The first virtual session of the ‘Digital Next Leadership Series’ concluded Wednesday, June 23, 2021 on a high note, with powerful discussions on the unstoppable rise of a culture of innovation within the government sector. The successful session was attended by 1170 delegates and VIPs representing both the public and private sectors, technology solution providers and media professionals.

Staged ahead of the 2022 Digital Next Summit, the session themed ‘Government of the Future’ was hosted by the Department of Government Support (DGS) represented by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) and organized by Messe Frankfurt Middle East (MFME).

The highlights of the online event were a panel discussion on ‘Building the World’s Most Innovative Government,’ a keynote presentation titled ‘Insights about the government of the future,’ and a tech presentation dubbed as ‘New Technologies to Enable the Government of the Future.’

At the core of the expert conversations was the pivotal role of the digital transformation of governments worldwide. The attendees delved deep into the digital transformation journeys of key countries such as the UAE, Singapore and Estonia to closely examine the role of technology and innovation in re-shaping the government services offered to customers in these countries. They also exchanged thoughts on the current and emerging technology trends that have the potential to transform government services, in addition to discussing their accelerated digital transformation plans and new cooperation formats designed for the public and private sectors.

H.E. Rashid Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of DED, said, “The first virtual session of the Digital Next Leadership Series has focused on enabling “the Government of the future”. It offers an ideal opportunity to shed light on the Abu Dhabi government’s digital transformation journey, which reflects the significant efforts that the emirate’s government dedicates to promote and keep abreast of the technological innovations. He also emphasized that the local economy of Abu Dhabi has become greatly reliant on technology and innovation as a cornerstone in the emirate’s development plans as well as its future vision to prepare for the next fifty years.

H.E. pointed out that the digital transformation has become a key driver and an essential option to promote the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s efforts to respond, address, and keep up with the changes brought about by the “COVID-19” pandemic. He also stressed the role of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in building a knowledge-based economy that depends on technological solutions through promoting the digital transformation for all its services and supportive initiatives designed to support the private sector companies, which in turn enables them to enhance their competitiveness, regionally and internationally in all fields.

For his part, H.E. Dr. Mohamed AbdelHameed Al Askar, Director General, ADDA, said: “Thanks to the government’s intensified efforts to transform the public sector and create fruitful collaborations with private entities, Abu Dhabi has been known as one of the most competitive and innovative cities around the world. Its continuous adoption of emerging technologies and implementation of appropriate regulations are all making a huge difference in the emirate’s transition to a digital era. Today’s session was an ideal opportunity for us to share thoughts and experiences with each other. It allowed us to put a spotlight on Abu Dhabi Government’s accelerated digitalization programs to improve various government processes and make peoples’ lives easier.”

H.E. Mohammed Bin Taliah, Chief of Government Services of the UAE Government at the Prime Minister’s Office, stressed that delivering a comprehensive digital transformation of services is a priority for the UAE government. It is a strategic goal that paves the way to providing a seamless and proactive customer experience that meets the aspirations of customers, further facilitates their lives, and enhances the trust between government and society.

Bin Taliah said that the Digital Next Summit represents a pioneering platform that offers insights into visions and ways to accelerate the digital transformation efforts in the UAE, provides opportunities for exchanging expertise, knowledge, and best practices in this field, and support forging collaboration and partnerships at the federal and local levels aiming at designing future services that are human-centric.

During the virtual session, the speakers also pointed to the UAE’s relentless commitment to implementing cutting-edge technologies and instilling innovation in its institutions to bring happiness to its people, enhance their experience, and raise their standards of living in a modern world.

Specifically, the UAE’s adoption of a new innovative service delivery operating model for citizen-government interactions was brought to the fore. The attendees also tackled the growing role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in improving government services and elevating customer experience in the country.

Aside from the UAE, Singapore’s vision to create a government that is ‘digital to the core, and serves with the heart’ was also showcased, as well as Estonia’s overarching initiatives to create and develop its digital government services according to the needs of its citizens and businesses.

The virtual session’s key speakers comprised H.E. Al Blooshi; H.E. Dr. Al Askar; H.E. Bin Taliah; H.E. Nele Leosk, Ambassador of Digital Affair, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia; H.E. Chan Cheow Hoe, Government Chief Digital Technology Officer, Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, Singapore; and Sayed Hashish, Regional General Manager, Microsoft UAE.

The in-depth panel discussion was moderated by Fady Kassatly, Partner – Advisory, Digital and Innovation Group Leader, KPMG.

To be hosted until December 2021, the ‘Digital Next Leadership Series’ aims to provide exclusive and engaging content on the governments’ digital transformation initiatives worldwide. The topics are selected based on the content pillars of Gx Next, Data Next, Technology Next, and Cyber Next of Digital Next Summit, which will take place on February 22-23, 2022 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.

The series is also designed to give an opportunity for delegates to build their networks via online chats and video calls and explore the innovative products and solutions showcased by its online exhibitors.