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Forum on World Class IT - 359 Interviews and Podcasts

Welcome to the Forum on World Class IT podcast series, a collection of exclusive interviews with Chief Information Officers and other IT industry thought leaders. Learn from the experts on how best to establish a truly World Class IT organization.

Taavi Kotka
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January 15, 2018: Taavi Kotka, former CIO of Estonia

Among other topics, Taavi discussed the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • The conditions that enabled Estonia’s transformation into the world’s most advanced digital society
  • Taavi’s transition from CEO of one of the largest software development companies in the Baltic states to Estonian Government CIO, as well as some of the early projects he led
  • How blockchain technology can provide an extra layer of data security
  • How Estonia reduces friction for citizens by using regulation to encourage data sharing between government entities
  • The ways in which digital technology improves efficiency and simplifies life for Estonian citizens in areas such as healthcare, banking, taxes, education, voting, law enforcement, among others
  • How giving citizens control over their data creates a self-enforcing mechanism that protects privacy and provides security
  • The genesis of Estonia’s e-Residency program, and how it allows Estonia to grow its economy without relying on increased birth rates or immigration
  • Taavi’s view on the disruption of government and the future of digital society

Taavi is the former CIO of the Estonian Government, which is widely recognized as the most advanced digital society in the world. As CIO, Taavi was the driving force behind many of Estonia’s e-government innovations such as its e-Residency program, which, just two years after launch, offers a transnational digital identity to over 20,000 e-Residents worldwide.

Prior to his four-year term as the Estonian Government CIO, Taavi was the CEO of Nortal (previously Webmedia), one of the largest software development companies in the Baltic States. Taavi was one of Webmedia’s founding members and served as its Chief Development Officer and Managing Director prior to becoming CEO. Taavi serves as Special Advisor to the European Commissioner for Digital Single Market, advising on issues regarding digital single market issues and e-governance. Taavi was named Estonian Entrepreneur of the year in 2011 by Ernst & Young, the European CIO of the year in 2014 by ICT Spring, and the 12th brightest business mind in North-Europe in 2016 by the Nordic Business Forum.

Taavi obtained a Master of Science in Engineering from Tallinn University of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Information Technology from the University of Tartu.

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview