This project will contribute to an inclusive digital transition in the Nordic-Baltic societies by promoting collaboration, dialogue, and knowledge sharing between practitioners and policymakers in the different countries and autonomous territories.
The Nordic and Baltic societies are among the most advanced in Europe on digitalisation and they continually rank high on the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Digital literacy, digital skills and competences are all necessary to participate in the digital economy and society. With increased digitalisation, there is a risk that some groups lacking certain skills could be excluded, among these are elderly people, people with disabilities, persons with low or no education, young people between 15-25 as this group often struggle with communicating digitally with the public sector , immigrants that lack language skills, and people residing in rural areas.
Digital exclusion can result in consequences such as people not having access to and receiving public services, lack of information about public services, social inequality, and social exclusion. Furthermore, COVID-19 has transformed the everyday lives of our citizens and businesses, increasing the importance of accessible, reliable, and usable digital public services.
The project will develop a clear understanding of the key aspects that make up digital inclusion in the Nordic-Baltic region, including the potential effects of these aspects on different societal groups. The methods used will be both qualitative and quantitative such as data collection, literature review, surveys, case studies and interviews as well as seminars with networks of digitally vulnerable groups. An important part of this project is the close collaboration with a Nordic-Baltic reference group on digital inclusion, public agencies, civil society groups, and other research projects working with digital inclusion.
Furthermore, the project will develop maps that can visualise the status on access and capability in the Nordic-Baltic region and publish a story map with showing state of the art, practical examples and good practices that can bridge the digital gap. The project will also engage support networks for groups at risk of digital exclusion, bringing input from the groups and examine collaboration and support mechanisms that are enabled by civil society actors.
The expectation is that the project could increase digital inclusion in the public sectors in the regions, presenting great potential for Nordic-Baltic added value.