Former Chief Scientist and Head of Strategic Planning for the Mars Rover Mission
Some programmers aspire to becoming CIO of their companies. Speaker Taavi Kotka became CIO of his entire country, and in the process led Estonia to its status as the world’s most digitized society. From public services to citizenship itself, Kotka has blazed a trail for governments around the world. Events concerned with the constructive interaction of technology and society will find no more experienced or insightful keynote speaker.
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Visionary technology speaker Taavi Kotka began his career as a programmer and became an entire country’s CIO. A uniquely experienced and engaging public speaker, Taavi Kotka shares his insights at events around the world.
In 2016, Wired named Estonia “the world’s most digitally advanced society.” While the entire country shared the honor, Estonia’s rise as a global digital leader was spearheaded by its CIO, Taavi Kotka. Under Kotka’s leadership, Estonia transformed its digital infrastructure under the banner of e-Estonia, and its public sector as country-as-a-service (CAAS).
Much of Estonia’s public services are now offered as flexible, responsive e-solutions. Its e-Residency program offers groundbreaking access to the EU for entrepreneurs and business owners. Kotka’s work in building on Estonia’s already impressive digital legacy, Kotka was named European CIO of the Year. In 2016, he was awarded Estonia’s prestigious White Star II Class Order.
Kotka began his career as a programmer at the Baltic region’s largest software developer, Webmedia, and eventually became its CEO. Ernst & Young named Kotka its Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 for his success at Webmedia (later Nortal).
Kotka used to serve as Special Advisor to European Commission Vice President Adrus Ansip and now advises Estonia’s e-residency council. As CEO of Jio Research Center, Kotka also advises the Indian government and e-sector on that country’s path to digitalization. Through his consulting firm, Proud Engineers, Kotka helps startups and large corporations negotiate the challenges and promise of digital transformation.
Our world is about to undergo radical transformation, but are governments ready? Just like there has been disruption in areas like transportation (Uber) and accommodation (Airbnb), there will be disruption in the public sector as well. Using e-Estonia example, Taavi will explain in his exceptionally humorous way how governments cannot enjoy being the monopoly anymore and how this will hit countries both big and small around the world. Virtual countries, data embassies, digital citizenship and national cryptocurrencies will all be discussed. The audience will be inspired, slightly worried and full of interest to study and discuss more about the change affecting their own sectors and how they can prepare.
Taavi will explain how Estonia became e-Estonia, the world’s most advanced e-government. Using real and fascinating examples, Taavi will demonstrate why it is important to focus not only on technology but also to shift people’s mindset across the whole of society. Our understanding of privacy and data protection is just as important as cloud or strong digital identity. Country wide reforms take time, but Taavi will explain how to use certain catalysts that can speed up the process: like once-only policy, no-legacy policy, innovation through pain etc. If time permits, Taavi will also discuss the future of countries and e-governments.
Taavi will provide a clear and comprehensive roadmap for governments and cities about what needs to be put in place technologically and institutionally to become a digital society. This talk is designed for audiences who already know that the change is needed and is looking for practical guide to the steps that need to be taken to achieve that change.
The journey towards digitalisation is fascinating, but where to next? This inspirational speech explains what can be achieved and accomplished if a country is truly digital. How does it change governing models, how can countries become borderless (through e-Residency) and virtual, is it possible that a government has a real-time overview about the whole economy etc. Taavi will provide concrete and tangible examples that every person can relate to themselves.
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