When it comes to digitization, key words in the coalition agreement are economic growth, innovation, cyber security and digital skills. And although attention is being paid to the topic of digitization too, a coherent and visionary approach to facilitate a digital transformation is lacking. It's high time for a look at oneself in the mirror and a good talking-to. Does the Netherlands set the digital bar high enough?
"The digital ambition level of the Netherlands is too low," claims Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO at VodafoneZiggo in his opening speech. "The Netherlands is frontrunner in connectivity, but if the government doesn't take measures to create legal certainty for long-term investments in digital infrastructure, we run the risk of dropping behind." Hoencamp calls on the government to develop an unambiguous vision to support digitization actively and consistently. It is crucial that market parties and authorities work together in this field. According to the CEO of VodafoneZiggo this starts with putting forward a clear ambition. Followed by determining the preconditions necessary to promote innovation. A national digitization summit under the leadership of prime minister Rutte could contribute to this end.
With that, Hoencamp started the digitization debate, leaving not a single visitor in stand-by mode. Under the guidance of Diana Matroos, six panel members entered into a discussion about digitization, following a number of statements. Beatrice Boots (director TechniekPact), Bas Verhart (founder DFFRNT Media), Felienne Hermans (assistant professor of technology, TU Delft), Oscar Kneppers (founder Rockstart) and Tom van der Lee (member of the House of Representatives for Groen Links) discussed the way in which politics, education and the business world should cooperate, the digital state of affairs in the Netherlands compared to the rest of the world and ways in which to encourage young people – but older people as well – to develop digital skills. It is one thing to have the technology, but quite something else to have people who know how to use it.