Here’s How Tech Startups Are Shaking up Lithuania’s Public Sector
Public procurements and ways of working in the public sector often seem to be tailored to large established companies that can accommodate a slower development process. But the status quo is changing quickly.
Startups have been working on novel solutions to increase citizen engagement, provide governments with better data from dealing with waste management to detecting tax fraud or simply offering tools for more effective day to day work.
Governments, accelerators and investors around the world have taken note of the potential of GovTech, both in terms of economic growth for startups and SMEs and the transformational potential of bringing public services to match the needs of 21st-century citizens.
Lithuania strives to lead the global GovTech movement
Although Lithuania’s performance in the GovTech field remains limited, the success of startups such as Trafi, Interactio and Mindletic suggests it has the potential to become a hub for innovation with a public purpose and public clients.
Trafi, a smart city solution for real-time mapping of public transport, is now a key platform in Lithuania but also in Germany, Indonesia and Switzerland. Sifted, a website on prominent startups backed by the Financial Times, selected Trafi as one of the main startups to watch in 2020.
Interactio – a smart translation solution – has signed clients such as the European Commission, aiming to lower their levels of bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Mindletic has won numerous global competitions such as the Hack the Crisis Hackathon and Global Hack where it scooped second place. It focuses on mental wellbeing in the workplace.
Despite these successes, many structural problems persist, slowing down the innovation in the public sector and the growth of startups in this field.
The world over, a lack of innovation culture or digital skills often precludes public-sector officials from looking for out-of-the-box solutions. Although there are many new ways to procure innovation, established public procurement practices often tip the scales when more risky innovative procurements are suggested.
However, in 2019 Lithuania’s government made a strategic decision to be at the forefront of GovTech innovation, aiming to mirror the success of the country’s fintech sector development. The GovTech Lab was launched, focused on opening up the public sector to innovative ideas.