An open platform for public sector transformation
As a dynamic and nimble nation, Lithuania has been able to build flexible institutions that are hard-wired to respond quickly to the challenges and needs of the local, regional and global economy. And this flexibility, speed and decisiveness is brought to the way the country is eager to co-create with business to facilitate growth that benefits all. We have learned from the best role models – from Ireland to Singapore – and we are now happy to share our best practices with the global community.
Digital solutions that make life easier for all
Lithuania is fast on its way to becoming a truly digital society. 90 percent of public sector services have been digitised and public uptake is huge, with more than 80 percent of the country’s citizens using e-government services. Meanwhile, for business that penetration is at 97 percent. Of particular note is the country’s online tax registration and payment system, i.MAS, which allows users to submit and pay tax returns with just a few clicks.
Public invitation to experiment
Society, businesses and academia are openly encouraged to not only use digital services, but also to contribute to the development of innovative solutions. The GovTech Lab was set up to engage the latest technologies, startups and innovative businesses in further improving public sector services. There, a team of ambitious professionals is organising a series of challenges whose goal is not just to seek solutions to public sector problems, but also to actively foster and expand the govtech community. The solutions developed so far in this format are a major step forward in terms of breaking down barriers and stereotypes related to collaboration between startups and the public sector.
Where talented people are empowered to improve their country
Create Lithuania is the first-of-its-kind programme for creative, proactive professionals who want to contribute to shaping the modern future of Lithuania. Participants with international experience can use the knowledge and innovative ideas they’ve gained abroad to help improve Lithuania for everybody.
How does it work? Young and ambitious participants get split in teams and go work as Project Managers in a ministry or public institution of their choice. In this role, they take their project, usually dealing with a big issue like human rights or the environment, from plan to implementation. After they graduate from the programme, the project continues living its own life.
A government that loves innovation
Lithuania provides a safe and supportive environment for entrepreneurs or incumbents to sandbox their innovations. Heading the charge here is The Bank of Lithuania, who opened the first sandbox in Lithuania in 2018, which was targeted at the fast growing fintech sector. Today in Lithuania you’ll find successful fintech sandboxes, an energy sandbox, a transport solutions sandbox, and a proptech sandbox for real estate initiatives. There are also a number of active innovation collaboration hubs, like the AML Centre of Excellence.
The Lithuanian authorities were quick to seize the opportunities that the post-Brexit landscape presented. With the Bank of Lithuania at the helm, and strong cooperation from the government, a regulatory infrastructure was soon put in place that was designed to provide the best conditions for fintech growth. And the results were almost immediate, and in only a few short years the country has become both a European and global hub for the sector.
Lithuania is an EU leader in private investment into public scientific institutions, with the amount that businesses have invested into R&D almost doubling over the last decade.
In order to make the conditions for innovations easier for businesses, the State is working hard to formalise the open data principles and to simplify the process both for the institutions opening data and for data users.
The portal Open Data in Lithuania publishes all open data and also registers the need for data to be opened, i.e. which data institutions should open. The best example of the use of open data is the travel planning and public transport ticketing app Trafi, without which Vilnius residents could not imagine how to get around the city.
In the 2021 report published by the portal Data Europa, Lithuania’s open data policy and its implementation was ranked 14th out of 34 countries (24th in 2019). Our country’s performance is above the European Union countries’ average.
Fixing the environment with actions, not slogans
When it comes to recycling plastic packaging, Lithuania is an absolute leader in Europe. All EU member states have committed to recycling 90 percent of plastic bottles placed on the market by 2029, and Lithuania has already met that target. The country has over 3,000 collection points where people can return single-use plastic packages. Beverage packaging collected in the last 5 years in Lithuania helped save an estimated 554.6 GWh of electricity.
In early 2021, Vilnius University took the historic step of becoming one of the first large organisations in Lithuania to use only green electricity for its operations. Vilnius University will reduce CO2 emissions by about 7,500 tonnes every year.
Vilnius Airport is among the renewable energy leaders in the Baltic region. In recent years, it has upgraded its lighting system, installed solar panels and added hybrid vehicles to its fleet. In total, the airport plans to save at least 168.18 MWh of electricity annually, which is like providing 90 average households with electricity for a whole year.
In 2020 disposable plastic items were banned from being used in any events in Vilnius. This important decision is a good first step towards reducing plastic waste produced in the city, while also educating citizens on how to be more aware of their waste disposal.
Vilnius is among 100 European cities to be implementing the experimental innovation programme to become a climate-neutral settlement by 2030 under the prestigious EU’s Mission “100 Climate- Neutral and Smart Cities”.