Year Note, 2022

Public Digital has had another fantastic year. We have welcomed new members of our team, worked on a range of exciting projects with organisations that matter, and travelled across the world to meet with our partners and communities.

I joined the team in March, and have found that the culture is just as exceptional as everyone said it would be. In my role I lead our data programs with cities across the Americas, and it has been heartening to hear first-hand about their responses to the pandemic, what they’ve been learning about their communities, teams and culture, and how they look ahead to the future and a ‘new normal’.

Public Digital’s in-person quarterly review, March 2022.

Bigger and Better

What has defined our 2022 more than anything else has been a sense of growth. Our team has become larger - totalling 38 core members - and so has the scope of our work. We’ve worked with 50 clients across 14 countries in 2022, and are working with more governments and organisations than ever across our sectors from the Americas, to International Development, the private sector, the UK public sector and UK Health and Care.

We have welcomed new staff: Audree Fletcher, Blessing Ajimoti, Cate McLaurin, Holly Taylor, Katherine Wastell, Liam Sloan, Matilde Migliorero, Rosemary Evans, Ross Ferguson, Shi Hui Ding, and me, Amanda Smith. We’re also delighted to have welcomed Lesley Cowley and Andrea Davies as non-executive directors.

With the easing of pandemic restrictions after two challenging years, we were lucky enough to be able to bring everyone together in-person this year for our quarterly reviews in March, June, September and December.

We’ve welcomed lots of visitors to our London office, including many colleagues from the kyu Collective.

Clockwise from top left; Akar and Kerem from Neol, Andrew with Hironori from Hakuhodo, Emma with Kyu’s CFO AJ, Liam and Ben with Bengi and Engin from Atölye.

We were also delighted to receive a visit from Dan, on his first visit to the UK since starting work with us in 2020.

Dan during his visit to the UK

Alongside core staff, we’ve welcomed 53 new network members, bringing our total up to 120.

Laura, Angie & Indira at our Farringdon Office

We are extremely proud of the achievements of PD’s people over the past year, such as the recognition of PD director Joanne Esmyot by CIO Africa Magazine as among the most influential women in digital transformation in Africa for 2022.

Despite welcoming new faces this year, we also said farewell to some old ones.

At our Spring quarterly review we said goodbye to Roger Acton, our founding non-Executive Director and great friend. Roger helped the founding partners set up Public Digital, and after a stellar career in technology, executive management and consulting, he has provided wise counsel to many of us at PD since our inception.

Roger Acton (right) with our Chair Tim Brooks and one of our new non-executive directors, Andrea Davies.

Our highlights of 2022

2022 has been a busy year for all of us at Public Digital. We have nurtured long-term partnerships alongside launching new projects with clients across the globe, and have continued to uphold ethical decision-making as a key focus in our work.

Here are our highlights from this year:

We have continued to deliver the NHS Digital Boards Programme, now in its 3rd year, in partnership with NHS Providers. The programme has now delivered over 100 events to help NHS leaders increase their confidence in digital, reaching well over 2,000 leaders across 199 NHS trusts.

It has been a privilege to be part of the sickle cell digital discovery team and thanks to NHS Race and Health Observatory’s commitment and desire to work in the open, we’ve been able to openly share progress via our weeknotes and publish our draft report and recommendations.

We (still) believe that working in the open is essential to digital transformation, and so within PD we continue to share weeknotes and hold our weekly Show the Thing.

We launched our exciting new work with the Bloomberg Philanthropies City Data Alliance, and have been publishing our emerging thought leadership on Data as a Service. We’ve supported the What Works Cities certification program, developing the concept of a Data Service Standard and publishing our sample data service standard to inspire cities.

We’ve supported countless public sector organisations this year, including the UK Parliament, the Home Office and Sport England.

We’ve been delighted to work with our private sector clients, including supporting Marks and Spencer’s Clothing and Home division, and working with Moderna in partnership with IDEO.

We had the pleasure of bringing together the digital government community in 2022, co-hosting both the Shaping our Collective Digital Future Convening at the Rockefeller Center, Bellagio (June), and the 5th Digital Services Convening (October). Both events provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the challenges facing the global community, such as the war in Ukraine, and the power of digital technology to help us overcome them.

Emily, Mike and Philippa at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center, Italy, in June

Gulsana Mamediieva, from the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, presenting to Bellagio on the role of digital in Ukraine’s response to the ongoing conflict.

We’ve continued to write and share our knowledge this year, and have seen the reach of our publications extend further across the world. In March we published our fifth Signals edition, on sustainability in digital transformation (you can order a copy here), and in August, we were thrilled to travel to Tokyo to celebrate the publication of the Japanese translation of Public Digital’s book.

The Japanese edition of Public Digital’s book, Digital Transformation at Scale

Visiting our partners and communities across the globe

Undoubtedly, one of the major highlights of 2022 has been the opportunity and privilege to travel after two years of pandemic restrictions. Thanks to the international reach of our work, Public Digital has visited cities and regions across Canada, the US, Mexico, Peru, Madagascar, Italy, Vienna, Japan, Switzerland, Kenya, Portugal, France, and of course the UK!

Mike was invited this year to be a member of President Macron’s ‘Global Tech Thinkers’, helping establish a European path to keeping the Internet free and open.

We attended the Code for America Summit in Washington in May, the launch of the City Data Alliance in Baltimore in July, and the Red Gealc meeting in Peru in November. We spent a week in Guadalajara coaching the Data as a Service team, and visited NYC and Baltimore in November.

Emma and Amanda with SYPartners’ Sarah, Jessica (CEO) and Mark

Emma, Liam, and Mike at the White House, Washington DC.

In September we travelled to Antananarivo, Madagascar, to mark the relaunch of our work with the Government of Madagascar’s Digital Governance Unit.

The Public Digital team with the Government of Madagascar’s Digital Governance Unit

We were part of the FWD50 content advisory board and spoke at their yearly gathering in Ottawa, with Emma sharing how to fix the government websites and Mike focusing on how the strategy is (still) delivery. We also presented to the CFRR Ministerial Conference in Vienna, hosted by the World Bank Group, in November.

Emma presenting at FWD50 in November

Much of our work has also been closer to home, with PD’s health sector and UK public sector teams supporting community events like UK Health Camp and UKGovcamp.

Chris at UK Health Camp 2022

It has been a pleasure to have the chance to meet with so many inspiring and dedicated people from across the digital community. We look forward to getting out and about and making more connections - both at home and abroad - in 2023.

Thank you

We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone - our clients, partners, and friends - who have made 2022 such a brilliant year for us.

From Friday 16 December the Public Digital team will be taking a break, and we'll be back on Tuesday 3 January 2023. See you then, and wishing you a happy new year!

Previously: Year note, 2021, Year note, 2020, Year note, 2019, Year note, 2018.

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