It has become a four-year routine: Ahead of general elections, debates heat up over a wide range of topics and parties position themselves as the best choice.
Digitalization, however, has so far played a minor role in the electoral campaigns during the elections in the United States, France and - more recently - Germany. This comes as a surprise considering the huge impact the digital transformation has on our working and living conditions
We all use our smartphones on a daily basis. Apps have changed the way we interact with our environment. Buying presents, balancing bank accounts or just booking a taxi: It has never been so easy to monitor and control your everyday needs, all from the palm of your hand.
But, for many people, this kind of customer-oriented service ends when it comes to government-related tasks. E-Government solutions are still treated with a lot of caution – if there are digital services available in the first place. Often it is not the missing availability of services rather than a lack of trust and acceptance by citizens.
This is why a future government in Germany must step up its efforts to enhance, not only the number of online services, but also take steps to improve the acceptance among citizens to use them. Digital services are only as good as their recognition in the market. In the case of E-Government, this means that a high level of data protection and data security has to be guaranteed to build a digital future for administration bodies and citizens.
But digitalization - and the acceptance for new innovative services - goes beyond using applications for your everyday needs. If digital tranesformation should become a success story in Germany and Europe, digital education has to be the top priority on the agendas of federal governments. Innovative minds also grow in school; this is why it will be our responsibility to offer them the most supportive educational environment for building up their digital know-how starting in the early years. Computer science is already one of the mayor skills among reading, writing and math skills. Leaving the digital world to studying on one’s own would not only risk digital illiteracy in our society, but would also leave an entire generation of future data scientists behind their global competition.
And for those who already want to aim high with digital applications that make a real difference? They should profit from an entrepreneur-friendly environment. There would be no Amazon, no Netflix and no Uber if young software engineers not had the courage and the financial possibility to execute their innovative ideas – and to start up their very own companies. Access to venture capital, support for research and development and the right to fail are crucial requirements which can boost young entrepreneurs in the digital world. The economic framework has to be adjusted to address any circumstances which can prevent the launch of possible big ideas for new innovative, digital solutions.
This is only a small section of the areas affected by the digital world. Of course, there is no universal remedy for these challenges. But what we know from our daily business with our customers is that digital transformation has to be executed from the top.
This also applies for the political sphere. Appointing someone responsible for “Digital Affairs” can be an important step in the right direction. Or establishing a Ministry for Digitalization which orchestrates cross-departmental issues linked to the digital transformation. We cannot wait for these problems to vanish on their own; digital transformation is coming fast and time is becoming more precious.
This is why we should continue to elect digitalization. Vote now!