Session: 5

       Room: 2

Session title: Defining Digital

Session leaders: Peter G @pete_grz

Names taken by :

Notes taken by : Dan Slee


Harry Metcalfe

Peter G

Dan Slee

Bhavini Desai

Ellie Craven

Luke Stanbra


Digital is a bit of a rubbish word, the session pitcher Peter said.

Digital has lost its meaning. IT has become digital. So has marketing. It is a cultural signifier. It has also been a tag for generations, too. Transformation is equally as unhelpful.

Digital feels as though GDS used ‘digital’ because it was a word that wasn’t being used and it suited them to occupy the ground they wanted to be on.  

Digital by definition. Harry mentioned Tom Loosemore’s definition: “Digital: Applying the culture, practices, processes & technologies of the Internet-era to respond to people’s raised expectations.“


Does “digital” create barriers?

Digital seems to be a tag that can be a closed shop used by elitists, the session heard.

Digital is an imposed thing. It is what happens to people.

Digital? GDS’s great error was to impose “digital” -- arrogance?

Digital as a mission is struggling as GDS fights those forces in government that didn’t want it in the first place.

Digital public services are often poor and we have low, low, low expectations for them. We should be getting cross but we are a captive audience. But we are exhausted as users.

Digital often doesn’t have a feedback loop.

Digital like ‘agile’ is overused what matters is the service.

Digital also has a lot of baggage from change projects that have failed.

It is about service change that can be enabled through digital rather than ‘digital’.