Digital literacy key to success in Canada’s growing digital economy

Digital literacy key to success in Canada’s growing digital economy

Today’s post is the first in a series that will be examining the importance of digital literacy to Canada’s economy. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be interviewing key people to get their views on why digital literacy is important for businesses, non-profit organizations and even politics.

My first interview was with Justin Kozuch, lead researcher for Pixel to Product, a research project designed to obtain accurate and reliable data concerning the qualitative, quantitative and behavioural aspects of the Canadian digital media economy. Launched in May 2010, project researchers spent a year polling and surveying Canadian digital agency owners and the digital workforce to understand the size and scope of the industry.

Pixel to Product released their final report on May 25, 2011 and the results showed that Canada’s digital economy is strong and getting stronger. A few results in particular will be of interest to business owners:Digital economy data

  • Of the digital media agency owners surveyed, most were expecting huge revenue growth in 2011 and had already experienced significant growth in 2010 over 2009.
  • Of the members of the digital workforce surveyed, only 58.6% felt their employers were innovating enough – and 45.5% said if they could change one thing about their employment, it would be to have more time to hone their digital skills.
  • For the researchers one comment from the workforce really stood out:

 “I’d like to have more freedom to use digital technology to its full extent without having to deal with the red tape.”

For Kozuch the project’s results send a clear message to businesses – become digitally literate or be left behind. And literacy must be a priority at every level, including management.

“Digital media is evolving in a big way. I think we’ve gone past the era of ‘it’s just a fad, it will die off in no time’ thinking. For digital literacy to happen at the business level, there needs to be an open mindset and a company culture that supports it. Instead of saying: ‘we shouldn’t allow our employees to use Facebook’, management needs to say: ‘how can we leverage social media to engage with consumers, build relationships with customers and build awareness about our company?’. Digital literacy isn’t a by-product of being tech-savvy; it’s a by-product of being fortunate, and I think we often confuse the two.”

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