By Claire West
The Chancellor and Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, took part in an open discussion on the digital economy at the global technology festival 02 Campus Party yesterday.
Chaired by Wired magazine editor, David Rowan, the Chancellor and Jimmy Wales discussed the role of government, entrepreneurs, and users in the digital economy in front of an audience of ‘Campuseros’ (Campus Party attendees).
The Chancellor emphasised the government’s responsibility to the digital economy should go beyond infrastructure and education, and make sure people everywhere have to skills to be producers and makers of digital content and technology rather than just users.
To do this, government and businesses must work together to build a culture of participation online, providing people with new skills, new job opportunities and to even create new industries. Jimmy Wales highlighted how of businesses have a vital role to play in making it easy for people to get involved, by creating products that are exciting, accessible and safe.
They cited how the market for apps has grown from thousands of small developers rather than large companies.
This work is supported by the Coalition’s transparency agenda, under which vast amounts of government information is being published as open data. This can be used by developers as a new raw material to create digital products, such as a travel timetable apps built on open transport data.
02 Campus Party is a global technology festival that is designed to enable entrepreneurs, young people and others to nurture their innovative digital ideas, and boost their skills.
While visiting the festival the Chancellor took the opportunity to meet with young coders attending Campus Party as part of the Make Things Do Stuff campaign, designed to mobilise the next generation of digital makers.
Officially launched by the Chancellor at the Roundhouse in May, Make Things Do Stuff has since provided opportunities for 100,000 young people to improve their digital skills.
Prior to their discussion the Chancellor and Jimmy Wales also heard from young makers and coders. Young entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio, who sold his news summarising iPhone app to Yahoo in March 2013 and 13 year old programmer Amy Mather, who created a project using Raspberry Pi, called “The Game of Life”.
Jutta Frieden spoke about how she participated in a free part-time course, Code First designed to teach female graduates how to code.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:
The government is determined to create the right environment for entrepreneurs to succeed. That is why we are going to give our young people the very best tech start in life, by investing in our broadband infrastructure, introducing a new coding curriculum and opening up government data so that it can be used by thousands of small businesses to produce innovative new apps and services.
We want Britain to be the best place in the world for tech - from learning to code to starting up and growing your tech business. With government working together with business and entrepreneurs, I believe we can get there.
With this in place we must work closely with business to encourage more people to be producers, not just consumers of digital content. This way we will keep our digital economy is booming, producing the kind of jobs we need to win in the global race.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said:
We live in an era that was previously unimaginable. People everywhere are now able to develop rather than just consume digital technology. It is important that we, as individuals, take advantage of the opportunities presented to us to deliver high quality digital content that benefits everyone.
There is still a huge amount of potential to be tapped into. So it is exciting to see the latest generation take up this challenge intuitively. The three young people showcased today are all examples of how innovation and the digital economy go hand in hand.