Jersey needs ‘mindset change’ to embrace digital technology

Deputy Alex Curtis .. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (37012184)

JERSEY needs a “mindset change” to embrace the opportunities of digital technology, according to Assistant Economic Development Minister Alex Curtis.

Deputy Curtis said that Jersey could become a “more vibrant, more exciting and more creative island” if it successfully adapts to the opportunities ahead.

He added: “I didn’t get to live through the heyday of the tourism trade but you heard the excitement of people as new places opened up, as people felt a buzz about the energy of the place. Why does that have to be behind us? Why does new opportunity and change have to be behind us?

“I would like to think that that’s our opportunity going forward but it’s not just for government to make the change; it’s for every Islander and for our businesses too. It will require a mindset change.

“The hope for me is that it becomes more vibrant, more exciting and more creative as an Island as a result.”

At the end of September, Economic Development published a consultation draft for the new digital economy strategy, which was extended until last Friday to allow more Islanders to respond.

Deputy Curtis said that a wide range of stakeholder and industry consultation had already taken place on what he described as a “meaty topic” – the consultation poses 32 questions on six key themes – but he said that they had wished to secure more responses, particularly on the issue of the government’s role.

“I wanted to know Islanders’ views and businesses’ views as to what extent – and how – they saw government’s interventions in the industry to generate a better ecosystem around the digital economy.

“We wanted to hear views and find the nuance in people’s experiences. It’s here for everybody. It is a wide-ranging topic – a person who is considering a career who is still at school will have a very different comment to a digital exporter selling globally but that’s part of the challenge we have trying to tie the digital economy together to provide a strategic direction,” Deputy Curtis said.

The new digital strategy aims to support digital businesses operating in domestic and global markets, and support other businesses to become “digitally enabled”. It also seeks to help Islanders become skilled and confident users of digital technologies, and also see Jersey’s public services improved through effective use of digital delivery.

Deputy Curtis gave the example of health care, pointing to a visit he made recently with Health Minister Karen Wilson to a UK hospital where digital whiteboards provided up-to-date information on patients to support care provided by health staff. The underlying message was, he said, that the digital economy affects all Islanders.