Podcast 🎧 & blog: Unlocking digital success at the e-Governance Conference

07.02.2024 | Federico Plantera


The e-Governance Conference reaches its tenth edition. In 2024, we mark a decade of digital dialogues – ten years through which topics and participants have become increasingly diverse, and the Conference established itself as a key appointment for practitioners worldwide.

This year, we invite you to unlock the secrets and key enablers of successful digital transformation. “Digital success leads to aware and competent societies that enjoy prosperity and openness. It involves a journey of continuous learning, committed national initiative, a systematic approach to the advancement of governance and regulations, smart technologies, enlightened leaders, and a competent community,” points out Kristina Mänd, Senior Expert at the e-Governance Academy and Programme Director of the 2024 Conference.

People and their skills, modern technologies and their strategic selection, systematic processes and governance – all foundational elements to achieving digital success. In this podcast episode, Mänd highlights the core themes and speakers of this year’s Conference edition. And how we all deserve a moment to celebrate and acknowledge digital success, to move forward more conscious of our own strengths and capabilities.


Rallying call to sharing and learning

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and significant geopolitical shifts, “Unlocking Digital Success” serves as a rallying call. To explore and celebrate the achievements in digital governance, while recognising the lessons learned from past challenges. Mänd, in this sense, makes no mystery that we deliberately opted for a positive outlook, in this year’s conference program.

“We discussed what we want to have as a key message from the conference this year, and we all felt that we wanted it to be something positive, allowing people to show what they have done well. It’s crucial to highlight achievements and learnings, fostering an environment where sharing and collaboration pave the way for future successes,” she highlights.

It all builds upon resilience, adaptability, and continuous learning – all the while disruptive shifts take place all around. From societal and technological ones, such as the revolution that AI development and implementation is set to bring in the next years; to geopolitical changes and global conflicts, which force governments to regroup and rethink the way they assist and communicate with citizens.

But “Unlocking Digital Success”, at the e-Governance Conference 2024, isn’t just about celebrating achievements. It’s about dissecting the very fabric of what constitutes success in the digital realm. “What has made us successful so far might not necessarily be the same skills or same circumstances that will keep us successful, or make us successful again. Innovation and adaptability are key, as we face new challenges and opportunities in the digital era,” Mänd explains. It’s a call to action – for governments, technologists, and policymakers to redefine success in an era of constant change.


Context matters

Governments’ agendas and strategies are shaped by policymakers’ vision, as much as by what happens around them. Take the past six years, just as an example – a global pandemic, Russia’s aggression to Ukraine, institutional change in various areas of the African continent, and macroeconomic factors. It hasn’t been easy for decision-makers to, well, do just that – plan for the long term, adjust, and reconfigure the way citizens and governments interact online. A holistic approach is required of them, underscoring the need for digital governance practitioners to remain agile and responsive to the changing needs and circumstances of the societies they serve.

When the resilience of digital infrastructures is tested, there is a push to innovate rapidly – while ensuring inclusivity and accessibility. Hardships, though, serve as a reminder that effective digital governance is not developed in a vacuum but in response to the dynamic needs and challenges of the global landscape.

For that to happen, attention must remain on the three core elements that make for successful digital transformation:

  • People and their capacity, approaches, skills, and practices to navigate digital change,
  • Modern technologies and their strategic selection,
  • Systematic processes and governance for meaningful engagement with stakeholders and partners.


Prominent speakers, global perspectives

From education and skill-building to designing people-centric public services, the Conference aims to address the critical components of effective digital transformation.

A special focus on cybersecurity and the role of digital solutions in managing crises, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, will spotlight the challenges and opportunities in making tough choices. On par with that, Western Balkan countries remain in focus too, as an area where safeguarding cyberspaces can foster cooperation and capacity-building even across national borders.

We will also delve into the sociopolitical dimensions of digital transformation. Discussions will explore how digital governance can drive social equity, bridge the digital divide, and foster a more engaged citizenry. This year too, the Conference seeks to illuminate the pathways through which technology can enhance democratic governance, spotlighting innovative practices that have made a tangible impact on societies worldwide.

In doing so, we will be aided and guided by an impressive lineup of speakers.

President of Estonia, Alar Karis, brings a wealth of experience, also from his tenure as the head of Tartu University. Lou Downe, former Design Director of the UK Government, known for her work on shaping usage and accessibility of public services in the Kingdom. Andrew Grotto, former Senior Director for Cybersecurity Policy at the White House. Luukas Ilves, CIO of the Government of Estonia, playing the home game as a key changemaker in the host country.

From the strategic use of digital technologies in crisis management to the role of digital infrastructure in fostering economic growth. We have tailored a program promising a dynamic exchange of ideas, showcasing success stories from various corners of the globe, and offering insights into overcoming common challenges faced by governments and organisations in their digital transformation journeys.


Why attend? Meeting in the Capital of Culture 2024

For anyone involved in the digital governance ecosystem, the e-Governance Conference 2024 offers a unique opportunity to engage with leading experts, policymakers, and practitioners. It’s a platform to share experiences, learn about the latest trends and innovations, and network with peers from around the world. Whether you’re a government official, a tech entrepreneur, or a civil society leader, the Conference provides a space to explore how digital technologies can make governance more inclusive, efficient, and responsive to the needs of citizens.

This year, the in-person appointment is set to take place in Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city, renowned for its cultural heritage and vibrant, long-standing academic community. As the European Capital of Culture for 2024, Tartu offers an inspiring setting for discussions on digital transformation, adding a layer of cultural richness to the event.

The choice of Tartu as the venue reflects the belief that the context does influence and add to the quality and depth of our conversations, making the city an ideal location to inspire innovation and collaboration. And for those who won’t be able to join physically, as usual, there is the possibility to access the Conference online, and follow it from your screens.


Saving the date: May 22-23, 2024

As we stand on the cusp of the e-Governance Conference 2024, anticipation builds for what promises to be another exciting gathering of minds. “Unlocking Digital Success” is not just a theme but a collective aspiration for a future where digital governance opens new avenues for prosperity, inclusivity, and resilience.

“Digital is not coming on top of your normal or previous way of living, but it’s substituting it slowly. Through practice and change, we should take that into account. In this transition, we must think how different concepts, elements, topics, and different trends and experiences, would work together to present a comprehensive story. This requires planning, and a vision to integrate these diverse elements into a narrative that propels us forward. To a story of digital success, indeed. With education at its core,” Mänd concludes.

On 22 -23 May 2024 you are welcome to join us in Tartu, or online, to be part of the conversations that shape the digital governance landscape – today, and for the years to come.


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