Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lisbon to the People; via Broadband and Web 2.0

The "Lisbon Strategy" alias "the strategy for growth and jobs" is resulting in growth, does create jobs, but is not something that the Europeans would care about. I tried to run "lisbon strategy" through Google Trends and the result was:

Your terms - "lisbon strategy" - do not have enough search volume to show graphs.

Translation: nobody cares. Very few people know that the strategy sets targets such as investing 3% of GDP in R&D, that it calls for 70% employment, for 25% reduction in administrative burden or 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The strategy will be updated in spring 2008 under the Slovenian presidency. The discussions about the update started earlier this year. Portugal (as the current presidency) and Slovenia (as the next) established good cooperation. On Tuesday the Commission published its view on the past and future of the Strategy that is taking many of those discussions into account.

As a very early adopter of the Internet, contributor to some of its earliest services, computer geek and blogger I particularly welcome the following:

information and communication technologies, driven by high-speed internet are key to raising productivity and stimulating innovation in Europe. Too many small businesses and citizens are not yet connected to high-speed internet which hampers their development and their innovation potential. Alongside increasing competition in telecoms markets, national plans are needed to ensure that, by 2010, 30% of Europe's population uses high-speed internet.

and

Member States should ... as part of their National reform Programs, set national targets for high-speed internet usage aiming at a 30% penetration rate of the EU population and connection of all schools by 2010.

This is the kind of goal setting the internet generation understands! It will support the web 2.0 type of open innovation, living labs etc. etc. It shows the understanding that the IP infrastructure is essential. If one wants to develop the so-much-talked-about services, one needs good infrastructure to build on. Germany built the highways. BMWs, Audis and Mercedeses followed.

One should not be modest in the interpretation of the word "high-speed". Member states should encourage investment into new fiber optic networks that allow for multimedia services, video on demand and HDTV. High speed should mean 20 mbits or more.

Interpreted as 2 mbits, which is what the good old telcos can provide hands down, will not stimulate investment. Regardless if they are split into a company that is offering the dated copper to anyone who cares to become a virtual ISP and competes with other ISPs on the same old lines. 2 mbits would not stimulate the building of alternative infrastructures and competition among infrastructures. Also, taking into account that Slovenia today stands at 26% broadband internet access, 30% for EU is not very ambitious.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lisbon Strategy: The Case for Creativity

One of the themes somehow neglected in the Lisbon strategy to date has been creativity. Indeed there has been much discussion about knowledge, r&d and innovation, but creativity is more than this. At some point I'd like to write a longer post about this, however, for now just let me share some slides.

The deck shared is a basis for three presentations I did lately, one last week at the Future of Europe Summit in Andorra, one today for Heads of delegations of the Commission to member states and one at the Pre-presidency conference, both in Ljubljana.

The slides also include a discussion on the priority areas of the updated Lisbon Strategy, a view on its structure etc.