What is Indigenous Digital Excellence

Indigenous Digital Excellence is a Concept, a Strategy, and an Initiative.


Indigenous Digital Excellence is what happens when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples leverage digital technologies to increase their own, and their community’s, wellbeing.

This can take many forms and is very much an individual thing, and might include:

  • strengthening kinship bonds using online social networks and mobile technologies;
  • knowing how to effectively deal with cyber-bullying and other negative online behaviours;
  • utilising digitally-delivered services;
  • using digital tools in a work capacity or to enhance business success;
  • using digital technologies to pass on and promote culture (e.g. creating videos, photos, websites etc.);
  • recombining existing technologies (like social networks and web applications) to support community needs; or
  • creating new businesses and organisations that harness digital technologies.

While we hope to liberate opportunities for First Nations communities to thrive in the digital economy, we respect that IndigenousDX is sometimes about making an informed choice to not use new technologies, for example for personal or cultural reasons.


The National IDX Strategy, being collaboratively developed with Australia’s First Peoples, aims to create a shared vision of how we can work together to achieve Indigenous Digital Excellence. The Strategy will outline a broader set of goals than the IDX Initiative (see below) will seek to tackle—opportunities that we hope other organisations and individuals will work collectively towards addressing.


The IDX Initiative is a multi-year partnership between the NCIE and the Telstra Foundation to actively address some of the key areas our work to date has highlighted (and that contribute to achieving aspects of the National IDX Strategy—see above). For example, we are developing programs that develop entrepreneurship skills as well as providing access to facilities and skills-building opportunities through the IDX Hub.


Our Story

There is no doubt we are living in a time of incredible change. Smartphones, networks, social media and apps are creating a new world that is digital, mobile and global. It is a connected world we live in. A world underpinned by rapid innovation and the adoption of new technologies and ways of working that are challenging and re-inventing how we do business, how we learn, how we connect.

Australia’s First Peoples have been innovating for more than 40,000 years. So what happens when digital is embraced by the world’s oldest living culture? We believe the answer is Indigenous Digital Excellence.

To understand this opportunity, the Telstra Foundation worked with the NCIE to complete research and consultation, and hosted an online conversation and a 2-day Summit in 2013. We engaged more than 1,000 Indigenous people from Redfern to the Torres Strait.

This work built on our collective learnings from creating and hosting the Community of Excellence, a social network that provides a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to connect in a culturally safe and supported online environment.

What became clear was that IndigenousDX needed a community-led movement, a national voice guided by a co-created strategy, and a purpose-built home.

In response, the Telstra Foundation has committed to an innovative 5 year, $5 million partnership with the NCIE—the IDX Initiative—to strategically explore and drive this opportunity in collaboration with our community.

We can’t wait to see what the digital future holds for all of us.


The Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Initiative is the next step in a long-standing partnership between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and Telstra Foundation.

National Centre of Indigenous ExcellenceNational Centre of Indigenous Excellence

The NCIE exists to pursue an excellent Australia. One that is built on the foundation of the more than 40,000 years of innovation, adaptation and the survival of Australia’s first peoples.

Our aim is to liberate possibility and create opportunities for generations of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by delivering life-changing programs.

The NCIE is leading the national conversation about the legacy of excellence that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have and continue to practise in this country.

More about the NCIE, our vision and impact.

Telstra FoundationTelstra Foundation

The Telstra Foundation believes lives can be changed when great ideas connect with technology. It’s something the Foundation sees everyday. For over a decade, the Foundation has worked with community organisations with appetites for social innovation. The team works with partners to unlock digital potential so that all Australians—regardless of age, income, location, ability—enjoy the social and economic benefits of being connected.

Telstra has been a key supporter of Indigenous Digital Excellence with the NCIE, as the founding partner of the Community of Excellence Indigenous social network and co-creator of the 2013 IDEA Summit. This strong working relationship was amplified in 2013 with the Telstra Foundation’s commitment to work closely with the NCIE to support the development of the IDX Initiative, a partnership that includes a contribution of $5 million over 5 years.

More about the Telstra Foundation.



Zoe Betar

Learning Experience Designer

I’m a very proud Bundjalung woman from Ocean Shores and Tweed Heads. My role as the Learning Experience Designer, has me collaborating with Community and organisations, to build content and then deliver it in meaningful ways that are relevant to the participants.

I hope to make a difference and help encourage more Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young ones get involved in STEM related areas.

Hannah Lange

Hub Coordinator

I am a proud Wiradjuri woman. I grew up in the beautiful Blue Mountains that provided me with a strong sense of community.  My role plays an integral part in setting up and establishing the IDX Hub collaboration and innovation space. To grow the space to be home to the extended IndigenousDX community—not just the NCIE’s IDX team—holding regular workshops and events, for example.

My hope is that I can use my creativity and coordination skills to work with the team here to bring the IDX Hub to life. Initially I will be working on transitioning the space from it’s current “prototype” stage to a fully functioning studio and workshop space, and having it looking the way that the IDX team have envisioned.

Ana Malec

Accounts Admin Assistant

I come from Croatia but am really enjoying the sunshine, ocean and the amazing diversity of cultures here in Australia. My role entails all sort of administration support, including accounts, monthly reconciliations and working with complex budget spreadsheets.

I am looking forward to applying my “love of numbers” to support the NCIE, and for the opportunity to experience Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

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