On 18 May 2022, Digital Equity Coalition Aotearoa (DECA) hosted a National Regional Council Digital Equity hui. The hui was planned by a working group from local government and from DECA, with the purpose of creating a neutral space to share resources, learnings and strategies nationally. More than 80 people from councils around the motu attended the hui.
Key outcomes of the hui included highlighting the following themes, issues and solutions in the digital equity space. A full summary of the action themes, issues and actions that need be taken can be viewed in here.
The power of storytelling
During the hui, inspiring stories from across the motu were shared which all had powerful and important narratives. These stories illustrated the importance of community-led actions and the shared narratives throughout many of the stories. An appetite for more storytelling was revealed and posed this question – how do we ensure that these and other inspiring stories are shared, collected and broadcast more widely?
Transitory funding models and programmes
- Baselines are needed in order to track and evaluate effectiveness, which are in turn needed to secure further funding
- Documenting and sharing experiences and learnings from projects and activities that have transitory funding is essential. There is a high risk of losing hard-won knowledge, experience and connection points when projects wind down.
Emphasising the importance of digital strategic inclusion in the wellbeing platform
It is vital that digital inclusion is a strategic imperative in councils’ and national government’s wellbeing platforms.
The importance of relationships and trust at local levels
The importance of locating projects, activities and contact ‘in the places where people are’. This can include the local library, CAB places of worship, RSAs, or other community groups and spaces.
Connectivity between local and regional initiatives and its role in scaling social innovation
The digital equity eco-system is uncoordinated and uneconomic and needs a more strategic thought process – in particular, shared values need to be determined and articulated to achieve a shared direction, values alignment and knowledge joining across local and national levels.
The role of catalytic organisations, spaces and people
In many cases, catalytic people, places or organisations have taken a small idea and turned it into a highly impactful initiative. This led to the question – how do we identify and support these catalysts?
‘People weaving’ and convergence of ecosystems
Specific strategies for implementing collaboration need to be included in plans and strategies are needed for determining who is in the ecosystem and what value they add. This means keeping track of who is contributing what over time and where they are connected in the ecosystem. Mapping is vital – there are software and tools available to help with this.
Necessity for internal work to be undertaken within Councils
The lack of attention to digital equity within councils themselves was noted as a barrier to pursuing strategies in the community. To be successful, to mobilise investment, and to scale social innovation requires that councils themselves are demonstrated leaders in this space.
A full summary of the action themes, issues and actions that need be taken can be viewed in this document.