Calling all social entrepreneurs and innovators

panel discussion

Written by Robin Knowles, CEO, Digital Leaders

CivTech our DLScotland partners have over the past years established themselves as the UK’s leading experts on Govtech and last week they launched CivTech 5.0 Innovation. This is a well practised and enormously successful process as witnessed by myself when I attended the 4.0 versions Demo Day in Edinburgh just before Lockdown happened. 

The programme pre-dates the GovTech Catalyst programme that Digital Leaders has supported, run by GDS as well as the great programmes run by Dan Korski and his team at Public. We and they have already benefited from the pioneering work that Alexander Holt and Barabra Mills have led alongside others at CivTech supported 100% by Colin Cook and the Digital Scotland team.

CivTech takes problems in public sector organisations and solves them in collaboration with innovative businesses by using systems common in the private tech sector but rare in the public sector. These include open challenges like the current one and also tech accelerators. At CivTech’s heart is an Innovation Flow which culminates in the CivTech Accelerator, when innovative and ambitious teams, selected through an open and easy-to-enter selection process work to solve Challenges public sector organisations have set. Last week’s launch was the start of this process for the first time since Covid-19.

This time CivTech 5.0 has ten Challenges, from a wide range of government directorates and public sector organisations, tackling a wide variety of problems the public sector would like to solve. Of course this time it launches in unprecedented circumstances. But the things that have driven the CivTech team since the very beginning — innovation, digital transformation and economic opportunity – are now perhaps even more important to Scotland’s future.

Challenge Sponsors this time include the Scottish Government itself, the Digital Academy, Transport Scotland, Lantra, Nature Scot and NHS Scotland. And the two near home working Challenges are parts of a much wider work local initiative being delivered by multiple parties and agencies across the nation.

Challenge areas reflect the Scottish economy and include: the future of learning; forestry management; IoT; rural transport; wildlife management; rural skills and learning; environment improvement; and two focus on the highly relevant “near home working”. 

It’s often said that need drives innovation so I would say to all our SME’s and innovators in the Digital Leaders community that this is an opportunity to take a public sector problem and collaboratively build a solution hand-in-hand with a blue-chip customer.

Its your opportunity, when we are all looking for ways to pivot our business, to grow new sources of revenue to build a business and to help public services to become better and more efficient.

You can find more information and take a look at CivTech 5.0 Innovation Flow

I urge you as a digital leader to take part. I also know that if you are interested in running similar programmes for your own area or region that the team at CivTech embrace the Digital Behaviours we encourage of Acting, but then sharing and learning. Good luck and I hope to meet you and your ideas at the 5.0 Demo Day in late January 2021


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