Digital 7

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Digital 7
Photo of Francis Maude giving a speech at the London D5 summit.
UK Cabinet Minister Francis Maude giving a speech in London at the 2014 D5 summit
Formation9 December 2014
TypeInter-governmental organisation
Legal statusNetwork
PurposeDigital governance
Canada, Estonia, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea, United Kingdom, Uruguay
Main organ
Joint working group

The Digital 7 or D7 (previously called Digital 5, or D5), is a network of leading digital governments with the goal of strengthening the digital economy.[1] The members are bonded by the principle of openness; they are focused on changing government's relationship with technology by adopting open standards and open-source software as well as making digital government more effective. They intend to bring in digital skills in-house and encourage short-term contracts with small and medium business suppliers. Discussions at their inaugural meetup included connectivity, teaching children to code, and open markets.[2] The group will meet annually to showcase digital accomplishments by governments around the world.[3]


The founding members of the Digital 5 group were:[4]

In February 2018,[5][6] the following countries joined the organization, now referred to as the Digital 7:

D5 London 2014[edit]

The first event of the D5 was held in London on 9 and 10 December 2014 with delegates from the five founding nations attending, as well as the United States, who were there as observers; the event was hosted by the UK's Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. The UK's Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey and their Chief Technology Officer Liam Maxwell were also present.[7][8]


The 2014 summit had three themes: Teaching children to code, open markets, and connectivity.[9]

Teaching children to code[edit]

By teaching children to code, the D5 intends to train the newest generation of kids – the "technology generation" – to take an active role in creating IT, rather than simply consuming it. Discussion points involving this theme included looking at whether simply changing the curriculum is enough to achieve this goal, methods that may be used to give teachers the skills to teach and inspire children to code, connecting the fields of industry and education so that such a change can be achieved, and ensuring gender balance and encouraging girls to take on tech roles.

Advances made by the D5's participating countries have already been made to achieve this goal. In the UK, England became the first country in the world to mandate that coding be taught to all pupils aged 5 to 16; In Estonia, primary schools have been teaching students to code since the 1990s; In New Zealand, they have introduced a set of Digital Technology Guidelines that will allow secondary schools to teach the subject coherently – they have also invested in new graduate ICT training schools to transition tertiary students into the workforce; in Israel they have "the most rigorous computer science high school programme in the world" due to a major review of computing at school that took place in the 1990s; South Korea teaches some computer science in school and also offers an optional online course for those who are interested.[10]

Open Markets[edit]

The focus of open markets is to open bidding on government IT contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the use of digital marketplaces such as the UK Government's G-cloud. The benefit of this to the government is to reduce costs by contracting out to the company that can provide the best value for money spent. The reduced barriers provided by an open market give SMEs who may not have been previously considered for a government contract, or who have never bid on one before, a fairer and more seamless opportunity to do so. Moving away from large outsourcers requires right sizing, which in this case can be achieved by buying parts of contracts from several smaller suppliers rather than buying one large contract from a single supplier, using agile delivery, buying cloud services, and building in-house engineering and operations capability.

Like the UK's G-cloud, New Zealand is also building a government cloud programme to ease the process of government buying from SMEs. They are committed to using ‘as a service’ products to open up the market. South Korea too has already built an e-procurement system that allows SMEs the opportunity to win government contracts. Since its inception, it has saved $8 billion annually and made a reduction of 7.8 million pages of paper documents per year. Bidding time has been reduced from thirty hours to two.[11]


With an increasing number of internet connected devices in each household, the D5 intends to look at what type of infrastructure is needed to maintain and expand connectivity, as well as how they can work together to share each other's experiences and to develop standards together. Citing a Cisco figure, the D5 expects over 50 billion internet connected devices to be in use around the world by 2020, with as many as dozens of each device in every household.

To meet these needs, the UK government's focus will be on Machine to Machine technology, the Internet of Things and 5G mobile networks. In March 2014, they announced they will be investing £45 million in the Internet of Things. They have set up smart cities demonstrators in Glasgow, London, Bristol and Peterborough, and their 5G Innovation Centre is the world’s first dedicated 5G testbed centre.[12] In a speech during the summit, Cabinet Minister Francis Maude announced that the UK intends to have 97% of all citizen interactions with the state online by the end of the next parliament.[13] In Estonia they have X-Road, a secure platform-independent Internet-based data exchange layer that provides transparent digital services with minimum costs. Through a public-private partnership, New Zealand is in the process of upgrading internet infrastructure to fibre optic cables. Korea too has made a significant investment into The Internet of Things.[12]


There were a number of events and presentations held throughout the city. The Duke of York hosted an event for the delegates at Buckingham Palace, where 100 UK digital startups showcased their products to attendees.[14][15][16] Presenters included Crowd Emotion, Code Kingdoms, Therapy Box, Yoyo, Skyscape, Kano, and Relative Insight.[16] Another event highlighted the D5's intention of teaching programming to children of young ages by having the BBC lead a group of 11-year-olds through a coding session in which they utilised a Doctor Who themed game to gain a basic understanding of the practice of computer programming.[17]

D5 Charter[edit]

During the 2014 D5 summit, the five founding members signed a charter committing to share and improve upon the participant nations' practices in digital services and digital economies. In the agreement they stated that their collective goal is to "harness the potential global power of digital technology and help each Participant to become an even better digital government faster and more efficiently through sharing and learning from each other." Though they set several targets for areas that needed improving, they acknowledged that not all criteria may be met upon joining, and agreed to update the list as needed. Commitments set within the charter were non-binding and voluntary. The targets set forth were:

  • User needs – public services for citizens
  • Open standards – a commitment to royalty free open standards
  • Open source – Government systems, tradecraft and manuals will in the future be open source and shareable between members
  • Open markets – support for startups and equal competition despite company size
  • Open government – transparent and open licenses and data
  • Connectivity – build and maintain high quality digital infrastructure that supports the digital population
  • Teach children to code – provide children with the skills needed to become the next generation of coders
  • Assisted digital – support all citizens so that they can access digital services
  • Commitment to share and learn – members share and work together to meet set goals

The signees of the charter were Urve Palo from Estonia's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Yossi Katribas from Israel's Prime Minister Office of the Government, Peter Dunne from New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs, Chong Jong-Sup from South Korea's Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, and Francis Maude from the UK's Cabinet Office.

The charter was signed digitally on 9 December 2014 and was effective for five years, with the ability to be terminated by any participant given three months notice.[18]

The Future of D7[edit]

The signing of the D7 Charter in Wellington, New Zealand in 2018

Members of the D7 will meet annually in their effort to encourage faster and more efficient digital governance.

They will report publicly on progress and learning; a dedicated blog will provide links to where the various groups involved are collaborating online. The network hopes to grow to include more countries in the future.[19] A joint working group established future hosts of the D7, future themes of summits held by the D7, and future countries who are eligible to join the D7.[18]

The last D7 meeting took place in February 2018 in New Zealand.[20] Canada and Uruguay joined to make the D5 the D7.[21] The focus of the New Zealand D5 ministerial meeting was digital rights.[22] The next D7 meeting will be held in Israel in November 2018.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Williams-Grut, Oscar (8 December 2014). "London launch for 'D5' alliance of digital nations". The Independent. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  2. ^ Maxwell, Liam. "D5 comes to London". GOV.UK. UK Government. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  3. ^ "D5 London 2014: leading digital governments – About D5 London 2014". GOV.UK. UK Government. 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  4. ^ "D5 London 2014: leading digital governments". GOV.UK. UK Government. 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  5. ^ Kathryn May (Feb 22, 2018). "Canada joins club of world's digital government leaders". iPolitics Inc. Retrieved Feb 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Matteo Natalucci (22 February 2018). "Canada and Uruguay join Digital 5 government group". Government Computing. Progressive Digital Media. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  7. ^ Oscar Williams-Grut (8 December 2014). "London launches 'D5' nations alliance to strengthen digital economy". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Israel in London launch of 'D5' digital nations alliance". BICOM – Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  9. ^ "D5 London: summit themes". GOV.UK. UK Government. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  10. ^ "D5 London: teaching children to code". GOV.UK. UK Government. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  11. ^ "D5 London: open markets". GOV.UK. UK Government. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b "D5 London: connectivity". GOV.UK. UK Government. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  13. ^ Warman, Matt (10 December 2014). "Government aims for 97 per cent of interactions to be digital". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  14. ^ McMillan, Peter (9 December 2014). "Tewkesbury-based SmartSurvey attending conference hosted by Duke of York at Buckingham Palace". Gloucestershire Echo. Gloucestershire Echo. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  15. ^ Terrett, Ben (10 December 2014). "Code Club at the Palace". UK Government. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  16. ^ a b "D5 London 2014 summit programme". WiredGov. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  17. ^ "D5 London: Doctor Who helps teach children coding". GOV.UK. UK Government. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  18. ^ a b "D5 Charter" (PDF). GOV.UK. D5. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  19. ^ "UK hosts D5, the first digital leaders summit". GOV.UK. UK Government. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Digital 5 2018". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  21. ^ "D5 becomes D7 as Canada and Uruguay join global digital-government collective". 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  22. ^ "Leading digital nations put digital rights at the heart of their agenda". CIO New Zealand. Retrieved 2018-10-14.