Information Day

Information Day kicked off with the opening speech from Finland’s State Secretary to the Prime Minister, Ms. Paula Lehtomäki.

Ms. Lehtomäki gave a first hand view from the top of the government on new technology and AI and stressed that governments need to change in order to keep the core unchanged by using means, what ever those maybe, to make it work!

The State Secretary emphasized that co-creation and cooperation, whether at home or outside a government’s borders, are elements required to keep this technological ecosystem viable.

Ms. Lehtomäki presented the Finnish National Artificial Intelligence Strategy which includes among other:

  • The enhancement of business competitiveness through the use of AI
  • The effective utilisation of data in all sectors
  • To ensure top-level expertise and attract top experts
  • To establish new models for collaboration
  • To make bold decisions and investments
  • And to make Finland a front-runner in AI!

The Finnish government’s AI strategy was also presented by ICA National representative Ms. Anna Maija Karjalainen, Director General at Ministry of Finance.

“Digital Future is now - robots are working at the Shared Service Center for HR and Financials.”Anna Maija Karjalainen

Ms. Karjalainen explained that with the help of new operating methods, public services will become user oriented and primarily digital to enable the leap in productivity necessary for the general government finances. And continued that in the development process, priority will be given to services where productivity gains are highest. Digitalisation will be a cross-cutting theme in the government strategy.



Our distinguished keynote speaker, Dr. Christian Guttmann, Vice President, Chief AI and Data Scientist at Tieto, spoke on AI- The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Dr. Guttmann defined AI as the most disruptive class of technologies over the next 10 years, enabling organizations to solve problems with AI that no one has ever encountered previously.

He added that at an initial level AI is a solution to tedious complexities providing personalization, accuracy, speed and scalability.

His minimum viable prediction- “don’t boil the ocean! Think of a minimal way for one prediction to make a difference in your organization.” And shared at least two challenges ahead in AI: Regulation, Ethical guidelines, Standards and AI competency.


During the Government Update Session, chaired by Mr. Magnus Enzel, a panel of CIOs from Finland, Singapore, Canada and Estonia demonstrated real-world practices of digital transformation.

Ms. Anna Maija Karjalainen shared a number of Finland’s practices that are live but also some that are in the works- from the implementation of the Finnish Police’s digitalization for the issue of identity cards and passports to the practical assistance of those implementing “digital leaps.” She also shared the benefits of the Finnish Immigration Service’s Kamu Chatbox which displays fine examples of events in life services that evolve from mere forms to conversations.

Mr. Cheow Hoe Chan, Government CIO of Singapore told us that “Small is beautiful-technology as if people matter.” It is not always the BIG transformations that make the difference and he stressed the importance of building technology around the needs of communities and not just corporations or government.

Mr. Chan presented a number of challenges that brought about smart solutions. In a train disruption incident, it was small data that came to the rescue for Singapore, while parking coupons shifted gear to in the Smart Nation’s overdrive. The Government CIO also shared how his government’s digital touch lends a helping hand to senior citizens, especially since a growing number of them are living alone. A number of apps and services have made saving lives possible with a tap of a panic button! He recommended that the focus should be on the citizen journey and in building relations while keeping in mind that processes should ideally centre on making many small things happen...faster!

Mr. Marc Brouillard, Chief Technology Officer at the Treasury Board Secretariat with the Government of Canada defined digital. He told us that digital does not equate to digitizing analogue material. Digital isn’t just a tech conversation. Digital is not just a thing or an action; it is a mindset and approach that can guide an organization. “Digital = People + Process + Tech”. Mr. Brouillard shared that Canada’s focus is on “New Governance to Get to Digital.” He stressed that in order to ensure this implementation occurs properly, the right governance needs to be in place. Concept cases allow us to tackle problems from the start and think more about our technical solutions as part of the broader investment cycle.

His three key takeaways:

  • Define opportunities and challenges to start transition to Digital Government.
  • Set up the right foundations. At an enterprise level, establish the right policies, tools, and people to enable a digital government.
  • Start! In and iterative and agile way through pilots for AI and other types of disruptive technology.

Mr. Siim Sikkut, Government CIO of Estonia highlighted e-Estonia and the building of a digital society. Making life easier by digitally empowering life events, he promised there is more on the way for Estonians as only marriage, divorce and selling their house have not gone digital…yet.

Mr. Sikkut shared a number of AI trials in the Estonian government including anomaly detection in X-road data traffic, agricultural grant compliance from visual analysis of satellite images, chatbot in e-Residency help desk and chatbot for unemployment benefits.

For their AI strategy Estonia has formed a National AI task force to come up with a roadmap for making use of AI in government and economy as well as to formulate legal proposals for #krattlaw by end of spring 2019.


Next up we took a look at how "Two are better than one because they have a better return for their labor." This session, chaired by Mr. Shimon Broner, looked at the co-operation between Government and Industry as an excellent example of the wise proverb. The Government provides the necessary funding to enable the Industry’s competitively advanced technological research, while we can’t overlook the role of Academia who also joins at the forefront as a major player in the R&D process.

For the government side, Mr. Sagi Dagan, VP, Head of Growth Division Israel Innovation Authority told us that the key is advancement of innovation as leverage for sustainable and inclusive growth which will lead to maintaining and strengthening of innovation assets, enhancing of economic impact and the enabling of future technologies. He highlighted that the areas of focus should be on:

  • Harnessing innovation for societal challenges
  • Ignite innovation in non-Hi Tech sectors
  • Support human, financial and research infrastructure
  • Support growth of firms
  • Strengthen cooperation between Industry and Academia
  • And promote strategic cooperation with International markets

The industry perspective came from Mr. Jussi Aho, CEO of the Fira Group OY who showed us through the example of the Finnish Government Kira-Digi project that a successful co-creation is made possible by enabling an ecosystem of thinking, openness and transparency, bold co-experiments and lastly by focusing on user experience.

The benefits outlined through such co-creation are:

  • Change in regulation, rules and common standards
  • Improvement in efficiency and productivity
  • Increase in digitalization
  • Introduction of new and innovative business models and culture
  • Increase in transparency
  • And increase in positive impact.


During the Members Update, chaired by Mr. Denis Skinner and Mr. Peter Bruce, member states presented their major achievements and concern of the past year. They were joined during this briefing by observing countries and WB participating members who shared their country reports.

The full country reports are available to members in the registered for members only area of our website.


And while the main floor hosted the Members Update, a number of member state CIOs shared valuable experience with the World Bank HELP programme participants on topics related to digital transformation challenges.


A great thank you to Mr. Toshi Zamma for chairing this day!