What is this digital world 5, 10 or 15 years from now? The digital has already become so integrated into our worlds it has slipped out of our consciousness and embedded itself into how we think, plan and act. Devices will work even more without us thinking about them and that is a danger. Behind the scenes remain the power players with little transparency and can we trust them. How then can government find a balance between guiding and governing? Future digital infrastructure should feel like we treat our ‘home’, where you have a key through which you enter the door. And crucially it is ‘your key’. We realise that “government light” has not served us well and not led us to where we need to be. Its consequences with corporations in charge have in part been catastrophic. This new world requires government and corporations to have a completely different relationship. “Government Light” has not led us where we need to be with corporations leading governments by the nose. That needs to stop – our challenge is to empower governments to institute a ‘golden age’ of the digital commons and the common good.
CEO/ Creative Commons
Catherine Stihler OBE is the CEO of Creative Commons. She has been an international champion for openness as a legislator and practitioner for over 20 years.
Born in Scotland in 1973, Catherine was educated at the world-renowned St Andrews University, where she was awarded a Master of Arts (MA) with Honours in Geography and International Relations, and later a Master of Letters (MLitt) in International Security Studies. She also has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Open University.
After graduating she worked in the British House of Commons as a researcher before successfully standing for election as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland in 1999, representing the UK Labour Party. At the European Parliament in Brussels she became one of Scotland’s longest-serving and most respected legislators.
She was elected Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, working on digital policy where she prioritised the Digital Single Market, digital skills, better accessibility of digital products for the disabled, and citizen online data protection and privacy. She founded both the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform and the parliament’s All-Party Library Group, promoting and advocating for the importance of libraries in the new digital age.
Catherine took on a lead role in the debate on copyright in the European Union’s (EU) Digital Single Market, serving as Rapporteur for the Internal Market Committee and standing up for over 500million European citizens.
Catherine was instrumental in securing graphic health warnings on cigarette packets in 28 countries and delivered braille on pharmaceutical packaging across the EU. She played a pivotal role in ensuring the World Health Organization (WHO) recognised sudden infant death syndrome and led the first campaign in the European institutions on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – one of the world’s biggest killers. A passionate European, she was one of the six politicians whose court case to revoke Article 50 on the UK’s departure from the European Union resulted in a ground-breaking judgement by the European Court of Justice.
While serving as an MEP, Catherine was also elected to serve as the 52nd Rector of the University of St Andrews between 2014 and 2017, and will serve as Senior Lay member on the university court from August 2020. In 2018 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews.
In 2019, Catherine was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her services to politics.
In 2019, she stood down from the European Parliament to become Chief Executive Officer of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Catherine transformed the Open Knowledge Foundation in just 18 months, redefining its vision and mission to produce a new strategic direction, reengaging its global chapters and increasing the worldwide profile of the organisation.
Catherine joined Creative Commons in 2020.
Executive Director, Data-driven Innovation initiative/University of Edinburgh
Jarmo Eskelinen is a smart city & open data expert, leading the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative at the University of Edinburgh. The 15-year, £660m DDI is part of the Edinburgh City Region Deal, supporting organisations in ten industry sectors to innovate with data, from creative industries to financial services, healthcare and robotics.
Previously Jarmo has been the CITO of the Future Cities Catapult, founder and CEO of Forum Virium Helsinki innovation lab of the City of Helsinki, and Executive Director of the Aalto University Media Centre Lume.
Jarmo is a member of the Smart London Board, board member of the Open Knowledge Foundation, one of the founders of the Open & Agile Smart Cities network and former President of the European Network of Living Labs ENoLL. He loves cycling in cities.