Edge of Government

The future
is biological

13 - 15 FEBRUARY 2023
Madinat Jumeirah
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The future is biological We spend much of our time in virtual worlds, We have paradoxically been reminded of our biology,

We missed the human touch, We understood the importance of care, We sought refuge in nature,

We ground ourselves in nature, in places, in communities. It's here that we can find inspiration to reimagine services, create new infrastructures, build collective value.

We started our journey in nature, And it is to nature we must return, to see with new eyes.

Download brochure Download OECD report

Edge of Government 2023

The Edge of Government innovation experience challenges visitors to think in new and often counter-intuitive ways about how to solve the most pressing challenges of our time. The main purpose of the exhibit is to inform, inspire and trigger new thinking through interactive experiences. It also offers visitors the chance to have a dialogue with the brilliant innovators behind each case study.

Explore this year's cases

From Web3 to Webtree

City of The Hague
The Netherlands

Contributors & partners:

What if we could store data and capture carbon at the same time? Today data storage represents 4% of global CO2 emissions - more than the aviation industry! Server farms also consume enormous amounts of water. But what if all of your government's digital files were stored in just a few grams of DNA of a plant? How many emissions would that save?

To combat the problem of 'Data Warming', the municipality of The Hague and Grow Your Own Cloud conceptualised the Urban Data Forest. The technology stores data inside the genomes of trees. Unlike data centres, plants and trees create their own energy, absorb CO2, and provide us with oxygen. Ultimately, the Urban Data Forest could replace unsustainable server farms and reduce CO2 emissions. What else can we reimagine working with nature?

Designing a caring city

Bogotá Mayor's Office
Republic of Colombia

Contributors & partners:

Are we taking enough care of our caretakers? In many parts of the world, mostly women are working as full-time unpaid caregivers to their kids, elders or other struggling family members. The care they provide is not recognized as productive and valuable work, leaving them impoverished and unable to earn a living, pursue personal goals, or simply get a few hours off. And yet, research shows, for example, that a grandmother’s death can reduce by 30% the chance that her daughter enters the labour force, and reduce her earnings by 50%. So what opportunities could we create if our cities were redesigned our caregiving?

The city of Bogotá has radically reorganized the city to provide services, not only to those who receive care, but also to those who provide care through their Care Blocks. Care Blocks are areas where caregivers and those they care for can access city services which were prioritized based on their needs and are located within a 15- to 20-minute walk, eliminating the need of long commutes.

This allows caregivers to have more free time for themselves without worry or guilt. On average, caregivers gain around 5 hours of personal time per week. With over 300,000 services already in place, the Bogotá Care System has helped thousands of caregivers to pursue an education, generate income and take care of themselves. The system has also inspired similar initiatives in other cities. What else can happen when we put care at the center of our planning?

Protecting neurorights before it's too late

Government of Chile
Republic of Chile

Contributors & partners:

In the near future, it might very well be possible to type out an email with your thoughts or gain superhuman memory. These innovations all sound very exciting, but since our brain is such an important part of who we are, the development of neurotechnology such as brain implants creates a lot of new questions and moral dillemas. What do these developments mean for your brain integrity and personal identity? Should anyone be in a position to decide who gets brain enhancements, and who doesn't? And how do we deal with the potential danger of manipulation (e.g. behavioural modifications)?

With experts sounding the alarm, Chile is pioneering the protection of neurorights. It is the first country in the world that, rather than waiting for neurotechnology developments, proactively amended its constitution to safeguard the mental privacy, free will and equal treatment of citizens. Should governments draw a line in the sand and protect the safety of human identity before technology develops to allow unthinkable manipulations to our brains?

Take care of a tree, get a new income

City of Freetown
Republic of Sierra Leone

Contributors & partners:

Heat is an invisible threat to people's health and safety, and is likely to become more so in the future. A recent study in Europe showed that 2,600 premature deaths could be prevented by increasing city tree coverage to 30%. Trees can help in cooling down cities, but many treeplanting efforts fail because of the difficulty to grow the plants after they have been seeded. Recognising the threat, Freetown is one of the first African cities in the world to appoint a Chief Heat Officer, and launched a community-driven growing initiative to plant and sustainably grow one million trees.

Through the #FreetownTheTreeTown-campaign, local community members create a unique record of each newly planted tree using a mobile app, and receive small payments for watering, documenting and protecting vulnerable seedlings. This creates new economic opportunities, stimulates community ownership and ensures the survival of humans and nature alike. So far, 560,000 trees have been planted. The community-driven growing model has achieved a survival rate of 82% for newly planted trees, and created new green jobs for over 1,000 citizens, of whom 80% are youths, and 48% women. Attaching a 'token' to each tree has enabled Freetown to open up new opportunities for investment, potentially making the project fully self-financing.

Understanding laws and its impact without consulting a lawyer

Government of France
French Republic

Contributors & partners:

Without the advice of experts, new regulations can often be difficult to understand for the people most affected by them. Legislation uses complex wording and official documents tend to only refer to general use cases. Citizens are left to figure out for themselves how a new law will impact them.

By using OpenFisca, governments from several countries such as France and New Zealand, have published relevant laws for citizens as machine-readable code. A freely accessible application uses this code to run tailor-made simulations that help citizens to assess their entitlement to social benefits. OpenFisca also enables different government departments and institutions to collaborate more efficiently and gives them new insights into the estimated impact of law reforms. In France, over 2,300 young people use this platform daily. In New Zealand, more than 170,000 citizens used the platform in its first year, and their government is now looking to apply the technology of OpenFisca to all of its citizens big life events. What other social and economical gains can we generate when we turn laws into code?

Nature can inspire us to reimagine services, create new infrastructures and build collective value.

Human AI for City Planning

City of Jyväskylä
Republic of Finland

Contributors & partners:

Generative AI is the talk of town and by now you probably heard of ChatGPT. More often than not, it's talked about in fear: what if it will end up taking our jobs? But what if governments turned the tables, and used these tools to enhance rather than replace their engagement with citizens? For citizens, taking part in consultations with government officials can be challenging. It is not always easy to translate a wish or a mental image into words. This can create barriers to participation and misunderstandings.

Finnish cities are using a generative AI platform that allows just about anyone in the city to visualise their ideas and explore possibilities they might not have thought of otherwise. This way, citizens are turned from commentators to contributors. As new generative artificial intelligence tools become more common, how can governments foster collective imagination?

AI as a common good

Government of Serbia
Republic of Serbia

Contributors & partners:

To access the power of AI, you must be able to afford it. For a lot of potential innovators in Serbia, the large computing infrastructures that support AI-powered inventions are simply too expensive.

To open up new economic opportunities for its citizens, regardless of their economic status, the Government of Serbia installed a next-gen supercomputer and opened it up to students, scientists and start-ups for the development and application of artificial intelligence, free of charge. The supercomputer allowed over 200 Serbian experts to create new products, services and experiments, without the worry of securing infrastructure. Since 2016, the Serbian ICT-sector has seen its number of employees increase by more than 50%, making it the country's largest net export branch.

The city that disrupted inspections

City of Washington DC
United States of America

Contributors & partners:

The Department of Buildings in Washington D.C. was experiencing lengthy turnaround times for construction inspections, which interrupted constructions and cost developers a lot of money. Hiring new qualified inspectors was a slow process that only added to their overheads.

To diminish these expensive delays, the government created an online platform called Tertius that facilitates the onboarding of third party independent inspectors in the local community. The platform uses geolocation to check-in on the hired inspectors, and makes sure all the inspections are carried out properly and on time, with early warning signs resulting in improved building safety. Inspection reports are readily accessible, including previous, pending, and completed inspections, which allows for optimal transparency and accountability. Time from inspection request to completion shrank from as much as four weeks to as little as two days, saving developers thousands. What other services can we reimagine when we explore new business models?

These innovations have carefully been selected by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation to inspire governments from around the world.

Innovating since 2016

The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation has worked with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation to conduct a global review of the ways in which governments are transforming their operations and improving the lives of their people through innovation. This process has included extensive research into innovations from OECD member countries and non-members alike, as well as an open call to send in projects. The Edge of Government then brings the most exciting and relevant innovations together into an inspiring, annual showcase.

Explore the websites of previous editions.

2016 2017 2018 2019

Edge of Government Award 2023

The Edge of Government Award will be given away at the World Government Summit in Dubai. It will recognise government innovations from around the world according to specific evaluation criteria: novelty, replicability, and impact. The winner of the Award will be chosen from the exhibits that make up the Edge of Government experience at the Summit.

Evaluation process
Applications for the award will be accepted through an online submission process and will be open to local and federal governments from around the world. The filtering process will be done by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation and a leading research partner. The final evaluation will be done by a distinguished judging panel comprising members of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation International Advisory Board as well as well-known innovation experts from leading international organizations and the private sector.

Three criteria are used to evaluate each case study of government innovation:

1. Novelty: considers how significant a departure from current approaches a new solution is, and the extent to which a government innovation relies on new models, new processes, new technology, and new participants to provide its impact

2. Replicability: involves two distinct dimensions: replicability of the problem being addressed (how wide spread is the problem globally), and replicability of the solution (how practical is it to adapt the solution to other countries and geographies)

3. Impact: considers the scope and severity of the pubic problem being addressed by each government innovation, and the extent to which the created solution has improved the circumstances surrounding the problem in question.

Join us at the Edge of Government Award ceremony and celebrate this year's best innovations form around the world!

Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation was established to stimulate and enrich the culture of innovation within the government sector through the development of an integrated innovation framework. The goal is for innovation to become one of the key pillars of the UAE government in line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, which aims to develop government operations and enhance the UAE's competitiveness, making the UAE one of the most innovative governments around the world.