Influencing for change

Now the dust has started to settle after the general election, we are ramping up our efforts to make IT better for society - from key events, to briefing government.

We are currently working on ministerial briefings that cover the areas the Institute consider to be key issues now, and those that will become issues in the near future. The five papers cover: digital skills and the future of the workplace; IT in health; how citizens interact with the digital economy - particularly in the context of personal data and identity management; how citizens interact with government services and the overall communications infrastructure of UK PLC.

All these issues affect people - and they do so in every conceivable context of life: work, play, family life, society, travel, political engagement and so on. A lot of these things are about trust...which brings me to another strand of influencing and change programme. BCS recently ran our second ‘IT Impact’ event - a series specifically for BCS organisational members.

There were three external speakers who gave different insights into the, sometimes controversial, topic of data. The thread that ran all the way through this wasn't about data centres or terabytes or firewalls, but something that much more a human consideration of trust.

Kieron O'Hara, a senior academic from the University of Southampton, talked about trust as the social glue and lubricant in on-line transactions. David Alexander, Founder of Mydex, talked about identity (who you are) and entitlement (your rights around your data). He wants to see a world with a portable digital proof as a solution to the trust problem that could work for everyone. The third speaker, Jonathan MacDonald, gave the marketeer's perspective and focused on data as a source of disruption to organisations' existing business models, e.g. the Proteus chip that you can swallow to send signals about your health.

Our purpose is to make IT good for society, so the public having trust in how companies use their digital data is a really important issue for us to address.

What I can't get across in this blog is the fantastic atmosphere at the event. There was a real buzz from our members. They were vigorously discussing the topic, exchanging views, making notes and recording pledges to follow up when back at work.

For me, these sorts of initiatives are what BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is about.

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About the author
Paul Fletcher is the Group Chief Executive Officer of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Paul joined BCS in 2014 after ten years at RM Education where he was Group Managing Director of the Education Technology Division. Prior to RM, Paul held senior management consultancy roles with A.T. Kearney and KPMG. He started his career in the Aerospace Industry. Paul is passionate about the role of IT in education and society as a whole.

See all posts by Paul Fletcher

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