Tiny Nation That’s Leading Europe In Digital Innovation

Tiny Nation That’s Leading Europe In Digital Innovation

Estonian nation Big Brother just wants to help Citizens in this tiny nation of 1.3million people have overcome their fears of an Orwellian dystopia and become highly digitalized. With the e-Estonia State Portal, almost all government services made available online in 2003. It was not a meticulously plan master plan that led to digital governance in the country. Instead, it was a practical and cost-efficient solution to budget constraints.

After Estonia gained independence in 1991, citizens trusted their politicians. Politicians trust their engineers to build something new, despite not being obligate to using legacy software or hardware systems. This formula prove to be a winner and can now be use in all European countries.

The Principle Of The Once-Only Nation

Estonia’s digital governance introduced the once only principle. This means that the state cannot ask the same citizens twice for the same information. This means that if you provide your address or the name of a family member to the census bureau they will not ask you again. Any department of government agency cannot ask citizens to repeat information they have in their databases or those of another agency.

The transformation was overseen by Andrus Ansip, a tech-savvy former prime Minister and current Vice President at the European Commission. This once-only principle was such a success that the EU adopted a digital Once Only Initiative and Principle based on Estonian common-sense innovation. This ensures that citizens and businesses only provide certain standard information once. Public administration offices share the data internally, which reduces the burden on citizens and businesses.

It is a good strategy to ask for information once, and many countries have already started to apply this principle (e.g. Poland and Austria). This does not change the fact that asking for information is still a hassle to both citizens and businesses. The once-only principle doesn’t guarantee that data collected was required to be requested, or that it will be used to its full extent.

Twice-Mandatory Principle Nation

The government should be constantly brainstorming. For example, asking themselves if one agency might need this information and if others could benefit. What insights can we derive from this data beyond the need? Vernon Hill, a Financier, introduced a unique One to Say Yes, Two to Say No rule to establish Metro Bank UK. It takes one person to make the yes decision but two to say no. A second check is required if you are going to reject business.

Imagine how simple and effective a policy would be if governments learned this lesson. Imagine if all information from citizens and businesses could be used for at least two purposes. or two agencies to be considered worthy of requesting it. The Estonian Tax and Customs Board, which is perhaps not surprising given the reputation of tax offices in Estonia, shows the potential for such paradigm shifts. It launched a new strategy in 2014 to combat tax fraud. Each business transaction exceeding EUR1,000 must be report monthly to the entities.

Nation Administrative Burden

To minimise the administrative burden of this, the government introduce an application-programming interface that allows information to be automatically exchange between the company’s accounting software and the state’s tax system

Although there was some resistance from companies at the start, and the former president Toomas Henderik Ilves even vetoed an earlier version of the act in the media, the system was a huge success. Estonia exceeded its initial estimate of EUR30 millions in tax fraud reductions by more than twice.

Many countries, including Spain, Hungary, Romania, Hungary, Spain and Belgium. Have followed a similar approach to detecting and controlling tax fraud. The real value lies in analysing these data beyond fraud.

Analytics And Predictive Models

The next wave of government innovation will be dominate by big data, analytics, and predictive models. It might be possible, for example, to see the complex interdependencies among companies. If single transaction information pieces are compile to create a map of the larger national business context. This raises an interesting question. Could a national government also use the same digital tracking system?