Smart Digital Societies: Lessons from Estonia, with Calum Cameron

The Smart Community Podcast

By Zoe Eather

Smart Digital Societies: Lessons from Estonia, with Calum Cameron

Sunday, 9 August

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a really interesting conversation with Calum Cameron, an Aussie based in Estonia, which is the world's first digital society and Europe's favourite startup ecosystem. Responding to the COVID-19 lockdown in Estonia he helped trigger the Hack the Crisis movement and was an organiser The Global Hackathon which combined connected more than 250k people from over 100 countries to develop and implement immediate solutions to the crises, which we talk about in this episode. We start by discussing Calum’s background in IT helping the financial services digitalise, and how he came to be in Estonia. Calum then shares with us a history of Estonia, why they focused heavily on digitalisation in the 1990s, plus some of the interesting ways that manifests, like their digital citizen or e-residency program. Calum tells us how he got into this Smart Community space and why a diverse cross section from society is so important in getting different perspectives and different skillsets to best leverage the technology that’s out there to solve community problems. We talk about how Smart concepts are understood by the general public in Estonia, including how data sharing works between agencies to make renewing your drivers licence a smooth process. Calum and I talk about the importance of trust and the social license to operate in digital societies, and how both public and private sectors in Estonia have intentionally invested in the affordability and reliability of digital infrastructure, as well as dedicated digital education and engagement programs to improve digital literacy in the whole population. We finish our chat discussing the opportunities and challenges of e-learning and digital collaboration, including his work with the recent digital hackathons, plus Calum’s favourite resources in the Smart Community space. At one point we also mention Smart Community festivals and I say in the interview that I discussed it with Martin Tomitsch in his episode but no, it was actually Heath Raftery who I spoke to in Episode 113 about Smart Regions, so we’ve linked all those episodes up in the show notes too. As always we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

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The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.
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