Thought Leader: Digital inclusion and entrepreneurship

Thought Leader: Digital inclusion and entrepreneurship


Founder of Last, Crossbench peer, Chair of Go On UK and Chancellor of the Open University


For the Thought Leadership meeting on March 10th 2015, Martha Lane Fox's reflexion:

On ambition, boldness and commitment

“It is in our gift to leapfrog every nation in the world and become the most digital, most connected, most skilled, most informed nation on the planet. And I think that if we did that it would be good for our economy, our culture, our people, our health and our happiness. We may need a new national institution to lead that charge, to help make us the most digital nation on the planet. I don't say that because I'm a fan of institutions but because the values of the internet have always been a dialogue between private companies and public bodies and right now the civic, public, non-commercial side of that equation needs a boost. It needs more weight. Right now, we’re going too slow, being too incremental. We need to be bolder, we need to commit. I want us as a nation to address three big questions:

Firstly, how we upgrade our national internet understanding and skills - at all levels of society? This is vital – not only are 10m adults unable to use the internet leading to huge social disadvantage but our leaders – corporate and political are not expert. We need to understand the internet to legislate, build and thrive. 

Secondly, how do we get more women involved in technology? It is unimaginably depressing that the internet and web have been and continue to be made nearly entirely by men. This has to change.

Thirdly, how do we tackle the genuinely new and difficult ethical and moral issues the internet has created? Surveillance, openness, security etc.

There are many other questions, but that’ll probably do for starters and they are the ones i would prioritise! I think the UK should be far more ambitious in how it approaches the internet so that we can redesign the broken parts of our society starting with the user as the best tech has shown us how to do.”