The Future Tech Challenge is a competition that encourages public service organisations to pitch potential problems that they believe might be solved using newer technologies. This will be a pilot competition involving Public Service Bodies where the competition sponsors will offer prizes of work, product or materials, up to value of €100,000 to the most worthy and impactful challenges posed by Public Service Bodies. Making Innovation Real - Ireland's Public Service Innovation Strategy - encourages public service organisations to connect and collaborate across the wider ecosystem to enable greater scaling of innovation. As part of the GovTech agenda, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), will collaborate with industry to better understand how technology can be used to solve problems faced by our public service organisations. DPER will publish a series of case studies outlining how this new technology performed in the challenge following the solution being put in place. This first challenge will involve focusing on engagements with established technology companies that have a global reach. The companies involved in this pilot are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco, and IBM with advice from IDA Ireland. A further iteration of the challenge is being planned for Spring 2022, focusing on greater collaboration with small and medium enterprises with the expert assistance of Enterprise Ireland.
Launching the initiative, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, said: “The Future Tech Challenge is a competition in the form of a series of collaborations between Ireland's Public Service and private sector companies to help drive innovation, experimentation and technology adoption across our Public Service. It is being coordinated by my Department in partnership with Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment through IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland with prize sponsorship from AWS, Cisco and IBM.
“Following the publication of the Public Service Innovation Strategy, a number of leading industry experts engaged with the Reform Office to understand how they could contribute to the Government’s ambition, in view of their experience elsewhere and the application of their established and emerging technologies to solve problems in other sectors.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is important that we engage with the entire innovation ecosystem in which the Public Service operates to drive the uptake of emerging technology to solve pressing Public Service problems”, the Minister concluded. Minister of State Ossian Smyth TD, said:
“The experience of the last 18 months showed how vital it was that we were able to rapidly offer key government services online. We want to build on this momentum to ensure that we meet our medium-term goal that all government services are accessible online via a single, secure digital ID. The future of work is increasingly online and remote, and this challenge will help us find more ways to help move the public service into the future. "I wish to thank AWS, Cisco and IBM for being part of this collaboration."
During the lifetime of the OPS2020 framework, there have been a number of central programmes of events curated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Innovation Fund and Innovation Week being the flagship events. The Future Tech Challenge is another action intended to bolster innovation and experimentation in the Public Service. The challenge will focus on three areas;
- AWS: Cloud Technology which encompasses services such as compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, internet of things, virtual and augmented reality.
- Cisco: Remote Connectivity encompassing wireless and sensor technology, internet of things, cybersecurity, hardware and collaboration solutions.
- IBM: Artificial Intelligence which encompasses data science and machine learning, data governance and integration.
Mark Finlay, Head of Public Sector (Ireland), Amazon Web Services, said:
“As the world becomes ever more digitally-connected, public service organisations are increasingly looking to provide more services online. Cloud computing is proving key to this burgeoning national and global digital transformation, because the flexibility it provides is fundamental to the responsive and nimble public services that people now expect. "AWS is proud to be the Cloud Technology sponsor of the Future Tech Challenge – innovation is in our DNA and we’re looking forward to seeing the creative ideas put forward, and working with the winners to put these proposals into practice.”
Brian Jordan, Head of Innovation & Industry Solutions, Cisco Ireland stated: “Cisco Ireland are proud to support the Public Service Future Tech Challenge. This initiative will help public service reimagine how business is done, by applying technology to build new business models, processes, software and systems. The goal is digital transformation within public service creating new citizen experiences, advanced business models and workforce innovation. "Through the careful, planned application of Cisco solutions, we can help deliver best-in-class networking, remote access, IOT connectivity, automation, collaboration, cloud security, zero trust network access, and observability. It is exciting to see this initiative promote an opportunity for novel and useful solutions that can be applied and scaled across public sector.”
Notes for EditorsThe first iteration of the Public Service Future Tech Challenge will take place from June until October 2021. Details of DPER’s Future Tech Challenge are available here.
For more information see www.ops.gov.ie .
Our Public Service 2020 is the policy framework designed to build on previous reform programmes while expanding the scope of reform to focus on collaboration, innovation and evaluation. For more information click here.
Claire Godkin - Press Officer, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform - 085 806 3969, firstname.lastname@example.org