Digital Inclusion Outcomes Framework
The Digital Inclusion Outcomes Framework describes how we will measure digital inclusion and its benefits in New Zealand.
Digital inclusion initiatives focus on enabling non-users and sporadic users of the internet to become regular users.
The initiatives to remove the barriers to digital inclusion in New Zealand are described in the Digital Inclusion Blueprint and the Digital Inclusion Action Plan.
The Digital Inclusion Outcomes Framework (the Framework) helps us understand how to successfully progress this work through making evidence-based decisions.
Vision for digital inclusion in New Zealand
Our vision for digital inclusion in New Zealand is that all of us have what we need to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the digital world.
This vision encompasses a notion of digital beyond the internet and allows room for the definition of digital inclusion to adapt as society’s digital requirements change.
Current definition of what it means to be digitally included
For the purposes of the Framework, being digitally included in 2019 means having convenient access to the internet and the ability to confidently use it through devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets.
The 4 elements necessary for a person to be considered digitally included
Research tells us people need a range of conditions in order to be considered digitally included. We have grouped these into 4 ‘elements’.
Motivation is about understanding how the internet can help us connect, learn or access opportunities, and consequently have a meaningful purpose to engage with the digital world.
The motivation element can be broken down further into the following aspects:
- Perceived value: People see value in using the internet.
- Awareness: People are aware of a range of information and services that are valuable to them on the internet.
Access is about having access to digital devices, services, software and content that meet our needs at a cost we can afford. It’s also about being able to connect to the internet where we work, live and play.
The access element can be broken into 3 key aspects:
- People can conveniently connect to the internet when and where they need to.
- People have access to a quality internet connection that has suitable speed and remains constant.
- Affordability: People can afford an internet-enabled device and the connection costs.
- Accessibility: People can successfully access and use online content in a way that meets their needs — for example, they are not prevented from accessing information because they have a disability.
Skills are about having the digital know-how to use the internet in ways that are appropriate and beneficial for each of us.
The skills element can be broken down into 6 key aspects:
- Foundational digital skills: People are able to use the internet (for example, they know how to use devices, operating systems and browsers, and connect to WiFi).
- Communication: People are able to communicate, collaborate and share using online systems and tools (for example, word processors, email, social media and messaging apps).
- Handling information and content: People are able to find, manage and store digital information and content securely (for example, use search engines, create files and folders).
- Transacting: People are able to register and apply for services, buy and sell goods and services, and administer and manage transactions online (for example, online banking).
- Problem-solving: People are able to find solutions to problems using digital tools and online services (for example, use a search engine to solve a problem, or do an online tutorial).
- Being safe and legal online: People are able to stay safe, legal and confident online (for example, they can use different passwords and can authenticate their identity, and they do not use content without permission).
These skills are condensed from the United Kingdom’s essential digital skills framework, which has around 10 sub-skills for each skill area.
Trust is about having trust in the internet and online services. It’s also about having the digital literacy to manage personal information and to understand and avoid scams, harmful communication and misleading information. This element also touches on the themes of online safety, digital understanding, confidence and resilience.
The trust element can be broken down into 2 key aspects:
- Confidence: People are confident to do all that they want to do online.
- Understanding: People understand what steps to take if they face significant challenges, and they maintain their confidence.
Aspects in the trust element overlap with aspects in the skills element. For example, being safe and legal online is an important part of both these elements.
We currently believe that an individual’s wellbeing is increased by being digitally included. We believe this because people who do not participate digitally — for whatever reason — are missing out on opportunities and services that are only available to those who do.
Evidence in the United Kingdom shows that people who are digitally included save time, increase earning potential and have a higher likelihood of employment.
Possible wellbeing outcomes from digital inclusion
Some examples of how we believe digital inclusion (resulting in more people using the internet) could have a positive impact on wellbeing in New Zealand:
- Digital inclusion could build social capital (increase networks of relationships and build trust among people, enabling New Zealand society to function more effectively).
- Digital inclusion could increase civic participation within our communities by increasing engagement in political discussions.
Possible harmful outcomes from digital inclusion
We will need to understand how harmful behaviour in the digital world could prevent people from going online or negatively impact their wellbeing once they are online.
An example of how digital inclusion (more people using the internet) could negatively impact wellbeing can be seen in a 2017 report showing how young people have been harmed in New Zealand through being the target of online harassment and through receiving unexpected, disturbing content.
Another example is how hate groups can use the internet to grow, carry out, and promote acts of violence.
Following the Christchurch terror attack in March 2019, officials across government are working closely together with the private sector (including social media companies and internet service providers) to address digital safety issues. We will consider the outcome of the Royal Commission into the attack on the Christchurch mosques, and have already redirected our work on digital rights.
Testing the hypothesis
Since the 1990s, organisations around New Zealand have been working on initiatives to remove the barriers to digital inclusion. This work is spread across community organisations, businesses, libraries, philanthropic organisations, charities, and local and central government.
Despite this breadth of activity, we still don’t have enough evidence to know which initiatives would be most effective in achieving the outcomes we are looking for.
It’s important we test our hypothesis and make sure that digital inclusion initiatives do in fact increase wellbeing in New Zealand. We hope the Framework will help us build this evidence and evaluate the relationship between digital inclusion and wellbeing.
Purpose of the Framework
The purpose of the Framework is to help us to:
- understand and measure the impact of government’s digital inclusion initiatives in New Zealand
- have a common way to be able to communicate about digital inclusion in New Zealand and progress the work
- understand the consequences of an increased number of digitally included people and how it affects the lives of individuals and society as a whole
- see where there is room for improvement and where to best focus initiatives to get the outcomes we are looking for
- incorporate Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview), which accounts for Māori digital inclusion-related issues and aspirations.
Outcomes in the Framework
The Framework describes the short-, medium- and long-term outcomes we expect from the work to remove the barriers to digital inclusion.
Our short-term outcome is to increase the number of people who have one or more of the 4 elements (motivation, skills, access, trust) that are necessary for people to be considered digitally included.
Our medium-term outcome is to increase the number of people who are digitally included, or who have convenient access to the internet and the ability to confidently use it through devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets.
Our long-term outcome is that digital inclusion will result in an improvement to the wellbeing of individuals and New Zealand as a nation. Figure 1 below gives a visual description of the Framework.
> Detailed description of graph
This graph gives a visual summary of the short-term, medium-term and long-term outcomes government expects to achieve following the planned activities to remove barriers to digital inclusion in New Zealand.
1. Activities: What gets done
- Initiatives: Initiatives that enable people to access and use the internet.
- Legislative / regulatory / policy tools: Tools that support or improve government norms and practices so that people are enabled to access and use the internet.
2. Short-term outcome: What people receive
- Increased motivation: People understand how the internet and digital technology can help them connect, learn or access opportunities.
- Increased access: People have access to digital devices, services, software and content that meet their needs.
- Increased skills: People have the know-how to use the internet and digital technology in ways that are appropriate and beneficial to them.
- Increased trust: People trust the internet and online services, and they have the digital literacy to manage personal information.
3. Medium-term outcome: Changes in people’s lives
- Increase the number of people who are digitally included: People, whānau and communities have convenient, reliable access to affordable, accessible digital devices and can confidently use them in their day-to-day lives.
4. Long-term outcome: Increase in wellbeing
- Improved wairoa (wellbeing) to people’s everyday lives: Improvement to wellbeing is seen across multiple domains, such as:
- jobs and earnings
- civic engagement
- social connections.
- Improved wairoa (wellbeing) in the future: Increased natural, social, human and physical / financial capitals through:
- kaitiakitanga (stewardship of all our resources)
- manaakitanga (care for others)
- ōhanga (prosperity)
- whanaungatanga (the connections between us).
Including the Māori world view of wellbeing in the Framework
Māori concepts of waiora (wellbeing) overlap with the wellbeing domains defined in New Zealand’s Living Standards Framework.
However, in Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview) there are important factors to consider when we evaluate the impact of digital inclusion on the wellbeing of Māori.
The Framework will need to incorporate this worldview.
One of the ways we will make sure Māori voices are included is through Te Whata Kōrero, a platform that asks tāngata whenua (Māori people) to provide leadership alongside government on digital inclusion-related issues and aspirations.
The following examples about the significance of Māori culture to tāngata whenua have been identified as instrumental to Māori wellbeing. These will be explored through Te Whata Kōrero.
Māori customs and practices
Tikanga (Māori customs and practices) — and how it is practiced in New Zealand today — is a unique Māori wellbeing outcome that has been shown to have a significant impact on Māori wellbeing.
Collective aspirations are at the forefront of intergenerational Māori wellbeing. This is recognised by the work of Tūhono (meaning to link or to connect), an organisation that advocates for and contributes to a network of Māori individuals, iwi organisations and other entities who engage with each other in fostering the identity, wellbeing and potential of Māori.
Statistics New Zealand measures wellbeing from a Māori cultural perspective through its post-census Māori Social Survey, Te Kupenga.
Māori wellbeing outcomes measured in Te Kupenga are based on theories developed in New Zealand over the last 20 to 30 years. These theories have been influenced by thought leaders such as Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, Professor Sir Mason Durie, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith.
The New Zealand Treasury is in the process of integrating principles that are important to Māori wellbeing into the Living Standards Framework. Their prototype framework, He Ara Waiora — A Pathway Towards Wellbeing, explores how the Māori worldview can bring a more comprehensive perspective of wellbeing to public policy.
The Treasury has signalled in their report ‘Our People, our Country, Our Future’ that “further work is needed on…fuller and richer representations of Te Ao Māori perspectives”.
Māori cultural capital
Māori cultural capital is about Māori identity, history, beliefs and traditions. It is important to Māori because preserving and increasing cultural capital impacts the future wellbeing of Māori. The concept is not currently part of any wellbeing framework but is noted as an important consideration for Māori in Mason Durie’s article, ‘Measuring Māori Wellbeing’.
We have yet to understand the impact of digital inclusion on Māori cultural capital. One possible positive impact could be the digital preservation and dissemination of Māori stories.
Whether cultural capital should be included as an element of wellbeing is something we will only be exploring for Māori, given their strong emphasis on culture and the relationship they have with the Crown through Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi).
In evaluating wellbeing, a Māori worldview considers not only the individual point of view, but also that of the collective. The points of view of iwi (tribe), hapū (subtribe), and whānau (family and extended family) are important to Māori.
Mason Durie’s article, ‘Measuring Māori Wellbeing’, gives an example of this:
“A way to measure the wellbeing of whānau…is to assess the collective capacity to perform tasks that are within the scope and influence of whānau.”
Treaty of Waitangi
We must also consider Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) when measuring Māori wellbeing. Our understanding of the Treaty continues to evolve. How we continue to implement the agreed social, cultural and economic rights is critical to the intergenerational wellbeing of Māori. We need to monitor and nurture the implementation of these rights.
Background to the Framework
How the Framework was developed
The design of the Framework was shaped by feedback about the Digital Inclusion Blueprint and developed in consultation with experts and practitioners. It also drew from ideas in overseas literature and from the work to create a digital inclusion outcomes framework in the United Kingdom.
The Framework describes the world from an individual’s point of view. It is not concerned with the delivery of digital or technological solutions. We are interested in how being digitally included changes people’s lives, and in making sure that this changes people’s lives for the better.
For example, we are interested in how many people are confidently using the internet and whether this brings benefits to their lives. Our focus is not on whether the infrastructure makes internet connectivity available to them.
This approach puts the onus on designing well for people. It is not about ticking boxes when solutions are delivered.
Measuring the Framework
We will measure and monitor the outcomes described in the Framework to understand the state of digital inclusion in New Zealand and how it impacts individuals’ and the nation’s wellbeing.
Our first report showing this data will be made available by January 2020.
The table below lays out the indicators we will use to measure:
- wellbeing at an individual level and at a national level in New Zealand
- the number of people who are considered digitally included in New Zealand
- the number of people in New Zealand who possess one or more of the 4 elements (access, skills, motivation and trust) that define a digitally included person.
We still need to develop the questions and research techniques in order to obtain accurate data for these indicators. This process may result in some changes to the indicators.
Table 1: Indicators of digital inclusion
|Section of the Outcomes Framework||Indicators|
|Increase in the number of people who are digitally included||
Evolution of the Framework
The Framework has been built on limited evidence. We have hypothesised what leads to increasing the number of digitally included people in New Zealand based on what we currently know, and — in turn — what affect we believe digital inclusion will have on wellbeing in the country.
The desired outcomes in the Framework will gradually change over time as we gather new evidence and build a more comprehensive understanding of wellbeing that includes the Māori worldview (Te Ao Māori).