How it began
The first national IT-summit in Germany was held on the 18th December 2006 at the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in Potsdam. To reach the ambitious goal set beforehand of becoming the leading business, academic and research location in the ICT-sector worldwide, high-level representatives of the German government and the economy were called upon to clear the path for economic growth and employment, to develop seminal areas of growth and address areas of key interest in the course of the summit. In doing so eight (later nine) task groups were formed, with each of them addressing different critical issues within the ICT-topic such as “IT and SMEs”, “Service- and user-friendly IT”, or “E-Government”.
Every group had to contribute a working draft by the end of the summit, including a profound analysis of the initial situation, addressing the areas of key interest as well as the recommended course of action concerning the main topic each of the groups was working on. The summit was concluded with the so-called “Potsdam Theses”, a commonly formulated declaration by all of the eight task groups, highlighting a first bundle of necessary measures that address the critical areas of key interest being identified in the respective working groups. The completion of these measures was understood by all participating parties as a common responsibility.
Early into the processing and the realization of the summit-results, critical voices increasingly caught public interest. The main point of criticism was the fact that the preparation of the summit, the event itself, and even more important the representation within the task groups was mainly restricted to the German government and the representatives of German big business companies. On top of medium-sized-businesses being highly underrepresented in the working-groups concerning their actual economic contribution and relevance in the Germany ICT-sector, representatives of the general public interest and their opinion were simply non-existent.
Therefore, recognizing the fact that the German public without any doubt represents an important fraction of these stakeholders with respect to issues related to ICT, measures need to be taken, how they can be meaningfully and appropriately be incorporated in the follow-up process of the summit.