Embedding Digital Advantage: A Five-Stage Maturity Model for Digital Communities
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has the potential to offer citizens new ways with which to engage in the process of democracy. It is not sufficient that communities and citizens have access to ICT for the digital divide to be bridged; such communities need to also become literate in the new technologies. Resources need to be made available that are useful, interesting and relevant. Ultimately, communities need to be empowered to become more than receivers of information and services via technology; they must become producers of new knowledge and information. Such publications are then able to represent a community’s unique viewpoint to a wider audience.
This paper describes a five stage model for community ICT engagement and maturity. This model is non-linear and temporal and can be used as an audit of current community technology capability for assessing maturity and for establishing clear milestones within a community ICT framework. Such a model is useful for assessing and developing eDemocracy issues within individual groups and communities and as a way of mapping progress within a wider community, city or regional setting.