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Ideas to improve services

CivTech offers public sector a new direction

Ben Hutton
Ben Hutton of xDesign presented on pot-holes (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services)

Chance to tackle cost and inefficiency

Public sector organisations could drive down costs and improve their efficiency by adopting new technologies to deliver services, it was claimed today.

An audience of mainly public sector officials heard from nine companies with ideas for tackling a range of issues from air quality control to repairing pot-holed roads, flood warning systems to internet security.

The first CivTech Demo day brings the technology sector into the heart of public sector operations by addressing the way it works, or doesn’t work.

The nine companies, drawn from 95 applicants, were set a number of tasks last summer and presented their proposals to a gathering of 200 in Edinburgh.

Alexander Holt. programme director, told delegates: “We are confident that in these nine teams there are genuine solutions to the challenges published in July.

“But those nine teams and their products are just the apex of a much larger, broader movement we’ve witnessed.”

Colin Cook, acting director, digital directorate at the Scottish Government, said the progress made by the teams “marks another radical shift in the way the public sector works.”

The teams were: River Track, Node on the Edge, Diddo, xDesign, Whereverly, Wallet Services, Street Change, Symphonic and Wallscope.

Such is the early international success of the programme that the French Government is closely scrutinising it with a view to replicating it across the Channel, writes Bill Magee.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scots Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, told delegates that it had been exciting to see the pilot programme unfold and getting noticed in the marketplace at home and abroad.

“It is really very inspiring to witness this demo day marking a milestone in the CivTech pilot which, in a little over three months, has had a hugely positive impact generating interest and a momentum in equal measure.

“As the world’s first cross-public sector technology accelerator CivTech represents innovation in action,” he said. “You have created a buzz and the word is clearly spreading.

“I met with my French counterpart who is very interested in CivTech, so it has reached beyond our shores..this is something you can all be proud of.

“This is because it is exciting, truly unique and ground-breaking which other governments and the private sector are taking a keen interest in.”

The minister emphasised that such public/private sector collaboration is key along with cross-party support in CivTech.

This will ensure a vital boost in Scotland’s public services and simultaneously the country’s potential in a digital world.

CivTech officials will keep in close touch with the French Minister of State for the Digital Sector & Innovation Axelle Lemaire’s department to ensure a smooth cross-fertilisation of the new venture’s hi-tech offering.

Gary Martin
Gary Martin of River Track: flood warning systems (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services
Nick Cooper
Nick Cooper of Diddo: security (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services)
Gordon Rates
Gordon Rates of Node on the Edge: (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services)

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