One year in, the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact on society. It has exposed the fragility of the current economic system across the globe, but it has also provided a powerful lens to examine the underlying conditions that led to this fragility, and illuminated gaps in economic and social values chains, providing the opportunity to improve economic resilience and related issues.
Digital technologies have shown great potential in mitigating, recovering from as well as preventing pandemics and other disasters. Economic recovery and resilience in the “new normal" will come through the power of digital transformation.
Therefore, there is a need to identify, recognize and support the development of digital communities accelerating digital transformation in the post-COVID-19 era. Hence, the overall theme of the 2021 ITU Innovation Challenges is Building vibrant digital innovation communities to unlock digital transformation potential for the new normal.
This year's challenges, therefore, highlight the significance of digital innovations and communities fuelling COVID-19 resilience. Each challenge category focuses on a specific community — from youth to entrepreneurial support groups — that is accelerating digital transformation during the pandemic, and future-proofing economies and societies.?