Speakers

Taavi Kotka
Taavi Kotka

Information Visionary

Taavi became Estonia’s first ever Chief Information Officer in 2013 to oversee the country’s development as an advanced digital nation. He previously worked in the private sector, starting his career as a programmer before rising to be the CEO of the region’s largest software development company, Webmedia (now Nortal). During this time, Taavi was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

As Estonia’s CIO, Taavi introduced a number of new ideas that have come to define the concept of ‘e-Estonia’ as a digital nation and these best practises are now being copied and implemented by other governments around the world. This includes the e-Residency programme, which has placed Estonia at the epicentre of the global tech community, as well as innovations such as data embassies, country-as-a-service (CAAS), the no-legacy policy, VAT fraud detection, and others. As a result of his work in the public sector, Taavi was named European CIO of the Year 2014 and received Estonia’s prestigious White Star III Class Order in 2016. Computerworld named him as one of the 100 Premier technology leaders in 2016 and he made it onto Apolitical's World’s 100 most influential people in digital government in 2018. Financial Times named Taavi one of the 12 leading individuals among Europe's 100 digital champions in 2018. 

Until the summer of 2018, Taavi was also a special advisor to European Commission Vice-president Andrus Ansip on the European Digital Single Market. 

Taavi is now back in the private sector, helping start-ups develop and consulting large enterprises and governments on digital transformation (for example Reliance Corp. and Jio Reliance). He is also a very popular and visionary speaker at large conferences around the world. 

Three years ago, Taavi founded HK Unicorn Squad, which is the initiative to spark girls’ interest in technology and ICT. This autumn, altogether 1500 young girls (8-14 year olds) started their once-a-week technology classes to experience that technology isn't a field meant for boys only. 

In personal life: 

Passionate about piano lessons, chess, snowboarding, and family.

Education: 

Master of Science of Engineering (focus: ICT) cum laude, PhD Studies in Tallinn University of Technology.

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