“Here’s my digital driver’s license and digital passport,” Ukrainian Tania Barnard showed her American colleagues the Diia app on her smartphone over lunch. “Wait, did you say digital passport?” asked one. “I applied for a new passport in the U.S. and had to fill out a paper application and it took three months to get it.”
Barnard confirmed. “They take a little longer now because of the war,” she explained, “but I was able to renew mine in about two weeks.”
Barnard is Palladium’s Health Lead in Ukraine and recently visited Washington, DC from her home in Kyiv. In May, the Ukraine Ministry of Digital Transformation showcased their “state in a smartphone” application, Diia, at an event in DC, sponsored by USAID and other partners including Visa and Google.org. The event, which felt more like the launch of a new Apple product, highlighted Ukraine’s transformative initiative to bust bureaucracy and corruption, while empowering a resilient society and economy during the Russian invasion.
Diia connects over 19 million Ukrainians with more than 120 government services and has been used to support displaced Ukrainians and others impacted by the war. The event served to jumpstart the adoption of systems like Diia in other countries and to showcase the digital ways that people can connect with their government.
“But exporting tech is easier said than done,” says Liz Nerad, Palladium Director of Digital Solutions, in a new report on how technology like Ukraine’s Diia application can be adapted at scale in a new context. She adds that while Ukraine is willing to share its approach and technology, there are a few things that countries considering adopting the system should understand to ensure a successful launch.
The report, which breaks down six critical steps for adapting a digital public good, recommends a practical analysis of the surrounding digital ecosystem. “As Ukraine looks ahead to the year 2030, they envision being the most digital and convenient country in the world,” Nerad adds. “Digital transformation will have replaced bureaucratic processes, but they acknowledge that 500,000 former public servants also must be successfully integrated into the new economy.”
A digital transformation must transcend institutions or government and be considered from a whole of society perspective. The report acknowledges that an ecosystem-driven approach like Ukraine’s Diia, provides a foundation for all people in a country to participate in a digital future.
For more information, download the report, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.