Nordic ICT heads for no-legacy and e-residency


The first Nordic Digital Agendas Day – dedicated to innovations and future plans in the field of information society, focusing especially on eGovernment – will bring together government CIOs and experts from all over the Nordics. They will be sharing their main lines of activities and will introduce ambitious plans for the next 10 years.


Just as Singapore and South Korea are featured at every international ICT event in Asia, the Nordics have been the main trendsetters in Europe.

Northern European countries are implementing more and more incredible IT solutions that completely change their citizens’ interaction with their country, and Estonia has been showing the way to the rest of the world. Estonia is known for having the first e-government and first successful implementation of the digital signature, and Denmark for their successful e-invoicing system.

Siim Sikkut, ‎ICT Policy Adviser at the Government Office of Estonia, and Taavi Kotka, Estonian government CIO, provide an insight to what Estonia’s message is going to be at the event.

Global Information Society Institute

Strength lies in cooperation, which is the reason Estonia has been to many countries to present our success stories. The technological and human readiness to adopt new solutions has been the foundation for the Global Information Society Institute (GISI) that will launch in 2014, which in addition to addresses by specialists and politicians will provide an opportunity to offer scientific information and ideas in the field of the information societies.

GISI has two main goals: (1) to study and spread the concept and best practices of the e-state and information society,  and (2) to articulate new challenges and opportunities. “Estonia is the perfect place for that, since we can test new solutions and insights quickly. With GISI, we can be the test-bed for the world,” Sikkut explains.

Digital market across countries

It’s true that success breeds success – this is why successful and ground-breaking solutions from Estonia keep on coming.

“We have already started cooperation with Finland in cross-border digital signatures and e-services, i.e., created an actual unified digital market. We intend to do this with other countries, as well,” Kotka states.

Real Time Economy

Estonia has set a goal to replace many of the existing e-services with new and improved ones. Even today, Estonians can file their taxes in a couple of minutes through a web interface.

“We intend to radically reform and automate the whole tax collection system. We’re talking about Real Time Economy,” Kotka explains. This is a new trend in the world where Estonia is still leading the way. But the plans don’t stop here.

No-legacy principle

According to Sikkut, one of the goals is the massive revamping of public e-services and a reform that has two objectives. “Firstly, we want to introduce a no-legacy principle, which would require us to renew all the state IT systems and technologies after a certain amount of time, to keep in line with the ever-changing environment and development of technology. Secondly, we want for all the public e-services to be equally good,” he specifies.

Digitalizing education

Taavi Kotka claims that two areas of public services have particularly big plans for changes. One of these is education, where the goals is to use technology to make every class more interesting and personalized for each student.

Health and care

In the healthcare field, the main objective is to make services more preventive, accessible and directed towards specific groups. Sikkut explains, “For this we want to introduce remote services such as telemedicine and care, to reduce the need for physical interaction and enable using the services from a distance.”

Another idea that is being bounced around is how to make the e-health information system a platform where a person can gather information about herself with all kinds of devices, apps and solutions, enabling doctors to use this information for medical and especially preventive purposes.

What happens to the internet?

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves was recently appointed by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to serve as the chairman for the group  figuring out what internet governance should look like in the future. According to Taavi Kotka, the question of what the internet will look like in the future now rests a lot on the shoulders of the Estonian president.

Both men assure that Estonia’s interest is to help to create and apply solutions that would guarantee an free and open Internet, including a better multi-stakeholder model for that.

With a lot of the concerns such as privacy, the solutions lie in the technology itself. In technology innovation, services like the Estonian Sharemind and cryptography should be developed further.

Country without territory

Since most of the crucial services in Estonia can function digitally, there are talks of a new concept – a country without territory. This means that the Estonian services landscape – especially critical public services and systems – can in emergency cases function in the cloud, without physical territory.

An ambitious idea that will be discussed at the ICT Week is the concept of e-residency. “For the rest of the world to be able to benefit from our e-solutions, we want to give the opportunity for all foreigners to get an ID-card and Estonian e-identity in the near future,” says Kotka.

In addition to the topics above, Nordic Digital Agendas Day will bring many more to the table on April 25 during the Estonian ICT Week. Which of the ideas are held in common  by several countries and where are the best cooperation opportunities will be revealed at the conference. Estonian ICT Week takes place from 23rd of April to 30th of April. Please see the calendar to find and book events for your interests: ICT Week Calendar.