Socio-economic transformation in a digitalised environment: analysis of Lithuania’s situation and insights on the future
This study aims to cover the current state of affairs in the IT ecosystem and digitalisation in Lithuania and to formulate the possible future scenarios for national digitalisation. For this purpose, an analysis of quantitative socio-economic indicators and an overview of institutions and documents shaping Lithuania’s digitalisation policy are made. Next, the paper presents the context of digitalisation policy by covering two flagship cases of Denmark and Estonia as the EU’s digital leaders. The qualitative research part of the study consists of expert interviews with IT ecosystem participants, as well as representatives of research and the public sector. Based on the analysis of the above data, certain bottlenecks to the progress of digitalisation are distinguished. They include the fact that digitalisation is not a national priority and the lack of a prominent ICT strategy as highlighted by the IT sector; cultural constraints, such as hindrances to communication and cooperation between the stakeholders, and economic constraints, which translate into a mismatch between public and private sector capacity and budgets. The interviews suggest that the following policies should be adopted for ensuring digitalisation at present and in the future: • make the strategic approach to ICT a national priority; • improve the outcomes of education, science and research, especially in STEM fields, with a view to strengthening digital competences across the board and professionally and reducing the digital divide; • address the lack of the human capital in the IT sector through STEM upskilling at all levels and through attracting talent; • focus on flagship digitalisation initiatives in the public sector and communication across borders; • provide secure and comprehensive opening of data to the scientific and IT business sector in a qualitative rather than quantitative sense. Finally, the paper offers three scenarios for the future of digitalisation in Lithuania, labelled as the Northern Silicon Valley, the Mousy IT Workers and the Wild West. The paper also provides practical policy guidance for future digitalisation.
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Committee for the Future of the Seimas (CFF-Lith)