We recently attended the 6th e-Governance Conference, which took place virtually everywhere on May 18-21. Titled, “Giant Leaps Start with Small Steps,” the online conference focused on how to achieve long-term digitalisation goals. The discussions and presentations – ranging from e-governance building blocks to public cloud adoption – all reflected the importance of continuous innovation that leverages small yet strategically significant projects.
Collective innovation efforts
The current circumstances largely shaped the focus of the conference discussions. In her opening words on the Vision to Action Day, President Kersti Kaljulaid brought attention to how digital solutions have successfully helped mitigate lockdown conditions. Although the crisis has in many ways highlighted the digital opportunities we already have – to some, it has highlighted what they lack. As such, the President stressed that it is more important than ever to realise that sustainable digital transformation can only be achieved through collaboration and experience sharing.
The common thread connecting all presentations, keynotes and discussions was indeed the importance placed on collaboration for digital development. Nonetheless, David Rowan, an expert on technology trends and corporate innovation, expressed his concern that at a time when the pressure for cross-border collaboration is the greatest, there seem to be trends of isolation and rejection of international organisations, which is detrimental to progress. At the same time, he also expressed optimism stemming from the impressive public-private partnerships that emerged with the onset of the crisis in the form of global and local hackathons all over the world.
“The energy to innovate is there, the question is how do we take advantage of it and leverage it.”
Leveraging digital resources
Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, highlighted that the crisis has once more underlined how digital transformation is crucial for strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerabilities of societies. We have now been granted the chance to introduce innovative solutions to mitigate immediate circumstances but also ensure long-term sustainable development. And indeed, the conference touched upon many examples, from Estonia and around the world, on how digital innovation has helped governments in the current circumstances and beyond.
When it comes to the tools that can help us enhance the digital capacity of states, the conference dedicated a whole day to public cloud adoption – from sharing best practices to discussing the opportunities and risks it presents. And of course, artificial intelligence was not left out of the discussion. For example, Chiara Tomasi, Chief Solution Architect at Intel, noted that AI is often missing from cloud discussions despite the fact that governments value the idea of leveraging AI highly. As such, Tomasi brought attention to how the cloud is in fact the most reasonable option for governments to implement AI.
The new conference format meant that this year, the e-Governance Academy could host a record number of 1150 participants from 135 countries. The largest number of representatives tuned in from Ukraine, Japan, Brazil, Georgia, Canada and Belgium. Altogether, the conference saw presentations and workshops from 59 digital transformation and e-governance experts from 30 countries. The Virtual Expo Hall, which is still accessible until June 21, displays 20 IT companies and organisations, all of which support digital transformation efforts.
At a time when physical isolation seemingly limits the possibilities to foster new and meaningful cross-border connections, the 6th e-Governance Conference managed to break through these barriers. The online format created a virtual space to share wisdom from around the world and discuss how we can all best prepare for the future.
Missed the conference but want to get in on the action? The good news is that you can still register and get full access to the recorded materials here.
Photo: e-Governance Academy from Flickr
Today, e-governance and e-services have become a necessity in every country. e-Estonia Briefing Centre – the gateway to Estonian expertise in e-governance, invites you to connect with the Estonian IT companies directly responsible for the successful functioning of the e-state even during a pandemic. Get in touch with us to set up your custom virtual programme with the best partners you could get: firstname.lastname@example.org