Olivier Van Horenbeeck is Managing Partner at Growth Inc.
By now governments have a lot of opportunities to start doing things differently. The technological revolution has created a wide range of tools to work more efficiently. But there is still a lot of room for improvement. Belgium currently ranks 27th in the e-Government Development Index of the United Nations. We are far behind Nordic countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Our neighboring countries France (9th), Germany (12th) and the Netherlands (13th) also appear to do a better job in digitizing services. Another nation that outranks Belgium is Estonia. People sometimes call it E-stonia, since the Baltic state has the most advanced digital society in the world.
The biggest advances have been created by improving the use of data and analysis. At the Curiosity Forum, I will zoom in on this matter by looking at the best practices in other countries. The focus will be on three domains: logistics, mobility and e-government.
Estonia has developed an efficient, safe and transparent digital ecosystem that saves both time and money for both its government and its citizens. For example, 95% of Estonians now submit taxes electronically. E-tax has become the simplest and fastest method, because it only takes about 3 to 5 minutes to complete. And taxes are being paid in just one click.
The Estonian health sector has also been largely digitized. Doctors and patients can access medical files whenever they want and wherever they are. About 95% of all medical data are digitized and available online. Blockchain ensures the integrity and security of the data. This enables the government to operate more preventively. Doctors are also better informed, allowing them to improve their decisions.
In mobility, the Dutch railways have become the perfect example of a data driven company. They collect data about technical maintenance of trains, routes of passengers, and the flow of customers in railway stations. This resulted in better and faster communication, the optimization of services for travelers, better targeted campaigns, etc.
In logistics, the port of Antwerp is an interesting case. Technological start-ups and big logistic companies are co-operating to improve efficiency by digitizing and sharing data with the entire community on a digital platform. This will prove to be a valuable investment after Brexit, which will impact customs control and administration in the port of Antwerp. Customs can also exchange data with private players, making logistic processes more transparent and smoother. In this way, it is also easier to detect tax fraud.
Why Growth Inc. participates
Preparing the challenges of tomorrow starts today. This is exactly why Growth Inc participates in the Curiosity Forum. The mindset really matches with our work. SAS has the tools and solutions to implement big data management and digitization. My track will show how we can use them to make the public sector work more efficiently.
Growth Inc. is a strategic communications firm in Antwerp. We consider communication to be more than just delivering the right message through the right medium, as classic PR is doing. It's not only about attracting attention to companies, but about how they have a lasting influence on stakeholders such as press, politics, public opinion and groups of interest – and on important societal challenges such as climate change, aging and the digital revolution.