Going Digital Project

Digital technologies and data are transformational. People, firms and governments live, interact, produce and work differently than in the past, and these changes are accelerating rapidly. An ecosystem of interdependent digital technologies underpins digital transformation; its constant evolution continues to drive economic and societal changes. This digital technology ecosystem both relies on and produces vast amounts of data, which have become an important source of economic and social value.

The OECD Going Digital project aims to help policy makers better understand the digital transformation that is underway and to develop appropriate policies to help shape a positive digital future. 

Since 2017, the project has supported policy makers in the quest to better understand digital transformation and the effects of digital technologies on our economies and societies, in an effort to shape a positive digital future. The project has benefitted from the expertise of almost every policy and measurement community at the OECD, the International Transport Forum and the International Energy Agency. Targeted policy advice in particular areas – labour markets, trade, finance, tax, consumer policy, SMEs, agriculture, health, public governance, competition, the environment – is complemented by analysis that brings together all of these distinct policy areas into a coherent whole. 

Project phases

The Going Digital Integrated Policy Framework and the OECD Going Digital Toolkit are key products that frame all of the OECD’s work on digital transformation.
The March 2019 Going Digital Summit marked the end of Phase I (2017-2018) with the release of Going Digital: Shaping Policies, Improving Lives and Measuring the Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for the Future.
Phase II (2019-2020) addressed new opportunities and challenges through analysis of frontier technologies, notably artificial intelligence and blockchain, with an ongoing focus on jobs, skills and social inclusion, as well as productivity, competition and market structures. A key achievement of Phase II was the launch of the OECD.AI Policy Observatory in February 2020. OECD.AI provides data and multi-disciplinary analysis to shape and share public policies for responsible, trustworthy AI.
In Phase III (2021-2022), the project focused on data and data flows as a driver for growth and well-being across policy domains, culminating in the OECD Digital Economy Ministerial meeting in December 2022 with the release of the report Going Digital to Advance Data Governance for Growth and Well-being and the Going Digital Guide to Data Governance Policy Making.
Now in its fourth phase (2023-2024), the Going Digital project looks at digital transformation and the policies to guide it from the perspectives of digital divides, alignment with climate change goals, and responsible technological development.

Ensuring a human-centric digital transition: Strengthening policies for a digital society (Phase IV, 2023-24)

Digital divides: Improving connectivity

Inclusive digital transformation requires high-quality broadband connectivity and widespread diffusion of digital technologies across and within countries. Despite progress in the past decade, important digital divides persist across the OECD. Building on the OECD Recommendation on Broadband Connectivity and broadband data portal, this pillar of Going Digital IV focuses on enhancing the evidence base on connectivity gaps at the sub-national level (e.g. urban-rural divides) and advancing policies to close them. It will deliver a harmonised approach and new and improved quality and coverage indicators for measuring spatial connectivity divides, and a set of policy recommendations to address them – across aspects such as investment, competition, and tailored approaches to improving broadband access.

Technology governance

This pillar builds a general understanding of how to govern emerging technologies well, i.e. in a manner that reaps their benefits while managing potential risks. The project is composed of modules on different facets of agile technology governance, including: adaptive governance mechanisms, technology foresight and strategic intelligence, private sector approaches and roles, and the case of AI in order to deepen understanding of the range and operation of emerging technology governance mechanisms.

Overall, this pillar will produce an umbrella report with a framework for and guidance on innovative emerging technology governance mechanisms, as well as detailed module reports. Each module in this pillar will contribute to the elaboration of the two parts of this umbrella report.

Digital and green: The twin transitions

The digital transformation could be a key enabler for reaching climate goals, thanks to technologies such as smart grids, sensors and artificial intelligence, and to digitally-induced changes in business models and consumption patterns. However, digital technologies impose a large and growing carbon footprint, linked to energy use of computing and digital waste.

This project pillar combines quantitative and qualitative data sources to improve the evidence on the contribution that digital technologies can make to the green transition, and to provide concrete policy recommendations on how to best accompany and support the twin transitions, and achieve a greener and more digital future.

Key publications