Brochure

Going Digital


Find out more in the project brochure:

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Opportunities and challenges

The ongoing digital transformation of economies and societies holds many promises to spur innovation, generate efficiencies, and improve services, and in doing so boost more inclusive and sustainable growth as well as enhance well-being. But these benefits go hand-in-hand with disruptions. Our interactions with one another and with society more broadly are being transformed, as are the nature and structure of organisations and markets, raising important issues around jobs and skills, privacy, security, and how to ensure that technological changes benefit society as a whole, among others.

Some countries and some groups are better placed than others to harness the benefits of digital transformation. To bring about stronger and more inclusive growth from the digital revolution, it is essential to build a coherent and comprehensive policy approach. This is the essence of the OECD's Going Digital project.

Why the OECD?

The world does not lack white papers and policy briefs on ICT and digital economy policy. But the OECD is uniquely positioned to reduce the gap between "technology 4.0" and "policy 1.0" due to its distinctive strengths:
 

  • Specialised policy communities and supporting OECD staff that cover nearly all policy fields, enabling a whole-of-government perspective.
     
  • Deep digital experience through the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy, which has analysed the growth of the digital economy for 25 years.
     
  • Direct access to policy makers and stakeholder communities from a wide variety of countries, many of which have been at the forefront of the transformation.

Overview


In 2017 and 2018 the OECD will examine how the digital transformation affects policymaking across a large spectrum of policy areas, including competition; consumer policy; digital economy policy (privacy, security, infrastructure, economic impact); science, technology and innovation; industry and entrepreneurship; insurance and private pensions; financial markets; fiscal affairs and taxation; statistics; economic policy (monetary, fiscal and structural); education and skills; employment and social affairs; public governance; and trade.

This project will take advantage of lessons drawn from OECD’s “New Approaches to Economic Challenges” which, in the wake of the global financial crisis, involved a comprehensive organisation-wide reflection on how to renew and strengthen the OECD’s analytical frameworks, policy instruments and tools. Similar to that work, responding to the digital transformation will require fundamental rethinking of policies across many different areas.

The project will draw on national experiences and policy experimentation occurring across the OECD’s 35 member countries, its accession countries, key partners and many other economies involved in the OECD's work. These countries offer a rich diversity of approaches, challenges and levels of development.

The project was officially launched in Berlin on 12 January 2017, in conjunction with the kick-off event for Germany’s 2017 G20 Presidency digital agenda. Over the course of the project, the OECD will seek to engage policy makers and stakeholders in a variety of ways, including through public events, country-specific roundtables, high-level ministerial discussions, and digital means. The OECD welcomes the active involvement and contributions of governments and stakeholders in this work.

Bodies involved

Led and co-ordinated by the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP), the project will draw on and connect the expertise of 13 other OECD committees:

  • Competition Committee
  • Committee on Consumer Policy
  • Committee on Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Insurance and Private Pensions Committee
  • Committee on Financial Markets
  • Committee on Fiscal Affairs
  • Committee on Scientific and Technological Policy
  • Committee on Statistics and Statistics Policy
  • Economic Policy Committee
  • Education Policy Committee
  • Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee
  • Public Governance Committee
  • Trade Committee

Other committees and bodies (e.g. the International Transport Forum, the Health Committee, the Environment Policy Committee, the Committee for Agriculture, the Investment Committee, and the International Energy Agency, etc.) may further enrich the overall project.

Project pillars

The Going Digital project is designed to actively engage with governments, stakeholders, and independent experts, including through workshops and roundtables planned in various countries before, during and after the analysis has been completed.

The project builds on three main pillars, each designed to break new ground in our understanding of the digital transformation and its effects on our economies and societies:

Horizontal activities

Pillar 1 includes an integrated policy framework for making the digital transformation work for growth and well-being. This pillar also includes other activities that are relevant across all policy areas, such as an analysis of how the digital transformation manifests itself across the economy and society and what this implies for policy, as well as projects on:

  • foresight
  • using digital technologies to improve policy design and implementation
  • digital security and resilience in essential sectors
  • policy coherence.

Domain-specific insights

Pillar 2 involves analysis of the digital transformation in specific policy areas (e.g. competition, science, tax, trade, etc.) and in the broader economy, carried out by domain experts working for specialised committees at the OECD.

This work will show the extent, nature, benefits and challenges of the digital transformation in each policy area, providing targeted insights and advice to policy makers.

Cross-cutting analysis

Pillar 3 comprises a set of modules focusing on key cross-cutting issues. This work will involve “deep dives” into some of the major challenges we face in the digital era and that are at the intersection of more than one policy area. Modules include:

  • jobs and skills in the digital economy
  • the implications of the digital transformation for competition and market openness
  • productivity
  • making the digital transformation work for society and well-being
  • measuring the digital transformation.

Expected outcomes

The Going Digital project aims to help policymakers in all relevant policy areas better understand the digital revolution that is taking place across different sectors of the economy and society as a whole.

It will articulate recommendations for pro-active – rather than reactive – policies that will help to drive greater growth and societal well-being and help address the challenges of slow productivity growth, high unemployment and growing inequality in many countries.

The project will draw on the OECD's unique capacity to provide a whole-of-government perspective on complex policy challenges.

By leveraging the latest evidence and data across policy domains, it will give policymakers the tools they need to help their economies and societies prosper in a world that is increasingly digital and data-driven. This will support discussions on the digital transformation at the highest levels – national, regional and international (including through forums such as the G20 and G7).

The Going Digital project envisions a range of reports and recommendations on select policy issues produced by each policy community involved in the project, as well as policy brochures, country profiles and databases, a synthesis built on horizontal insights and good practices, and possibly a “toolkit” of policy “dos” and “don’ts” for the digital era. 

Once completed, the project's integrated policy framework may be used to guide OECD reviews of the digital transformation in specific countries, helping countries self-assess how prepared they are for an increasingly digital world, supporting the development of national digital strategies, and analysing the digital transformation from a holistic perspective.