On 6 December 2018, the Walloon Government approved the updated Digital Wallonia strategy for 2019-2024. It establishes the framework defining the approaches that Wallonia needs to adopt to grasp the socio-economic opportunities presented by the digital transformation over a 5-year period. This is mainly the result of the work done by the Digital Wallonia Champions.
The Digital Wallonia 2015-2018 strategy has helped establish Wallonia as a region that grasps the opportunities presented by the digital transformation.
Although it is formative, sustainable and cross-disciplinary, digital technology still needs to be handled with care. This distinctive feature, which lies at the very heart of technology, means that the digital strategy needs to be extended over a period of 5 years, without actually confining it to an exhaustive list of predefined measures, whose relevance cannot be guaranteed over time.
This strategy will continue to be based on five major formative themes:
- digital sector,
- digital business,
- digital administration,
- digital territory,
- digital skills.
It will also continue to draw on the rollout of the unifying “Digital Wallonia” brand and the development of its online platform. The Minister for Digital Affairs presented Digital Wallonia 2019-2024 at the SHAKE Digital Wallonia event on 6 December 2018 in Namur.
Digital Wallonia 2015-2018. Results
Digital Wallonia’s first real achievement was to exemplify Wallonia’s digital ambition, through the different measures taken within the context of the strategy, its objectives and its priority measures.
The Digital Wallonia brand was created in order to fly the flag for digital Wallonia, supported by all of its partners on both a national and international stage.
Around twenty major projects have been launched, focusing on all 5 themes. All of these projects, the partners who have got involved and the quantifiable results are presented and regularly updated on the digitalwallonia.be platform.
Since 2016, the Digital Council has been meeting once a quarter to assess the progress of the measures that have already been defined and make recommendations on following them up.
A number of polls and surveys have been published to measure the impact of the measures taken on a regional level. The strategy also relies on the digitalwallonia.be platform, a fantastic showcase for Walloon businesses in the Walloon digital sector and ecosystem, which currently boasts more than 4,000 profiles of active digital stakeholders, including 2,000 businesses in the industry.
Digital Wallonia 2019-2024. Methodology
On the initiative of the Minister for Digital Affairs, the Agence du Numérique organised a Summer School for the Digital Wallonia Champions, to give stakeholders on the ground an opportunity to define and create the Walloon Government’s digital policy together. They drew up the main strategies to adopt and defined the key goals.
On this occasion, the 145 Digital Wallonia Champions were invited to pass on their feedback on the work done up until 2018, and put forward recommendations on what needs to be done between now and 2024 to support Wallonia’s growth and competitiveness through digital technology. All of these ideas were analysed and compiled by the AdN, who incorporated them into the Digital Wallonia 2019-2024 strategy, in collaboration with the CdN.
Digital Wallonia 2019-2024. Vision
Wallonia’s digital strategy strives to be ambitious, innovative and inclusive. Digital Wallonia is a comprehensive project designed to transform the region, the economy and society to boost its appeal, its competitiveness and the wellbeing of everyone, based on values including a cross-disciplinary approach, transparency, coherence, openness and flexibility.
Digital Wallonia 2019-2024. Cross-disciplinary challenges
Digital Wallonia 2019-2024 is structured around 8 cross-disciplinary challenges that form its structured framework and its key elements for all the decisions made and the measures taken within the five themes of Digital Wallonia.
- For strong, coherent, cross-disciplinary digital governance.Digital Wallonia’s ambition involves an approach to governance that is specific to digital policies in order to manage the speed at which this field evolves and make sure all sectors of Wallonia reap the rewards.
- Digital Society. For an inclusive, responsible, self-determining society.The digital transformation must be guided and supervised to support the major social disruption that it involves.
- For strong digital ecosystems.Wallonia needs to choose its areas of digital expertise and concentrate public and private resources on clearly identified ecosystems.
- Giga Region. Super-fast broadband for everyone as the bedrock of digital initiatives.The region’s connectivity forms the foundations of all the initiatives involved in the digital transformation, both for businesses and the public sector, not to mention individual citizens.
- For digital skills for everyone.In our modern societies, where digital technology is omnipresent, it becomes hard to live and work if we do not understand the language and codes.
- For data at the heart of actions and following up those actions.Data must be seen as an “essential infrastructure” for the Region similar to other tangible and intangible assets.
- For a comprehensive platform for Digital Wallonia.On the basis of a global value change and coherent ecosystems, the digitalwallonia.be platform needs to make it possible to identify, stimulate and showcase everyone involved in the digital transformation.
- A strong, attractive brand to embody digital Wallonia.Wallonia needs to assert its digital existence and its vocation thanks to a unique, strong brand that still respects or incorporates the identity of those that it encompasses.
Digital Wallonia 2019-2024. 5 themes and objectives
The 5 formative themes of Digital Wallonia are confirmed and make up the backbone of the 2019-2024 vision. They are broken down into 20 strategic objectives.
Wallonia needs to be able to rely on a strong, innovative digital sector in order to harness the added value of the digital economy, to the benefit of our region and all of its areas of activity. This involves consolidating the research sector by concentrating its resources on primary objectives and relying on digital ecosystems. The digital sector’s ambition must be both European and worldwide, thanks to those who are leading the way in the field of technology, start-ups showing real potential and the network of international hubs.
- Research and innovation.For an integrated vision and primary objectives for digital research.
- Value chain.For a value chain that incorporates the services offered by digital stakeholders.
- For a digital Wallonia with an international presence.
- Start-ups.For coherent support for blossoming start-ups.
- Technology showcase.For a technology showcase highlighting Wallonia’s digital excellence.
Wallonia needs to support and speed up the digital transformation of its businesses in all its different dimensions. The goal is to boost competitiveness and innovation in Walloon businesses using digital technology, including in particular by carrying on with initiatives that have already been launched, like enhancing their digital numeracy, supporting manufacturing businesses in their switch to Industry 4.0 and spreading online trade (Digital Commerce).
- Digital maturity.For a real ramp-up of the digital transformation in businesses.
- Competitiveness clusters.For digital competitiveness clusters “by design”.
- Digital commerce.For a value chain for digital commerce supply and demand in Wallonia.
Digital government services
Digital Wallonia offers a new experience when it comes to government services thanks to online services and the activation of public data. We need to offer Walloon citizens an experience that is integrated with their government services, regardless of the channel, process or level of power. We need to put data at the heart of government decisions, simplify the way it is gathered and guarantee its accessibility. This means relying on shared rules and a cross-disciplinary approach to governance (CIO), the main aim of which is to keep users happy.
- Online services.For an integrated vision for Wallonia’s public services.
- Public data.For the systematic openness and activation of public data.
- Digital expertise.For public service officials who are key players when it comes to digital technology for government services.
- IT governance.For integrated, cross-disciplinary governance of public service IT.
Digital Wallonia continues to implement a really transparent, ambitious policy for the digital development of the Walloon region thanks to the high quality fixed and mobile infrastructures in order to support the digital transformation of its businesses and its citizens, and turn Wallonia into a “Giga Region”.
- For a policy framework that encourages the roll-out of super-fast fixed and mobile broadband.
- Smart Region.For dynamic, collaborative and innovative governance for smart towns and cities.
- NWOW & Coworking.For a smart region that has adapted to the codes of the digital economy.
- E-health.For a Wallonia that offers digital healthcare services.
Digital skills need to be honed from a very early age and throughout an individual’s lifetime. Citizens are a region’s most valuable resource. Walloons need to become actively involved in the digital transformation by acquiring technological skills, adopting essential entrepreneurial habits, and getting to grips with the challenges and tools of digital citizenship.
- Guidance. For effective, unified guidance for Wallonia’s digital education.
- Digital school.For a cutting-edge infrastructure for the digital school.
- Digital inclusion.For digital skills for everyone.
- Transformation of industries.For the development of the digital skills needed by evolving industries.