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🎙️e-Estonia podcast: Siim Sikkut, Government CIO: “Estonia is open for all govtech innovators!”

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In the seventh episode of our podcast series, “The Art of Digitalisation,” our host Florian Marcus gets the Estonian CIO, Siim Sikkut, before his mic. You will hear why the governmental CIO/CTO meetings resemble AA meetings, the situation with innovation in Estonia when the country will have governmental virtual assistants at work, and why Estonians are so blasé about that. Plus some HUGE news, too. 

Sikkut has been serving in this position for 4+ years and shows no signs of slowing down. The HUGE news he shares – and we cannot but spell it out here, too – is that his office is now opening the country´s tech stack for all startups, scaleups, research institutions, etc., to come and submit their ideas to make public e-services truly scalable and desirable. The project is called Digital Testbed Framework (DTF).

Mic to Sikkut: What we have done and tried out over the last few years is a legal arrangement, the legal framework that allows us to work with innovators from across the globe in an open innovation model. We provide them access to the government tech stack, and they will share their ideas, products, prototypes and then build and develop on top of this. And so in the end – one hopes – we might have a world-rocking product that would be useful to add to our digital government set-up, and everybody wins.”

Got curious? Well, come and try your idea or product out in a world-class digital government setting – in an actual live environment! – and let Estonia be your first customer and critic. Estonia does not expect you to sell your stuff but rather provide a partnership.

What´s in it for Estonia? The country provides the testbed and will, hopefully, get in return an excellent product to use.

What´s in it for you? If it works out, the country will promote the hell out of you.

Mic to Sikkut again: “So, basically, you get a reference that you can then take to other countries.” And It’s not a theory either. Estonia has done it before with some governmental services –  the open-source speech recognition software by TalTech which Estonian Parliament uses, HOIA – the official COVID-19 exposure notification app for Estonia, Texta text analytics tool used by Ministry of Justice, and Neurotõlge, a translation engine developed by the University of Tartu – and quite a few successful startups were born this way.

To take on this challenge, go to the Digital Testbed Framework website and send your application on its way.

And to hear more what the CIO of Estonia shares with our host Florian Marcus, tune in to listen to our podcast.

🎧Available on Apple Podcast and Spotify:

Written by
Dea Paraskevopoulos

communications manager for digital services at the e-estonia briefing centre

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