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Digital Transformation in Government Insight #66: Most influential people in digital government

Apolotical recently released its top 100 influential people in digital government across the world.

Salsa Digital 18 September 2018

The top 100

The top 100 is broken into the top 20 and then separated by sector — national government, politicians, local/regional government, academia, business, international organisations, and non-profit. It features a range of people, including prime ministers/presidents, the inventor of the world wide web and open activists (open source, open data, open government, etc.).

The top 20

The top 20 represent the most influential people in digital government around the world. They are:

The Aussies

Four Aussies made the list — Malcolm Turnbull, Pia Andrews, Michael Keenan and Randall Brugeaud.

Malcolm Turnbull made the list as then Prime Minister of Australia. The apolitical bio highlights his commitment to digital government within both his role as Prime Minister and previously as Minister for Communication. It mentions the creation of the Digital Transformation Office while he was Minister for Communication and the reforms to that office/agency while he was Prime Minister. Of course, during this time it became the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and took on a broader, more central ICT role. Importantly, Malcolm Turnbull actually made the top 20, a huge achievement and the only Aussie to secure a top 20 position.

Pia Andrews was recently appointed NSW’s executive director of digital government. Prior to that she was service integration lead at New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs (as per her apolitical bio) and has held a number of roles in government in Australia, including director of data infrastructure and government engagement at Australia’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She is well known as an open government, open source and open data evangelist.

Michael Keenan is the Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation. His apolitical bio mentions two key contributions: the development of the digital identity framework within the DTA and the establishment of a Digital Investment Management Office (also part of the DTA), which oversees significant ICT and digital investments.

Finally, Randall Brugeaud, the Head of the DTA, was also named in the top 100 most influential people in digital government. A more recent appointment (July this year) being named on the apolitical list is a testament to the influence of the DTA in general. Of course, in terms of the past influence on Australia’s digital government, we’d also like to acknowledge Paul Shetler’s contributions.

While the change in leadership may bring some changes to the digital landscape in Australia, it’s unlikely the government's commitment to open government and digital transformation will wane, no matter who's in power. So while Malcolm Turnbull is no longer one of the most influential people in Australian digital government, his contribution was significant and we expect the government’s commitment to continue.

Salsa Digital’s take

It’s great to see so many governments, people and organisations making a difference in their own part of the world, and globally, to bring better digital services to citizens. We’re following this important list of people and looking forward to seeing their contributions in the coming months/years.

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