The launch of the Digital Testbed Framework is an invitation to entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups, university research centres, international humanitarian associations, and national governments. The Government of Estonia wants to build the future together with you.
How does Estonia envision this collaboration? By using innovative technologies that you have developed – for example, artificial intelligence – to create new products, services, and experiences for people to use. You can help the whole country to solve problems and overcome challenges by co-creating, re-using, and developing our source-code repository – for free.
Underpinning the project is a backdrop of cooperation between countries and between governments and businesses. This is especially highlighted in times of necessity, such as the cooperation we see in the face of natural disasters, health emergencies, and urgent humanitarian situations.
Against this background, the Government of Estonia launches its Digital Testbed Framework, looking to leverage the goodwill, collaboration, and innovation seen across Europe and globally, enabled by the best in digital services and technology. It means keeping people and the good of citizens at the heart of what we do.
The other necessary background is our understanding of the role of government and innovation, working with the private sector. Traditionally, innovation, especially in technology, has been seen as the preserve of start-ups and global technology firms, supported by institutional investors. With the Digital Testbed Framework launch, we’re showing that governments do not only play a part but can and should play a leading part in innovation with the private sector as pathfinders. We’re aiming to be a country-sized hackathon or GitHub on a national, government-led scale.
The topic of government-led innovation has also received welcomed attention from the likes of Professor Mariana Mazzucato, whose books (The Entrepreneurial State, Mission Economy), papers, and media engagement call on governments to think and act like entrepreneurs with a mission to lead cooperation, innovation, and funding to solve problems and leverage opportunities.
Estonia has a long and proud history when it comes to being digitally entrepreneurial. Estonia’s X-Road, an open-source data exchange layer operated by the Information System Authority, facilitates over 900 million transactions between public and private organisations and businesses every year. It’s the backbone of Estonia’s digital state, all thanks to an innovative public-private partnership.
To make the experience as smooth and seamless as possible, we’ve made sure there’s no red tape or lengthy sales or approval processes – just a simple, legal framework to get us going.
We don’t want you to sell your solution to us, but if what you propose fits our government and users’ needs or solves some problem we have, it could be the start of a fruitful and beneficial relationship.
Here’s to the future of tech-enabled innovation – apply by 10.10.21!