Ireland has been named as a “standout” country, in terms of the speed of its developing digital economy, in a study conducted for the Harvard Business Review. The study is built around an index, the Digital Evolution Index (DEI), created by the Fletcher School at Tafts University, which attempts to gauge the differing speeds at which individual countries are growing their digital economies. The index places Ireland among the “standout” countries (“countries that have shown high levels of digital development in the past and continue to remain on a upward trajectory”), alongside Singapore, Hong Kong, the U.S. and Israel.
The study stresses that the growth of the digital economy was extremely sporadic in 2014, “brisk in some countries, choppy in others.” The Digital Evolution Index used four main drivers to indicate which countries are developing their digital infrastructures rapidly, and which stalling: supply-side factors (access, fulfillment, and transactions infrastructure); demand side factors (consumer trends, fiance and digital/social media savviness); innovations; and institutions (effectiveness of government institutions in promoting growth of the digital sector.) Although the study finds most European countries to be stalling out (“countries who have achieved a high level of evolution in the past but are losing momentum and risk falling behind”), the position of Ireland in the fast lane offers a glowing review of our cultivation of a “smart”, digitally progressive economy.