A new initiative by the Scottish government, CivTech, asks start-ups and businesses to take part in an accelerator challenge with the aim of incorporating technology, especially blockchains, in the provision of public services.
The initiative has four stages starting with a challenge by a government department, which in this case is cyber security and cyber resilience. For this specific challenge there are no defined requirements:
“We want to do things differently for this one. While we have a Challenge Sponsor – the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience team – there is no specific Challenge they need solving. Instead, what we’ve got is a theme, £15,000, and an open invite for you to pitch ideas…
We want to stimulate the agenda, get people to think about cyber security in the widest possible terms, and come up with an original, innovative proposal. It could be based on existing work or research, or it could be very much an idea.”
The application stage is open to everyone, including individuals, with a deadline for this challenge of September 5th, leading to the exploration stage where three solutions are selected and supported with £2,000.
The last stage is the accelerator which is to last for three months “crammed with great workshops, talks and mentors” with the accelerator “both backed and endorsed by the Scottish Government,” which has committed to “hugely increase the amount of products and services it buys from small businesses.” Each team that completes the accelerator stage receives £15,000, but participants will have to relocate to Edinburgh for the three months program duration.
For the Wildcard cyber security challenge, among the numerous criteria:
“Proposals incorporating blockchain technology… will be specifically welcomed.”
This is one of the first known government initiated tech accelerator in the world indicating a highly forward looking attitude by the British civil servants in both England – where a pilot to use blockchain technology for the distribution of government benefits is underway – and in Scotland.
One reason may be a shift in demographics at junior level positions of responsibility in both public and private sectors with the millennials – the first generation to grow up with the internet – now starting to take decision making roles.
While blockbuster and the publishing industry may have been caught off guard due to the older generation’s lack of understanding of technology, the millennials’ full grasp of its power is seemingly leading to an embrace of the new opportunities in both the banking/financial sector and in the public sector with UK’s civil servants specifically working to upgrade and adapt the public sector’s outdated tech backbone.