December 15, 2022

June 30, 2023

2022: A Redefining Year for PUBLIC

‍PUBLIC’s co-founders, Daniel Korski and Alexander de Carvalho, reflect on a uniquely challenging, yet incredibly productive year in advancing PUBLIC’s mission to build the digital public services of the future. Where crises appeared, we saw opportunities for change. Daniel and Alex outline what this year has meant for PUBLIC and how we are focused on continuing to grow our reach and impact.

Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin famously said: "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Looking back over this year, it feels like several decades-worth of events happened.

From three UK prime ministers in three months and a new German government to Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, which precipitated an energy shortage and runaway inflation, impoverishing businesses and citizens alike, this has been a remarkable, crisis-packed year. 

Yet rather than stifling PUBLIC’s momentum, the year has seen ever growing interest in our mission - to reimagine and re-build public services - and greater demand for our products and services than ever before.

The reason was probably best explained by the keynote speaker at this year’s GovTech Summit, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who said: “Technology gives us the ability to adapt or confront any type of change, helping create resilience.”

When challenges grow as large as they have, when millions face poverty and businesses struggle, public services simply need to get better. Technology just has to be at the heart of how governments deliver for their citizens. Digital know-how cannot simply be a good-to-have but becomes a must-have. And governments everywhere need partners who share their mission but also understand how to drive technology-enabled change. 

That is why we have spent the past year working with more than 50 government departments and agencies in the U.K., Germany, and elsewhere:

  • Mobilising the GovTech ecosystem. Our programmes supported 73 startups - covering health and climate to defence and online safety - to bring their solutions to the public sector faster. We also brought together the world’s brightest public sector innovators to develop new solutions through debate and collaboration. The 5th annual GovTech Summit represented 70+ countries and Defence Disrupted cemented its place as a focal point for innovative defence thinking.
  • Empowering public servants for a digital future. We solidified our learning offer through the Public School of Technology, empowering civil servants through bespoke learning programmes designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge to champion innovation from within. From embedding cyber resilience within procurement systems to scaling innovation training across the MoD, our people-centred learning programmes delivered results across governments.
  • Translating expertise to impact across our domains. Expanding the reach of our expertise in technology procurement, we worked with public authorities across Europe to modernise how they contract sustainably with technology suppliers, startups, and SMEs. We helped strike back against the proliferation of online harms, and we designed and delivered innovative solutions to improve health services, from EPR programme designs to analyses of social care innovation.

This has truly been both a crisis-filled but also action-packed year for us. As we close the year, we feel both a sense of gratitude and of ambition: Gratitude for the opportunities we have had to deliver positive outcomes for the public sector, made possible by our clients; and ambition to ramp up our impact, expanding the people and places we can reach, and helping to build digitally-enabled public services that are efficient, equitable and accessible for all. 

Since our start more than five years ago, PUBLIC has always been a place for big ambition and unapologetic optimism for the ability of technology, applied smartly and sensitively, to transform public services for the better. As we continue to evolve as a business - exploring new paths and working in new ways - this will remain a lodestar.

But these guiding principles aren’t just ours. The last year has confirmed to us again that the mission to improve services with new technologies motivates the Patient Pathway Coordinator, much as the Lieutenant-Commander, the City Manager and many of the officials in-between. This is such an exciting time for the GovTech movement, and for us, having written the concept for PUBLIC on a napkin over a chance lunch in 2016, we could not be more excited.

No doubt 2023 will likely bring as many - if not more - challenges compared to 2022. At PUBLIC we cannot wait to rise to them and we are excited to see how we can help clients across the public sector face old and new challenges with the same technological rigour.


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Photo by the author

Alexander de Carvalho

CEO & Co-Founder

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