New platform gives policymakers and innovators expert analysis on the impact of technology on UK society

Written by Eleanor Crouch, Digital Marketing and Content Coordinator at Digital Leaders

First platform to give policymakers and innovators expert analysis on the impact of technology on society.

  • Corsham Institute (Ci) and RAND Europe launch the Observatory for a Connected Society, bringing together all the latest research, analysis and expert comment on a connected society in one place.
  • ‘Connected society’ refers to all aspects of our lives that now rely on digital technologies, services and tools.
  • Findings from the Ci 2017 Thought Leadership programme highlight issues around the pace of tech change, trust, digital skills and inequalities.

The first ever interactive app and online platform focusing on the impact of technology on society is being launched today (Thursday 12 October) at the House of Lords.

Ci and RAND Europe’s new Observatory for a Connected Society, developed with the support of Disciple Media, brings together curated research, analysis and thinking from leading experts on the impact of digital technologies, services and tools on society.

As technology-driven change accelerates, it is transforming all parts of our daily life: from how we communicate and receive news and information, to how we shop, bank and access public services. It brings huge opportunities, but also significant challenges.

The Observatory for a Connected Society will enable policymakers, private and public sector leaders, academics and researchers to access everything they need to know about the most important tech and digital issues, informing their thinking, decisions and actions. The Observatory includes:

  • Authoritative, curated news and research in one place
  • Analysis and insights based on the latest evidence, case studies and data
  • Commentary from high-profile thinkers, sector leaders and subject matter experts
  • Details of the most important upcoming events, conferences, consultations and other activities.

Alongside the Observatory, Ci and RAND Europe will also today launch their ‘Building our Connected Society’ report, which draws from the findings of their 2017 Thought Leadership Programme to highlight a range of opportunities, challenges and trends for a society increasingly reliant on digital technologies.

These include:

  • The challenges posed by the pace of technological change across all sectors and all parts of society, and the difficulties for policy in keeping pace with this change.
  • The potential of digital technologies to provide significant benefits in some parts of society against the potential to amplify negative social and economic effects on others – whether through the lack of internet connectivity, lower levels of skills or reduced confidence and motivation.
  • The risks around data and ethics when the public uses digital technologies, with low public trust in the organisations and institutions that handle personal data online.
  • The need to define and mainstream a shared set of societal norms and standards when using
    digital technologies.
  • The need to provide information and training to help individuals critically challenge online
    material and deal more effectively misinformation and extreme views.
  • The digital skills gap between the older and younger generation, with younger people often able to use and understand digital technologies far better and faster than the older generations and, in some cases, even their teachers.

Rachel Neaman, CEO of the Corsham Institute, says:

“Ci is working for a fair, inclusive, prosperous and creative society, built on trust and security. We are uniquely placed through our expert research, partnerships and community-based projects to work with all sectors to ensure that the impact of technology is felt equally across society.”

“The Observatory for a Connected Society is an exciting opportunity to give all those with an interest in the future of our connected society access to the latest and best thinking in one place, to inform their activities. The app and online resource combine information and data with analysis from a range of leading voices across government, academia, the not-for-profit sector and industry. I am confident that the Observatory for a Connected Society will become the leading authority on research, news and insight related to a connected society.”

Hans Pung, President of RAND Europe, says:

“The Observatory for a Connected Society aims to help policymakers stay ahead of the game through rapidly providing the very best research and expertise on the connected society. It will highlight the future opportunities and threats from digital technologies, and the potential impact on society. We look forward to laying the intellectual foundations for the Observatory for a Connected Society, which will be the ‘one-stop shop’ for research, insight and analysis on all things digital.”

Digital Minister Matt Hancock says:

“From Cyber security and e-commerce, to Fintech and Artificial Intelligence – the UK’s worldleading digital economy is one of our great success stories. In order to sustain it, we must ensure all our sectors have the skills and knowledge they need to make the most of digital technology.”

“I welcome this initiative from the Corsham Institute and RAND Europe, and their commitment to helping all sectors navigate their way through the challenges ahead.”

Benji Vaughan, CEO of Disciple Media, says:

“Disciple was founded to provide the tools for special interest groups to create their own app-based communities. With the support of UK Cloud and MyLife Digital, we have created a unique digital platform that delivers community, trust and security for The Observatory for a Connected Society and its members. We are excited to see the impact this community makes in the coming years.”

The findings from the ‘Building our Connected Society’ report reflect on four Thought Leadership discussions which took place earlier this year. These covered digital learning, open science, digital currency and civic engagement. The four discussions, held at St. George’s House, Windsor Castle, were attended by over 100 representatives from industry, academia, the not-for-profit sector and government with an interest in the future of the UK’s connected society.

To view the ‘Building our Connected Society’ report and a summary of discussions from all four thought leadership programmes, along with more details on Ci and RAND Europe’s work, visit:

The Observatory for a Connected Society can be found at the following links:

Download the App on Apple Download the App on Android



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