Jersey needs ‘mindset change’ to embrace digital technology

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

Deputy Curtis said 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 live through the heyday of the tourism industry, but you could hear the excitement in people when new places opened up, when people felt a buzz about the energy of the place. Why should that be behind us? Why should new opportunities and changes be behind U.S?

“I’d like to think that’s our option going forward, but it’s not just for the government to make the change; it’s for every islander and for our businesses as well. It’s going to take a mindset change.

“The hope for me is that it will be 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 to last Friday to allow more islanders to respond.

Deputy Curtis said a wide range of stakeholder and industry consultations had already taken place on what he described as a “meaty subject” – the consultation asks 32 questions on six key themes – but he said they had wanted to secure more answers, particularly on the question of the role of government.

“I wanted to know the views of the islanders and the view of the companies, to what extent – and how – they saw the government’s intervention in the industry to create a better ecosystem around the digital economy.

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“We wanted to hear points of view and find the nuance in people’s experiences. It’s here for everyone. It’s a wide-ranging topic – someone considering a career who’s still in school will have a very different take on a digital exporter selling globally, but it’s part of the challenge we have in trying to tying the digital economy together to provide strategic direction,” said Deputy Curtis.

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 improve through the effective use of digital delivery.

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