Digital futures : e-commerce and sustainable development
This report comprises a critical commentary and appraisal of my DProf project "Digital Futures: e-commerce and sustainable development". It should be viewed alongside the evidence of achievement from the project. There are six items of evidence contained in the project folder alongside this report: i. A brochure produced for the project launch on 1 February 2000 2. "Mind over Matter" -a pamphlet by Charles Leadbeater published part-way through the project in September 2000 (Leadbeater. 2000) 3. "Dot-com ethics" -a pamphlet by James Wilsdon published part-way through the project in January 2001 (Wilsdon. 2001) 4. A brochure produced for the final project conference on 1 March 2001 5. A summary reportwhich draws out the cross-cutting conclusions and recommendations (Wilsdon & Miller. 2001) 6. "Digital Futures: living in a dot-com world"- a book containing the full research findings of the project (ed. Wilsdon. 2001) The overarching aim of the Digital Futures project was to investigate the complex web of issues surrounding e-commerce and sustainable development, and recommend ways in which government and business could maximise the sustainability benefits, and minimise the costs, of the emerging digital economy. The project drew together a consortium of government departments, companies, think-tanks and research organisations. Its formal activities ran from 1 October 1999 to i March 2001, and consisted of three main phases: Phase 1 (i October iQQQ- f1 January 2000) -A detailed scoping paper was prepared on the key issues relating to e-commercea nd sustainable development. -A consortium of think-tanks and research organisations was established to undertake research into the various aspects of the debate. -Fifteen corporate partners were recruited to support the project, and participate in the research process. -UK Government support and funding was obtained for Phases 2&3. Phase 2 (1 February- 15 September 2000) -Each of the eight research organisations was commissioned to produce a detailed paper on a particular theme. -Detailed research was carried out using a variety of methodological approaches (desk-based analysis, interviews, opinion polling etc.) -Project partners in government and business were actively involved in the research to ensure it reflected a diversity of views. Phase 3 (i6 September 2000 - 1 March 2001) -A series of workshops were held with project stakeholders, to discuss the research findings of Phase 2. -The eight research reports were edited into a book. -A summary report was written, drawing out the main conclusions and recommendations. -A one-day conference was held on 1 March 2001 for 200 decision-makers from government, business, academia and the voluntary sector. My role within the project was that of overall co-ordinator and editor of the book and summary report. I was also the lead researcher on one of the eight research themes. Whilst the project was underway, and in the year that has elapsed since its formal completion, I have been reflecting on the lessons learned. This report is a critical commentary based on that process of reflection. It consists of an introduction to the project, an outline of its aims, objectives and methodology, an account of the project's main activities, and full details of the project's results and conclusions. The main outcomes of the project were a book and summary report (see evidence of achievement), which offered the first comprehensive analysis of the relationship between e-commerce and sustainable development. The third significant outcome of the project was a one-day conference exploring these issues. The project also led to a range of follow-up research and practical activities, which are detailed in the final chapter. The final chapter also includes a reflection of the impact the project has had on my sphere of professional activity, and on myself as a researcher and practitioner.