The session explores the notion of innovation diplomacy. Not yet a widely known concept, innovation diplomacy uses new ideas and technology to build relations between governments with a focus on delivering shared policy outcomes and better public services. Innovation diplomacy is the idea at the heart of the CivTech Alliance’s COP26 Global Scale-Up Programme, a highly ambitious programme that brought together 8 government innovation teams (including the US, Estonia, Australia and Scotland), and 3 academic institutions from 10 countries to give 18 climate tech companies an unprecedented international market access and opportunity in the run up to and during COP26.
Innovation Diplomacy: Cross-Border Collaboration to Save the Climate
Alexander Holt, Eva Sonnenmoser
Emerging Opportunities and Partnerships/ Scottish Government
Alexander Holt established the Scottish Government’s CivTechⓇ Programme in 2015, comprising the world’s first digital public services accelerator and Europe’s first GovTech programme. In 2017 he won the Leadership Award at the Scottish Public Service Awards in 2017. In 2020 he was named as one of the Top 20 global leaders in GovTech after setting up the CivTech Alliance – a global network of similar government teams.
His primary role now is focused on creating international partnerships and innovation diplomacy through the CivTech Alliance. Its main programme of delivery is the Global Scale-Up Programme the mission of which is to source, surface and scale tech solutions for global public service applications. The first iteration brought together 10 countries and 18 companies for COP26, for which his team won the Apolitical Global Public Service Team of the Year 2021 (Climate category).
He is a massive champion of the mindset of public entrepreneurship – the persistence to move forward, the resilience to take the flak and the urgency to get results. Using an agile approach, I seek to shift public service mindset from a place of risk aversion, to risk receptiveness. This has enabled public sector organisations to redefine their procurement methodologies, develop pathways to harness the power of digital innovation and create new products for the public sector that improve services, cut costs, free up resources, and improve the user experience.
Associate at the Innovation Lab/ Staatsministerium Baden-Württemberg
Eva Sonnenmoser is an associate at the Innovation Lab of the state government of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany. The “InnoLab_bw” supports the state ministries in helping innovations in important future topics to achieve a breakthrough quickly and effectively. One emphasis is on innovation within the public sector. Thereby, the InnoLab deals with the question of how the state can make administration more innovative with the help of GovTechs, but also new digital tools and new working methods.
The InnoLab is part of the CivTech Alliance and was a partner of last year’s CivTech Alliance COP26 Global Scale-Up Programme.