A global policy paper by an Asian tech giant asserts that archetyping national characteristics can sharpen the focus of national digitalization policies.

Improving digital infrastructure should be central to a country’s national infocomm technology (ICT) policy—it will help power national economic recoveries and enhance resilience. “Think digital. Think archetype. Your digital economy model.”

These concepts and catchphrases are part of the message that tech giant Huawei has recently unveiled in its global policy study of digital economies. The report is supposed to offer a novel approach to digital transformation (DX), and provides detailed policy guidance applicable to all countries.

The 7 country archetypes

The report begins with the recognition and definition of seven country archetypes, designed to act as a reference model that countries can adapt based on their current situation. The digital economy archetypes are: Innovation Hubs, Efficient Prosumers, Service Powerhouses, Global Factories, Business Hubs, ICT Patrons and ICT Novices. Each differs in its presence or dominance in the ICT value-chain step.

According to the report, nations need to develop digital value creation paths that align with their most suitable archetypes, leveraging their inherent strengths, but anchored by their economic and technological realities.

Readers are told that the importance of digital-economy policies varies fundamentally between the seven archetypes. Different combinations of policies should be considered for different archetypes. Policy makers then need to formulate policies, laws and regulations across four interrelated policy dimensions: technology, capabilities, ecosystem and industry. These, according to the authors, are the driving forces underpinning national digital transformation.

Said Kurt Baes, Partner, Arthur D. Little—the consultancy that collaborated in the study: “Identification of a country’s archetype helps tailor the recommendations for digital economy policies to ensure they are best aligned with its needs. We have also developed a tool to identify 200+ countries/regions’ archetypes as part of this study.”

According to Baes, accelerating the transition to a digital economy “will also boost industrial growth and productivity, improve societal well-being and benefit consumers via cost and time savings.”

A compendium of best DX practices

The report goes on to outline a strategic approach for developing digital economies for all countries based on their potential archetypes. It also recommends an overarching policy framework tailored towards each.

Additionally, examples are provided of how countries have successfully transitioned across archetypes. In particular, it provides guidance for developing a digital strategy tailored to the country that reflects a whole-of-government approach to policy making in the digital age.

Finally, a repository of best-practice digital-economy policies from around the world based on ‘proven efficacy’, accompanies the research recommendations.

Said Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board, Huawei: “Huawei operates in over 170 countries around the world and in most of those for many years. We deeply recognize that each country is unique as are the challenges faced by each government’s leaders. We hope that this report will provide a valuable contribution to policy discussions and that it will aid better decision-making and deeper private and public sector collaboration.”

“Successful digital economies require a whole range of infrastructure and capabilities, but countries often have scarce resources and finite funds. Choosing and prioritizing focus areas is therefore key” said Rajesh Duneja, Partner, Arthur D. Little.

Other schools of thought

While Huawei’s paper focuses on macro-economic archetyping, IT industry stalwarts and experts offer broad views that focus on other aspects of congealing national digitalization masterplans. These include IT culture, fresh approaches to data management, digital-only paradigms, and the perennial priorities of leadership and design thinking.

DigiconAsia.net aims to keep readers connected to all aspects of thought leadership on DX and its convergence into an empowering digital future. When one size really does not fit all (based on cultural, socio-political and global pressures), the best way forward is to broaden our knowledge base and cherry-pick the best ideas for rapid prototyping and ACTION.