A Digital Dawn: Could Chile Replicate Estonia’s Success?

by Federico N. Fernández

Imagine a world where you could start a company in three hours or have absolute control over your personal data. Sounds too good to be true? Well, Estonia has achieved just that with its digital governance model. But could Chile be next?

Often hailed as a paragon of modern digital governance, Estonia blends technology with savvy policymaking to offer its citizens seamless online services. But here’s a thought: what if Latin America’s next digital giant is not Brazil or Argentina but Chile?

Recent insights suggest that Chile is poised to embrace a digital renaissance. According to the revealing survey  “Perceptions of Chileans on Digitalization” commissioned by We Are Innovation, an overwhelming 92 percent of Chileans advocate for digitized government services, while 76 percent stand against any hindrance to technological advancement. Intriguing, isn’t it? How might this eagerness fuel Chile’s journey toward digital supremacy?

At the heart of Estonia’s digital prowess is not mere tech wizardry but a culture of trust and forward-thinking. As Marten Kaevats points out, “success in digital services is not fundamentally about technology.” Instead, it is about “mindset, and building a culture of trust.” Estonia’s feats, from its lightning-fast business setups to its unique e-Residency, exemplify the power of such an approach.

Drawing parallels, if Chile harnesses its public’s ardent digital desire, the rewards could be twofold: economic revitalization and enhanced citizen agency. Think about it: if Estonia can free up a chunk of its GDP through digital means, why can’t Chile tap into similar economic bounties? Plus, echoing Estonia’s “truth by design” model, Chile’s inclination for individual data autonomy might be a game-changer.

A ‘government as a service’ vision awaits Chile, hinting at a sleek, citizen-centric future. The prospects seem tantalizing with a population also eager to delve into innovations like artificial intelligence. However, are there bumps in this digital road?

Indeed, some challenges lie ahead. The political class could be a double-edged sword. While a mere 16 percent of Chileans perceive societal aversion to innovation, a sizeable 37 percent feel that political backing is lacking. Isn’t it time for leaders to heed this digital call? And let’s not forget: building a robust digital infrastructure and ensuring cyber-safety will be fundamental. A digital future, after all, should be inclusive and secure.

With resounding public endorsement, Chile stands at the cusp of a digital revolution. Embracing this momentum, it might bloom as Latin America’s answer to Estonia. Chile’s potential ascent could also be a beacon for its neighbors as our world tilts digital.

The ultimate challenge? For Chilean leaders to transcend traditional bureaucratic roles and champion this digital dawn. With the digital clock ticking, one might ask: if not now, when?

Fueled by public solid enthusiasm for digitization, Chile has a golden opportunity to emerge as a digital governance leader in Latin America, potentially mirroring Estonia’s success. 

* Federico N. Fernández is a visionary leader dedicated to driving innovation and change. As the CEO of We Are Innovation, a global network of 30+ think tanks and NGOs, Federico champions innovative solutions worldwide. His expertise and passion for innovation have earned him recognition from prestigious publications such as The Economist, El País, Folha de São Paulo, and Newsweek. Federico has also delivered inspiring speeches and lectures across three continents, authored numerous scholarly articles, and co-edited several books on economics. 

Source: We Are Innovation

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