I just returned from a nine day trip to South Africa where I was one of the keynote speakers during GovTech 2009 in Durban. To say that I was impressed with what is going on in Southern Africa would be an understatement, I was truly amazed by their global perspective and technology progress. The conference theme was "Doing ICT for the citizens," and most presenters provided clear, practical technology benefits to ordinary citizens. Speakers from the United Kingdom, Austria, Canada, Brazil, and numerous other countries offered their insights on best practices in Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT).
Initially, I was apprehensive about the long trip, but I was looking forward to a fun vacation with my daughter. (We went on a beautiful three day safaris after the conference.) But my expectations were exceeded by outstanding presentations which were a mixture of direct talk about hard issues like the supplier - CIO relationship, the realities of open source, and convergence in a customer-centric era.
The conference offered a wide variety of important topics and case studies that are well worth considering (and downloading the powerpoints). For example, the e-Government situation in South Korea was described in detail. Other helpful sessions included global best practices which was offered by friend and colleague Paul Taylor and perhaps even my session on what's hot and what's not around the world in cyber security or Seven security threats that governments face.
Besides the conference material, I found the GovTech 2009 hosts to be kind and helpful. They truly made the international guests feel welcome, and they "get it" when it comes to the people side of technology conferences.
My recommendation: visit the GovTech 2009 conference website and download the powerpoint presentations that interest you. Videos of keynote sessions will become available soon, and I will point to those when I receive the link (in a future blog). In the meantime, I agree with the perspective: think globally, act locally. After my recent visit to Africa, it means a bit more than it did before.