The Digital Agenda Assembly took place in Dublin on 19-20 June. DIGITALEUROPE attended Workshop 1 on the Grand Coalition and Workshop 4 on technology enablers. Overall, jobs and education came out as leading drivers of the Digital Agenda.

Take John Higgins’ pitch to Workshop 1.

Having urged participants to define a digital job – just in sufficient detail to support the analysis of what and where are the biggest gaps – DIGITALEUROPE’s Director-General asked the audience to agree this suggestion: “jobs that create or significantly exploit digital technologies to deliver social or economic benefit in Europe”. As a next step, we will do that analysis and bring some project management to bear – pledges are necessary, but not sufficient. “Our project must draw in the best actors in the member states and this isn’t always just the digital champion”, John said. “Many countries have employer-led bodies tackling the issues very professionally and with great expertise. We need to tap in to that know-how” he went on to say.

Or take Workshop 4 which discovered that, in the words of its rapporteur, UK MP Chi Onwurah: “Our long search is over: the cloud is the killer app of broadband”. Most of the speakers she moderated so skillfully had pointed to education as one of the key drivers of demand for broadband, from BT’s Colm O’Neill quoting it as a prime example of demand stimulation in Ireland to Warwick University’s Jonathan Cave ranking it along with health as the most compelling reason to have broadband at home.

Or take the plenary:
– in his capacity of Digital Champion for Ireland, Lord David Puttnam lambasted the complacency of some teachers, praised youth’ creativity and… generated a flurry of tweets.
– by showcasing Rovio’s Harri Koponen and Jordan Casey, 13-year old CEO of mobile games start-up Casey Games, Vice President Kroes and those she called “the digital Presidency” confirmed that the youth and their favourite enhancers of creativity and learning sit front and center of the Digital Agenda for Europe. In keeping with her vision last year of a Grand Coalition for a job-rich recovery, the Vice President will probably be reminded as the Member of the Barroso II Commission that did the most to salvage a “potentially lost generation”.

In his closing address, Director General Robert Madelin paraphrased John F. Kennedy and urged the audience not to ask what Europe can do for them but what they can do for Europe. In essence, all the resources (broadband, talent, entrepreneurship) are available for proper alignment and effective tapping by a coalition of stakeholders who care about the future of Europe.

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