Arthur D. Little in discussion with e-government leader Siim Sikkut

13 February 2023 2 min. read

When it comes to best-in-class digital governments, most studies point at a surprising frontrunner: Estonia. How did a tiny Baltic state become one of the world’s foremost digital government? To find out more, Arthur D. Little’s Hala Akiki sat down with Siim Sikkut – Estonia’s former government CIO and mastermind behind e-Estonia.

The number of awards, recognition and plaudits that have been flowing to Estonia over the past years has been astounding. The UN’s E-Government Survey, Wired Magazine, the EU’s EGovernment Benchmark (delivered by Capgemini Invent), and several academic benchmarks to name a few – they all rate the tiny Baltic state’s digital services as the world’s best.

Google the ‘world’s most advanced digital government’, and the first two pages of results name mainly one country: Estonia. And even hot off the press intelligent robot ChatGPT points at Estonia as a global leader.

Siim Sikkut has been an integral part of the government’s digital ambition. After nearly 17 years in the civil service, including five years government CIO, Sikkut is described by many as the mastermind behind the journey. As CIO, his job was to set the strategy and policies, to launch and steer key initiatives and regulation in areas of digital government, cybersecurity, and connectivity in the country.

Sikkut also played a large role in building the country’s e-residents programme (a digital ID).

In discussion with Hala Akiki from Arthur D. Little, Sikkut discusses some of key learnings from Estonia’s digital journey, and how technology adoption can help governments – including those in the Middle East – with better serving stakeholders (businesses, citizens) and preparing for future developments.

Sikkut and Akiki also discuss the growing importance of developing secure and customer-friendly digital services for citizens, with particular focus on how emerging technologies such as AI can play a role.

Siim Sikkut
In 2022, Sikkut left his role at the Estonian government. He currently is Managing Partner of Digital Nation, a digital advisory firm specialised in digital strategy for governments, governance, digital service reforms, and public sector innovation. He is the author of the book ‘Digital Government Excellence: Lessons from Effective Digital Leaders’, published in the summer of last year.

Hala Akiki
Hala Akiki is the Marketing and Communication Manager of global management consultancy Arthur D. Little in the Middle East. She has over twelve years of experience in marketing, advertising, public relations, and communications across the MENA region, and previously worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and Leo Burnett.