Image of the forward from the pdf proof

Welcome to Signals

Welcome to Signals, a collection of essays written by leaders involved in digital transformation, and curated by Public Digital. This is our fifth edition and its theme is sustainability.

We’ve entered a third year of a pandemic that has highlighted huge inequalities between individuals and nations. The climate crisis continues to threaten the wellbeing of populations worldwide. How can we responsibly use digital transformation to help with the big issues?

Sustainability felt like an obvious choice of theme this time.

But what is sustainability? And specifically, what does it mean in the context of digital transformation? Everyone seems to have a different definition, but most agree on one thing: ‘sustainability’ has become a buzzword. In this edition of Signals, contributors from the public sector and international organisations explain what the word means to them, to their teams and in some instances what it means in terms of digital public services in their country.

To us at Public Digital, sustainable digital transformation means thinking long-term, in the widest possible sense. It’s improving people’s lives by building digital services that respond ever better to their needs. It also means doing it in a way that addresses the 2 major threats of our time: growing inequalities, and the climate crisis.

So, in this Sustainability edition, you’ll read about the impact of digital transformation on the environment, and what we can do about it. You’ll read about inclusivity, both through the lens of digital divides and responsible innovation tools and techniques. You’ll read about the value of digital public goods, and the challenges around their long-term maintenance. You’ll also read about the relationship between digital infrastructure and national sovereignty, as well as the role of behavioural research in addressing government digital transformation challenges.

And because sustainability is a global challenge, we’ve asked for contributions from all over the world: India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Mongolia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Switzerland.

Last but not least, we’d like to say a huge thank you to all our contributors, who invested time and energy in this edition. We’d also like to thank the Digital Impact Alliance for their support, including for our very first French and Spanish versions of Signals.

We hope you enjoy the read. We welcome all thoughts and feedback on the experiences and ideas included in this issue. If you’d like to carry on the conversation, get in touch with Claire Bedoui ([email protected]) or Emily Middleton ([email protected]).

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