GovTech and delivering innovation to Government

Written by Robin Knowles, Digital Leaders

At the National Digital Conference each year and we have been going for 12, we sit cabaret style for the day and that’s for a good reason. Not only does it give the audience a space to write and place their laptops, but is also creates the roundtable interactions we all enjoy throughout the year at the DL Salons.

However, the real reason we do it is so that our Conference Chair, Mark Thompson can get the audience working on a problem or challenge to create some outputs from the day, to share back with Ministers and the DL Community.

This year was no exception and our session after lunch asked the audience the question “what is the technology that will have the biggest impact on the public sector”

The background to the question is the recent emergence of Govtech, which is gaining momentum as it passes from an emergent state and some feel is poised to go global. Certainly the start-up investment world is getting excited about a market potential estimated at $500bn and some are questioning if it could be come bigger than Fintech.

To help them on their way we had a panel discussion before hand that discussed how SMEs continue to be an important part of Government plans for the digital economy both as a supplier of innovation into government and as the engine room of change. We heard from new start-up Public who are trying to disrupt the flow of innovation into government and from two businesses leading the supply of new services, Kainos and Informed Solutions.

We heard from them about cyber security and data compliance, cloud brokerage, robotic automation, and machine learning and cloud-based resilience, legacy modernisation and customer experience integration.

But what we asked people to discuss on their tables was how can government find and procure these services and what are the technologies emerging that will have an impact in the next few years.

Well the answer was a little surprising to me. Firstly because based on constant discussions as I travel around the country I was sure the answer would be AI. However, on reflection I think DL Week’s Annual Lecture in Leeds on that very topic by Rob Wilmot may have swayed my view.


Our room of 200 plus Digital Leaders chose Blockchain (see the image above) data and identity with AI a close 4th. It’s also a very useful diagram showing the collective knowledge of the Conference audience. Did they miss one?

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