Peter spoke to Estonia’s remarkable turnaround from impoverished post-Soviet state in the early 1990s to a modern tech-hub and recognised global leader in various innovative areas, from e-governance, to start-up culture, to education, to cybersecurity. Particular focus was on Estonia’s culture of transparency around its innovation and digitalisation, including the national data exchange layer X-Road, which underpins Estonians’ everyday digital services and has now expanded in some areas to Finland—for example, with respect to digital healthcare and medical prescriptions. Security risks associated with increased digitalisation were also raised, as well as core concerns about trust, privacy and integrity of citizens’ data. Audience members asked pointed and informed questions, including on how Estonia’s many innovations, and digital society writ large, might be replicable in Canada.
The event’s Estonian character was greatly enriched by a delicious multi-course traditional spread by renowned Estonian-Canadian chef Susi Holmberg. Appetizers included fried meat and mushroom pastries (pirukad) and traditional fried garlic bread bites (küüslauguleivad). The tableside menu began cold, with classic including cucumber salad, beet-potato-apple-based rosolje salad, veal and meat stock aspic jelly (sült), various fishes, and Estonian bread (leib). Then came generous helpings of warm food, including juicy and tender pork, baked potatoes that were somehow (and uncharacteristically) richly flavourful, and a delicious sauerkraut (hapukapsas)—that was so good as to compete with this author’s ema’s/mom’s recipe! Dinner was helped down by a range of drinks, including a tasty sea-buckthorn (astelpaju) and vodka shot.
The Innovation Supper Club offers the innovation community in Toronto, as well as other Canadian cities, a chance to come together in smaller groups with some of Canada’s best and brightest to share stories, make connections and hear from an inspiring speaker making change happen. Its founder, and the organiser of Tuesday’s event, is Iain Montgomery—who is also the founder of Now or Never Ventures. Those interested in further information about Innovation Supper Club events are invited to visit the website, here: www.innovationsupperclub.com. The event was also supported by Tartu College.
Juku Gold, Toronto
DIGITAL Estonian Life No. 22 - June 5, 2020
All issues with table of contents available here: https://issuu.com/estonianlife
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