Government as a Platform (GaaP) describes a vision of a common infrastructure of shared digital systems, technology and processes on which public services can be built. However, many departments and organisations have struggled to align their digital strategies to this vision due to a preoccupation with inward-facing digital transformation.

With APIs, Open Standards and modern tooling, the vision of GaaP is more readily achievable than ever before, but it requires a different understanding of the role of government — from master and commander to convener and enabler.

In this talk, I draw on well-known examples from the past and present to bring to life what makes a true digital platform. In doing so, I try to demystify the key technical concepts of APIs and Open Standards and how they foster ecosystems within which broad value and diverse opportunities swiftly blossom.

I draw out concrete modern examples of how these can be developed with the requisite privacy and security to maintain citizen trust by ensuring the integrity and accountability of your services. And I lay out a blueprint for all levels of government, from local to international, to establish digital foundations that will enable us to better serve citizens’ personalised needs at scale.