GovTech Summit 2019: Reimagining the future of public services
The GovTech Summit 2019 will be taking place on 14 November at Palais Brongniart – register now.
We are excited to once again invite you to Paris to join the GovTech Summit, to re-imagine the future of public services and to place Europe at the nexus of technology and government.
Last year, we were delighted to be joined by key figures like Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, and Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, as well as over 1500 entrepreneurs, investors, technologists and public servants. It was an amazing event.
But the GovTech Summit this year will be even better. We will grow the GovTech ecosystem further, bringing more members into our community of innovators. We will debate the future of key technology debates such as data in government, innovation across cities, the impact of AI on democracy, as well as the potential of technology to transform key public services such as health, transport, defence and justice.
The debate about how to responsibly bring new technology into government has never been more urgent. Europeans have a proud tradition of world leading public services – of investing time and resources into welfare, public health and city administration.
As technology transforms all industries, it will also transform the public sector and the services we all benefit from. We must ensure that this transformation not only maintains our services and the values that underpin them, but that the services are equitable, personalised, cheaper, responsive as well as responsibly delivered. To do this, Europe must lead on the GovTech globally – and we hope that the GovTech Summit acts as a catalyst to a truly dynamic, European technology sector.
Many thanks to President Emmanuel Macron for his continued patronage and support, and to our sponsors for their assistance in making the GovTech Summit possible.
We hope you share our vision and we can join us in Paris on November 14th for the GovTech Summit in 2019. We are at the beginning of a journey that we all have the potential to contribute to and shape, for the benefit of our fellow citizens.
Daniel Korski & Alexander de Carvalho, Chairman & Vice-Chairman of the GovTech Summit
Guest Blog: Building the Right Partnerships for Innovation
What are the benefits of collaboration between big players and smaller companies? Mark Jones, MD Health and Public Sector Digital for our partner Accenture, writes a guest blog for us answering these questions.
It is not controversial to accept that we inhabit a tech and strategy ecosystem in which the ‘big players’ offer scale, depth of experience, and a level of oversight and safety. On the other side of the coin, start-ups and scale-ups, not limited by size, work at the cutting edges of innovation – they are able to be agile, flexible and speedy. The ideal, then, is to join forces – to pool the good and the best of each, to build diverse and diversely-talented teams that better address the challenges faced across the public sector.
At Accenture, we already do this – working hand in hand with our large alliance partners – including Microsoft, IBM, AWS – as well as smaller, younger players such as Qlik, UIPath. Additionally, I spend a great deal of time developing our SME and start-up ecosystem. As an organisation we have historically invested significant levels of time, resources and money in FinTech, HealthTech and are now doing the same in GovTech through our partnership with PUBLIC, working with companies and agencies that offer innovative products and skillsets. We recognise that the fourth industrial revolution will be powered by diverse supplier ecosystems and we need to be prepared for that.
A multi-way partnership
We cannot be market leaders across the board – but we are adept at scanning the horizon for innovation. One of our main areas of focus is to help our clients more effectively tap into innovation, test it and then help them scale it so they see a real return on their investment. As the need to deliver end-to-end service transformation and properly unlock the power of digital and technology increases, such ecosystems will become significantly more important.
But this is not a one-way street. While we are looking out for interesting start-ups and SMEs who are offering something transformative to the public sector challenges, things can also work the other way around. We want small organisations to speak to us – to use our capability and weight to leverage focused innovation into broader, bigger solutions.
Here is an example. Storm ID is a small digital agency based in Edinburgh, employing around 85 people and offering a range of services from digital service development and marketing to data and cloud strategy. Small, yes – but Storm ID have significant experience in digital health, so when we were presented with a very interesting challenge by one of our health clients – exploring how consumer-wearable tech data could integrate with clinical data sets – we called them in as a partner. Their knowledge allowed us, during the discovery phase, to expand the scope of our work. With them, we built a prototype that would allow our client to visualise the user journey and better understand the complexity involved in delivering something compelling to users in future phases.
A place for everyone
It is neither question of the large government contracts being awarded to the big players, nor the smaller ones – depending on which side of the fence you find yourself. We want to nurture more partnerships with start-ups and SMEs. Together, we want to encourage our clients to ask better questions. Instead of simply looking at new pieces of technology, we aim to open out the conversation in order better to understand the real problems and to find new and effective solutions: good quality plus good service that securely addresses citizen needs.
True, big fish like Accenture can have a reputation for being ‘hard to crack’: the size and complexity of the organisation make it hard to know which doors to knock on. But when we get it right we create powerful teams by partnering with the big, the middle sized and the small. This kind of marketplace engagement is an ideal. It allows us in partnership to ask the right questions and turn the priority from price and outputs to value and outcome.
Mira Cole-Wijaya looks into the technology transforming development, from financial inclusion to education to connectivity.
Technology has radically transformed people’s lives and livelihoods across the globe. Within humanitarian and international development contexts, technology has the potential to massively change the way aid is delivered, to find solutions to development bottlenecks, and to provide alternative ways to spur economic growth. The UN sees technology as one of the key pillars crucial in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, while DiFD’s digital development strategy believes “digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise the lives of the poor, unlock development and prosperity, and accelerate progress towards the Global Goals”. Though we must not be over zealous in seeing technology as the “silver bullet” set to disentangle all international development challenges, in many cases technology does have the unique ability to help countries leapfrog certain stages in traditional development trajectories or provide innovative solutions to distinctive regional obstacles.
So what types of technologies are really making a difference?
International development is a vast and all encompassing concept, touching on all facets of society within developing countries, from service delivery to humanitarian responses to economic growth. Furthermore, the impact of these many of these technologies are expansive and crosscutting with technology working at the intersection of multiple sectors. This makes it very difficult to define exactly what we would consider an international development technology. Roughly, however, we can set out 8 categories where technology is increasingly disrupting the developmental ecosystem.
Financial inclusion: Technology plays an important role in propelling inclusive growth. M-Pesa is perhaps the most talked about and successful example of technology being used as a tool for financial inclusion by allowing mobile phone owners to securely and quickly transfer money via their phones. This has provided a banking system for the previously unbanked and lifted 2% of Kenyan households out of extreme poverty. Similarly Tala has provided credit to the informal sector empowering a new generation of business owners. Technology has the power to revolutionise the financial system for those who would traditionally be marginalised and in the process lift many vulnerable populations out of poverty.
The Collaborative Economy: Collaborative economy tools are changing the way citizens access assets and services they previously could not afford. Hello Tractor is an ‘uber style’ service that allows African farmers to access low cost tractors, while WeFarm is a farmer to farmer knowledge sharing platform that allows farmers to ask questions or share tips via SMS (for those without internet access) or online. Both technologies have led to an increase in farmers yield and efficiency. Meanwhile, GO-JEK in Indonesia has spun out from a platform connecting low-end taxi and motorbike taxis to include at home delivery of services, such as spa treatments, as well as food delivery. What is especially interesting about Go-Jek has been its role in stimulating growth and inclusion in Indonesia, providing a slothe of new job opportunities, connecting low-productive sectors of the economy, while moving jobs previously part of the informal economy into the formal economy and thereby increasing the potential tax base.
Utilities: With 780 million people worldwide lacking access to clean water and just under one billion people without access to electricity, the UN’s millennium development goals have a strong focus on providing access to these vital utilities. There are a myriad of technologies working to tackle the challenges of clean water scarcity such as Zero Mass Water, which uses solar panels to pull drinking water out of the air, and LifeStraw, who create portable filtered straws which has given millions of people access to clean water. Lack of infrastructure, hostile terrain and remoteness of many regions in developing countries also make providing electricity off the grid essential. Companies like as BuffaloGrid and Standard Microgrid are finding innovative ways, using renewable energy to provide power to those who are often marginalised by lack of traditional infrastructure while using the resources they have copious amounts of – sunlight.
Transportation and logistics: The geography and lack of formal infrastructure is one of the greatest challenges for developing countries. With the emergence of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), however, remote areas previously inaccessible using conventional transport are becoming reachable. Windhorse Aerospace uses UAVs to deliver aid to communities in restricted locations, while Altigator uses multi-sensory drones for search and rescue after natural disasters and for digitally mapping remote regions. New ways of providing addresses and locations to regions which lack formal street addresses are also appearing, including What3Words – which encodes geographical coordinates into three words – and OkHi, which provides locations with an “OkHi address” comprising of a web link that points to a GPS tag and photo of the house’s gate. While Where Is My Transport is making public transport in emerging cities easier to use by collating data on both formal and informal modes of transport to provide a journey planning platform.
Education: Globally there has been a rise in literacy rates and numbers of children attending both primary and secondary school, however there are still many countries who are lagging behind. New types of technology are entering the market in attempts to find novel ways to provide better educational outputs in a sustainable format. From durable and cost-effective tablets for primary schools in Africa, to educational platforms that use gamification and ai technology to make learning fun and easily to access across South-East Asia (Solve Education) the educational sector in developing countries are becoming more tech savvy. Platforms like Funzi are also working with development organisations and the UN to develop bespoke mobile learning services that easily and effectively target specific groups.
Health: There are numerous new technologies out there finding pioneering ways to provide healthcare in challenging environments. Simprints are using biometric fingerprint scanners to overcome identification bottlenecks and build medical records for pregnant women in Bangladesh as well as improving vaccination coverage in other countries. Flare is changing Nairobi’s emergency service landscape by creating an ‘uber-style’ consumer facing app which allows patients or hospitals see available ambulance options to request help as quickly as possible. While Zipline is using drones in Tanzania and Rwanda to parachute deliver important medical supplies to remote regions.
Governance and accountability: Developing countries governments are often critiqued for their lack of transparency, especially when it comes to the expenditure of aid. Aid.Tech is set to revolutionise this process by using blockchain technology to instantly send money around the world with complete traceability, reducing the amount of money that is lost through corruption or fraud. Beneficiaries are provided with a digital identity, that cannot be replicated, through which they can receive entitlements via digital vouchers. Further systems of digital identification are also be rolled out across many countries, including India’s use of Aadhaar biometric digital identification for public service provision and Nigeria’s E-ID system.
Connectivity: With many of these pioneering technologies, what sits behind them is the massive increase in mobile phone use and access to the internet. While internet access is burgeoning in many urban areas, the price is less affordable than in developed countries, furthermore there are huge obstacles in expanding affordable internet access to remote areas due to the need for new or upgraded infrastructure. This has lead to large corporations such as Google, SpaceX, Facebook and Oneweb investing in the development or aerial infrastructure innovations in efforts to overcome these challenges. Examples include Google’s Project Loon which is a network of stratospheric balloons providing internet to remote locations.