A national CTO should focus on digital inclusion

As technologies like 5G, the internet of things, data analytics, and the like are increasingly incorporated into city-, state- and national-level strategic thinking, there are tandem increases in the disconnect between adoption and policy.

Some major cities are leaning in on the problem. Case in point: Dallas, Texas, recently appointed a new chief innovation officer to head up its new office of innovation and guide “operational and technological improvements” in the city. New CINO Laila Alequresh joins Hugh Miller, the city’s new chief information officer. Miller is engaged in more traditional infrastructure projects and Alequresh has been tasked with cultural change, both internally and externally. The city said in a statement she will “introduce new ideas to city leaders and encourage new and innovative projects.”

Ericsson Chief Technology Officer Erik Ekudden, examining the broad changes 5G will create for consumers, businesses and governments in a World Economic Forum blog post, suggests that nations should approach the issue just as he does for Ericsson in his CTO role.

He posed the question: “Could a national chief technology officer…help governments and public sector decision-makers?” Specifically, could a national CTO create a framework for leveraging 5G to perpetuate digitalization that can create efficiencies and new business processes?

“With the dawn of 5G just around the corner, I believe these choices-embraced by a nation’s CTO-would have a positive influence on a nation’s competitiveness, boost its society and public sector, and support digital inclusion.”
That last bit–digital inclusion–is key, and a major discussion point among world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, this week. For digital connectivity to realize its full potential, no one can be left out. And that’s where a national CTO should start, Ekudden wrote.
“I imagine a national CTO would be tasked with creating a blueprint for digital inclusion. In so doing, they would have to ensure that the government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies, strategies and services to keep the country and its people competitive now and in the future. Of course, these tasks are as ambitious as they are complex. It’s likely a national CTO would have to convene advisory groups to support this work by meeting with leaders in various governmental areas, industries, NGOs and community groups, too.”



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