During the first ENTELIS seminar, recently held in Bologna, it happened again…. Between 50 and 60 persons in the room with different abilities, different cultural and professional backgrounds and different interest in the digital divide. We had people from academia, service providers, some end users and even some policy makers, each with a personal way of thinking, of presenting, of asking questions. Some people might have experienced a sense of alienation, but gradually during the programme the participants discovered that the whole seminar was actually an exercise in co-learning. The biggest discovery was that although the organisors had tried to narrow down the topic of the seminar -“digital skills development of persons with disabilities”-, there are hundreds of ways to explore the topic and thousends of aspects to consider. I don’t exclude that the approach of bringing different stakeholders together and letting them present and talk to each other might have left someone unsatisfied. But the challenge we have to address in ENTELIS is to make it work. We have to find strategies to make this meaningfull, as only through the recognition of the role of each stakeholder, we can hope to find new ways to bridge the digital divide. Make sure you’re there when we set the next steps!
By Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, Entelis Partner AIAS.