AWS Public Sector Blog

Future of Government Awards 2023 celebrate use of technology to transform people’s lives

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Today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)—the leading UN organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change—the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Institute, and Public Digital, a consultancy whose purpose is to help global institutions thrive in the internet era, announced the recipients of the Future of Government Awards 2023.

The awards champion practitioners, teams, and leaders who transform people’s lives by applying digital solutions and leveraging technology to reform the public sector for those it serves. Entries more than doubled from the inaugural 2022 edition, with 334 nominations from 63 countries across six continents. This diversity is apparent in the awardees who represent a broad array of sectors from healthcare to public service to education to agriculture. And this range can have important multiplier effects in expanding the use of existing and proven digital solutions.

“A core focus of the Future of Government Awards is the importance of open source,” said Joe Hooper, director of the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development. “Making solutions available for other governments to adapt and adopt can accelerate digital transformation. This openness enables governments to leverage solutions working successfully elsewhere, saving time and money by not duplicating efforts – and providing an opportunity to learn from the digital experiences of other countries and contexts. This resource can then be deployed elsewhere in order to deepen the reach, extent, and impact of digital.”

Similarly, the extent of digital innovation across local and national public sectors demonstrates that digital is an essential tool for improving the lives of people.

A highly accomplished global selection committee chose winners from the nominations received, with the exception of the Lifetime Achievement Award which the selection committee chose directly. This blog post highlights the 2023 awardees.

Digital advocates of the year

Winner: Digital Identity Directorate Team – Brazil

The Digital Identity Directorate Team implemented the innovative GOV.BR Digital Identity, revolutionizing Brazilian citizens’ relationship with the public sector through a secure, simple, and interoperable identity. Released in 2019, GOV.BR has become an indispensable service and is part of Brazilians’ daily lives. It has 155 million users, performs three billion authentications a month, and enables secure access to 4,500 digital services from more than 1,000 public agencies.

Highly commended:

Open source creation

Winner: Bahmni – Bangalore, India

Bahmni is an integrated digital health solution which connects a range of existing systems such as those managing non-communicable diseases, reproductive and child health, teleconsultation, and inventory management. Bahmni is designed to improve the quality of patient care in settings with limited bandwidth and infrastructure. Today, Bahmni supports millions of patients across more than 50 countries.

Highly commended:

Open source adaptation

Winner: PhilSys – Quezon City, Philippines

PhilSys is an adaptation of Modular Open Source Identity Platform (MOSIP). The Philippines’ population of more than 110 million is spread across thousands of islands, making centralized registration impossible. The country has poor internet connectivity in remote places, so the team worked with MOSIP and vendors to engineer special field kits that let enrollment officers travel door-to-door to collect people’s information and then upload the data into the system in batches when they have connectivity. The team also worked with MOSIP to make the ID credential a digitally signed QR code so it could be verified offline. Eighty-three million people are already registered with PhilSys.

Highly commended:

  • Smart Data Ukimet – Astana, Kazakhstan (adaptation of Apache Superset, Apache Airflow, and Knime)
  • Trembita – Ukraine (adaptation of X-Road)

Leadership award

Winner: Abhishek Singh – New Delhi, India

Abhishek Singh is president and CEO of National E-Governance Division (NeGD), managing director and CEO of Digital India Corporation, and CEO of Karmayogi Bharat. Much of India’s digital public infrastructure is thriving due to his leadership. This includes DIKSHA (digital infrastructure for national school education); Karmayogi Bharat (governance reforms through upskilling and lifelong learning of government officials); CoWIN (digital platform which facilitated the vaccination of 1 billion people against COVID-19); and DigiLocker (digital wallet enabling the sharing of 6 billion electronic documents).

Highly commended:

Lifetime achievement award

Winner: Jennifer Pahlka – United States

Jennifer Pahlka founded Code for America in 2009, a non-profit organization focused on improving government services through technology and design. She served as executive director from its formation until 2020. Pahlka served in President Obama’s administration as the deputy chief technology officer from 2013-14, where she worked on initiatives to modernize government technology and improve digital services. In 2015, Pahlka founded Civic Hall, a collaborative workspace and community center for civic tech innovators, activists, and entrepreneurs. Pahlka is recognized for her work in civic tech and government innovation. She has been influential in promoting the use of technology to make government more transparent, efficient, and accessible, and she continues to advocate for the use of technology to address societal challenges.

“It is innovators and innovations like these that can truly accelerate government transformation and positively impact the lives of countless individuals across the globe,” said Liam Maxwell, director of the International Central Government Team at AWS. “These awards continue to uncover such amazing people and solutions, with stories that need to be heard. I’m particularly excited by the trend we’re seeing, where these transformative efforts are emerging across government, not just from specialist digital teams.”

Open source and more resources

When a government organization develops a solution to meet a shared common need and publishes their solution as open source software, other governments can reuse their proven solution—saving agencies around the world time and resources along the way to modernization and innovation. The International Central Government Team has curated a growing collection of no-cost, open source solutions designed specifically for government services. Learn from the experiences and research of other public sector organizations around the world using open source code for digital services, standards, practices, and more by visiting the Open Government Solutions library on AWS.

The AWS Institute creates a library of guides, videos, and articles featuring insights and best practices shared by public sector leaders to help their peers accelerate their transformation programs. Read the following resources on government innovation from the AWS Institute:

Jeff Kratz

Jeff Kratz

Jeff leads Amazon Web Services (AWS) Worldwide Public Sector Industry Sales, which serves the government, national security, education, aerospace and satellite, nonprofit, and public health industries. Jeff guides the creation, modernization, and execution of the industry sales business to launch mission-critical cloud solutions that impact millions of people globally.

Pete Herlihy

Pete Herlihy

Pete serves the International Central Government Team at Amazon Web Services (AWS) as principal product manager and lead on digital public infrastructure. He's focused on stimulating the creation and reuse of open source solutions in the public sector in order to help governments rapidly improve their citizens' experience. Pete has more than a decade of experience creating, sharing, and reusing open source solutions within government.