By 2016, long before the current Covid-19 pandemic started pushing to the globe towards digitisation, Estonia, a tiny country in the Baltic region, had already made its mark..
Named ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’ by the Wired magazine, Estonia has built a secure and transparent system where 99 per cent of government services are online.
The country also holds the world record for startups per person, and it’s outpacing the rest of Europe.
It is now only natural for the country’s government to push the boundaries of digitisation further.
Digital Testbed Framework
The Estonian government on Tuesday announced the Digital Testbed Framework, a global initiative inviting anyone to come and build or try out their new ideas, prototypes, products, or whole new digital services in the country.
IT minister of Estonia Andres Sutt says, “In order to keep our digital government innovation going, we believe in open innovation and partnerships. That’s why the Digital Testbed Framework was born. It is yet further proof how Estonia is not waiting for the future, but actively building it, we’re ready to be a pathfinder in digital government.”
The Digital Testbed Framework is a form of collaboration between the Government of Estonia and interested stakeholders to cooperate in IT development without the complex web of procurement rules.
What’s in it for you
As part of this initiative, the open-source software behind the government’s digital ecosystem will be freely available to try. Additionally, users can rubber-stamp their ideas and obtain proof of concept.
The collaboration model allows users to produce government-level IT solutions safely through live-market testing and approval in a nationwide testbed, without lengthy sales or approval processes.
To date, the Digital Testbed Framework has been used by the Estonian parliament, the Ministry of Education and Research, and the Estonian Health Board to create HOIA – the official COVID-19 exposure notification app for Estonia.
The framework has been used to help the Police and Border Guard t detect domestic violence cases, and across other applications such as the TEXTA toolkit ( an AI functionality to predict whether comments should or shouldn’t be published in public forums)
Siim Sikkut, CIO of Estonia says, “The problem many start-ups face today is that the environment for cooperation the public sector is built on is old, outdated and inflexible and this makes integration and collaboration difficult. As the saying goes, ‘there’s no need to reinvent the wheel,’ and that’s why we’re inviting anyone and everyone to use the same open-source software we used to create our own digital government platform, for free.”
For more information or to propose a collaboration project via the Digital Testbed Framework, click here. The deadline for application is October 10, 2021.