Infrastructure: has the government got its priorities wrong?
I have nothing against HS2 per se. I have nothing against new toll roads per se. But surely a world class digital infrastructure (including super broadband and mobile) has to be the number one priority in the second decade of the 21st century?
And yet the government is doing almost nothing about it except to say it is the responsibility of local government. David Robertson at Oxfordshire County Council is trying his best, but this is one area where the issues cannot be solved at a local level. It needs an integrated national strategy and our local MPs are of no help in this. Some countries – especially in Scandinavia are a decade ahead of the UK.
So my first step would be to divert the £30bn destined for HS2 to digital – and by the way this would be a much better strategy for the anti-HS2 lobby to follow than playing NIMBY games.
Do I have a vested interest? You bet I do! But it is in the national interest too and particularly Oxfordshire’s which has such an important education sector. Here goes:
LeaderShape is a leadership development organisation, and although we do our work primarily at a senior level and the work is often bespoke and customised, there is a growing demand because of globalisation and the cost of “man-hours” to increasingly provide virtual, remote and distance learning environments and interventions.
There is a lot of dispute about whether remote & distance learning is effective. The reality is that it is happening and is the future and therefore organisations like LeaderShape are putting a lot of effort into understanding neuroscience better so that the environments and interventions we develop are indeed effective.
There are many thousands of organisations in the UK involved in training, people development and education which realise the future is remote / distance learning – from the niche companies like LeaderShape to the large universities and business schools. It is a big industry in the UK, and worldwide probably only second to the US. Many other service organisations and large companies with their own in-house learning and development departments have similar requirements.
None of this can be done effectively without a world class digital infrastructure. We risk losing one of our most important export sectors as well as the ability to effectively educate, train and develop our own workforce.
LeaderShape has a big opportunity in India for example. It’s success will depend on the digital infrastructure. Today I had a Skype call with business associates in New Delhi and London. I got cut off here in Burford (a town of 4,000 people) because the broadband service is not reliable (let alone high speed) and went down for a few minutes. It was kind of embarrassing reconnecting with India to tell them the fault was because of our useless infrastructure – when we are trying to sell them hi-tech learning.
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Posted by John Knights on March 28, 2012 | Comments Off