Digital Futures For Good: with Baroness Dido Harding and Baroness Anna Healy

Good Things Foundation launch their new conversation series, Digital Futures for Good, exploring the solutions to fix the digital divide. On our first episode we're joined by Baroness Dido Harding and Baroness Anna Healy.

Today, Good Things Foundation launch ‘Digital Futures for Good’ – a new in-depth conversation series supported by our Strategic Partners, Virgin Media O2.

The series explores what would it take to make a digitally included nation. Good Things’ Group CEO, Helen Milner joined Baroness Dido Harding and Baroness Anna Healy who shared their experience as part of the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee and their visions for a future Government when it comes to fixing the digital divide.

It’s self-evidently obvious that the economic case is really clear, the social case is really clear and actually there’s really good evidence that the general public wants this so that makes the political case really clear. So I’m mighty frustrated because it seems to me that for the best part of 15 years really governments haven’t acted on this.

Baroness Dido Harding on Digital Futures For Good


What do the experts say

We were delighted to be joined by digital inclusion experts Liz Williams, CEO, Future Dot Now and Hafsha Dadabhai Shaikh, Director, SmartLyte and Get Families Talking to get their reaction to the interview.

Why is [digital inclusion] so important? Well, it’s important because it’s an evolving world, and it allows us all to connect. It allows us to speak the same language. It bridges that gap between young and old and different communities. But more than that, digital inclusion enables a fairer, more equitable world where everyone has access and can improve their health, their wellbeing their employment opportunities, their educational aspirations and how it leans into the future. Generations as we know it transforms it changes lives and life chances, helps families and communities to aspire. So we’ve all got to be behind it.

Hafsha Dadabhai Shaikh, Director, SmartLyte

Our panel discussed the need to address digital inclusion, often agreeing with the Baronesses in their interview about the breadth of the issue, and how it will take many players at all levels to ensure that we can fix the digital divide.

It’s not a societal issue, it’s a system issue. The people who haven’t got foundational competence never catch up. As technology advances, that will create huge inequality.

Liz Williams, CEO, Future Dot Now

The Baronesses joined Good Things Foundation at a digital inclusion hub as part of their inquiry into digital inclusion and the cost of living. The visit bought the issue to life, and was referred to in their report and subsequent debates at the House of Lords. Both Baronesses expressed their frustrations at Government apathy for the digital exclusion, but both understood that it was a complicated issue, which required cross governmental working to understand how it affects many aspects of people’s lives: from loneliness, to keeping people living in poverty.

It’s been put on the ‘too hard’ step, it’s too complicated. It’s all about short-termism in our system at the moment, “What can we do now?” What we need to do is lay it all out, and say this is what needs to happen, with actionable steps.

Liz Williams, CEO, Future Dot Now

What’s coming up

Digital Futures for Good will see Helen with thought leaders, policy makers and experts in digital inclusion to highlight best practices and actionable solutions for enhancing digital access, literacy, and affordability.

With a UK general election in view, Digital Futures will spotlight leaders with a track record in delivering and advocating for digitally excluded communities, including:

  • Baroness Martha Lane Fox
  • Emma Revie, CEO, Trussell Trust
  • Representatives from national and local government.

Digital Futures For Good – the full picture

We will be hosting multiple interviews, and events, throughout the year – giving you the chance to feed into the conversation about how best we can fix the digital divide – together. If you have any thoughts or comments on the first episode, why not get in touch with us? Your feedback may be included in our report, wrapping up the series at the end of the year, or we may ask our up-coming guests your burning questions.

Get in touch!