ICEGOV 2011 – My Reflections (Part 1) : Leadership and Open Government

I spent the last week of September in Tallinn – the calm capital of Estonia to participate in the 5th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2011). It was my first time to make it to this conference series and was happy to be organized in Estonia which is widely recognized for being one of the “fully functioning” eGovernments around the world.

The conference website offers full information about it including the presentations, videos and photos of its sessions and activities, but I would like to dedicate this post and other upcoming ones to share some of my personal reflections on the conference.

I participated in the conference with a poster on “Cloud Computing for UAE eGovernment: Opportunities, Challenges and Service Models“, and I’ll share the link to it once its published on ACM.org . I’m glad that my publication made it through the review process because the acceptance rate as we have been told by the organizers was less than 25%! Here is a photo of me at the poster session discussing the topic with some visitors!

Me (left) with Marco Predimi from Italy after having a discussion on my poster topic

The conference was a huge gathering of eGovernment practitioners and researchers, around 500 of them from 60 countries. The three full-days conference program was organized into four tracks and I, I’ve decided to focus on three main topics: Open Government and Social Media – because they are my key areas of interest for the past two years and e-Estonia because this was an opportunity to finally have a hands-on experience with the practices of e-Governance in this Baltic country and try to understand the key enablers behind that. In this post, I’m sharing with you highlights on the first topic while I’ll leave the other two to a later separate post.

I find it difficult to talk about ICEGOV without expressing my admiration for the opening keynote made by the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. This was definitely one of the best times I hear a politician talking about his perception and understanding of eGovernment. It revealed to me a key enabler of the Estonian success in eGovernment: leadership commitment. You can watch the video of this keynote here.

For me and in addition to keynote, the conference’s most exciting part was the session of Chris Vein – Deputy CTO and Head of Open Government Initiative
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He made an informative presentation about the Open Government Partnership launched on September 20th in New York and the US efforts in this field.

Personally, I noticed two things during Chris’s presentation and side discussion I had with him: his personal commitment and passion about the issue, and his continued emphasis that the Open Government Partnership is not about exporting the American model to other countries. But, it’s an opportunity for each member country to develop its own local version of open government.

You can watch the video of Chris’s presentation and the following discussion panel here. And I’ll conclude this post with a photo of me with Chris!

My photo with Chris Vein - Deputy CTO and Head of Open Government Initiative  White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

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