The Digital Economic Strategy discussion paper focuses squarely on technical uptake and rollout, and the deficits of slow uptake, as well as questioning what technical expertise will be required to create the digital practices or innovation that lead to productivity—and these skills are critical. However, core challenges, such as falling school engagement and outcomes, community resilience, declining social optimism, workforce adaptability and capacity to see new opportunities will not be addressed by digital technical skills and policy in isolation.
An economic framework that structures out the value of humanities, creativity and the insights and soft skills that are developed through the Arts is a deficit model. Imagining our future, encouraging people to engage, building awareness of our human needs, social challenges in a fast changing economic and social landscape can inspire innovation, new practices and services, and modes of social engagement. The challenges the paper identifies are as much about people as technology.
The Arts has been excluded from the Federal Government’s current innovation agenda, which has adopted a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) approach, and the Digital Economic Strategies discussion paper remains silent on this issue. This means Australia is not reaping the full benefits of a creative and inventive workforce or the productivity of a fully creatively engaged and supported society. See full paper attached