What does a successful transition to a digital government look like?

Well, it looks like Estonia. In the 20 minute interview above, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia talks about how that country made the transition from Soviet satellite to one — if not THE — most tech savvy countries on the planet. They are sooo far ahead of the US.

At one point in the interview he makes reference to the “borderless world” in which we live. Build all the walls you want, double the TSA goons… but we’re all connected now and more so every day. Put the cap on the toothpaste. Since I first heard the sweet screech of a modem, my sense of place and geography has been fading. I’ve never thought of myself as a “Missourian” and “American exceptionalism” has always seemed like something a shirtless Packers fan would scream at the other team.

Corny as it sounds, I’ve long felt like a citizen of the world. Even though I haven’t seen most of it. So to hear how countries like Estonia and Finland are using technology to better serve their citizens feels like a win for “our team.” Listen to the interview for a glimpse of what can be.

One other point: the person doing the interview (if he even said his name I missed it) was excellent. Short, concise questions. Allowed Ilves time to answer, without interruption.