Last month, the UK hosted the first summit of the Digital 5 group. This alliance of countries is organised in the same way as the G8 and aims to strengthen the digital economy. The common denominator uniting the D5 members is the principle of openness; they are focused on changing their governments' attitude to technology by adopting open standards and open source software as well as making digital government more effective. To achieve this, they intend to bring digital skills in-house and encourage short-term contracts with small and medium business suppliers.
The group was launched only a few days before the event and currently consists of five founding members: the UK, South Korea, Estonia, New Zealand and Israel. More countries are expected to join the alliance in the future.
The central themes at the two-day kick-off event — which the USA attended as an observer — include teaching children to code, promoting economic growth through open markets, and improving Internet connectivity. Other topics included how to support the digital economy and the future of the D5 group.
Member countries exchanged ideas for future collaborative projects. Furthermore, a (non-binding) charter was signed which includes best practices and commitments to further work on openness and on activities such as teaching children to code and encouraging and promoting a start-up culture. Ministers and senior officials of the founding members met in a variety of digital innovation centres across London. One of the venues was TechCity, which is known for its thriving tech start-ups.
The 2015 D5 summit will be hosted in Estonia.