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This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Estonia's technology economy and online service provision- back to the future?

This week I spent a few days visiting Estonia with Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Liam Maxwell, the new Deputy CIO and colleagues with Cyber Security responsibilities. We came to see how a small country of 1.3 million has developed a culture and system of Governance and public service provision using the Internet and transparency as core principles.

It was hugely impressive. In two days we saw a vibrant technology economy, including giants like Skype and dozens of start-ups. We met with the President, Toomas Ilves and Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip, who both put the achievements of recent years in context of Estonia's history, both with Russian occupation and relationships with Britain. We explored how dozens of Government services are delivered by small teams, focussed on user needs. We saw how Estonia had devised an Identity system which works for them, and we left with a keen understanding of how all this underpins the culture and economic growth.

If you want to know more, there are plenty of available details about Estonia. The Guardian recently featured the country as part of its Internet week.

Mike Bracken goes back to the future in Tallinn

Whilst we met dozens of people at breakneck speed, many of whom we hope to see in the UK soon, over the next week I will be explaining the wider points we have uncovered which reflect directly on our challenge to make public services in the UK digital by default, and how the Estonian experience links to our core principles.

You can read the full text of Francis Maude's speech to the International Centre for Defence Studies in Estonia on the Cabinet Office site here.

You can read more about who we visited via this Tripline map:

You can see more detail of who we visited in Tallinn by clicking on this Tripline map

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  1. Comment by How Latvia turns online petitions into policy « RODRIGO DAVIES posted on

    [...] countries – especially 2.0-savvy leaders in Estonia (which UK officials recently visited) and Iceland - are watching. Is there any scope for international campaign groups to leverage [...]

  2. Comment by dmossesq posted on

  3. Comment by GroupeIntellex posted on

    Mike - excellent report.

    I have long championed the value of 'study tour' visits to countries with advanced digital infrastructures. There is increasingly a strong correlation between the quality of the digital access infrastructure and economic growth, innovation, employment and efficiency in public administration.

    You may find this link of interest.

    If you need more info on our recent outputs from study tours please get in touch. David