’s main sponsors: Lloyds Banking Group

Sopra Steria