Photo: Aune Vetik
This year's seminar focused on the theme of Estonia as a frontrunner in innovation, discussing the driving forces behind the early adoption of new ideas. We had the pleasure of hosting a line-up of five excellent speakers who explored the many ways in which e-Estonia is leading the way globally – each from a slightly different angle.
One of Estonia's latest "firsts" is e-Residency – the world's first government backed digital identity, which allows everyone to enjoy the extensive set of government and business services that Estonia has developed since the 1990s. The transnational digital identity is available to anyone around the world interested in establishing and administering a location-independent business online. The e-Residency team was represented at the seminar, inviting everyone to apply and become part of the borderless e-society. If you did not get a chance to apply at the event, you can do it online or at one of the 38 Estonian foreign representations.
Overview of the topics explored at the seminar.
“Escaping e-Narnia: Estonia’s new digital ideology” – Daniel Vaarik, member of the President’s Academic Advisory Board, discussed how IT has opened the door for talking about the future. He also explored the challenges facing e-Estonia, introducing the concept of “E-Narnia” and explaining why Estonia should position itself as a “pathfinder” instead.
"Why stuff happens first in Estonia?" – Taavi Kotka, CIO of the Government of Estonia and Deputy Permanent Undersecretary for Information Technology at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, provided an insight into how Estonia has successfully landed on the global innovation map. He discussed the importance the official fight against legacy and dealing with the consequences of making things simpler. Taavi also touched on the e-Residency project, which aims to solve the engineering problem of expanding Estonia's population to 10 million.
“Transforming health and social care with IT – smart and personalised healthcare from integrated data” – Ain Aaviksoo, Permanent Undersecretary for e-Health services at the Ministry of Social Affairs, explained how the changing concept of managing risk can have implications for modern healthcare and personalised medicine. “Yes, in Estonia you can do exciting things and you can do them safely,” he concluded.
“Estonian as an adjective. A foreign investor’s insights” – Damir Tomicic, CEO of Axinom Group, recalled the reasons behind expanding his technology business to Estonia, highlighting the favourable tax regime as well as the unique Estonian attitude. He further explored the local way of living and doing business, branding Estonians as independent, focused, educated and innovative.
“Hyperlocal city: Tallinn as a self-driving community in 2030” – Marten Kaevats, curator of the Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2015, has been reimagining the concept of space. In his presentation, he introduced the powerful idea of Tallinn as a self-driving community, touching on both the advantages and disadvantages of this state-of-the-art plan.