Public event

Book launch: Collaborating for digital transformation – insights for government practice

Join us for the virtual book launch of Collaborating for Digital Transformation. How Internal and External Collaboration Can Contribute to Innovate Public Service Delivery co-edited by Koen Verhoest, Gerhard Hammerschmid, Lise H. Rykkja and Erik Hans Klijn.

As worldwide institutions acknowledge the necessity of digital, open, and collaborative governments, this timely book offers a comprehensive exploration of digital transformation, intergovernmental collaboration, collaborative governance, and public sector innovation.

Collaborating for Digital Transformation (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2024, available open access) highlights how collaborations between government organisations, as well as with the private sector and users, enhance digital transformation and public service innovation. Drawing from smart cities, online service platforms, eHealth and other initiatives across European countries, the book sheds light on the complexities, risks, and power dynamics inherent in these collaborations. It explores how the design, management, and leadership of these collaborations can overcome these challenges in different politico-administrative contexts. Through diverse research methods and by combining practical accounts with theoretical academic rigor, this forward-thinking book proposes a roadmap for more innovative and effective governments in the digital age.

The event will commence with a concise presentation of the book by Dr. Jessica Breaugh (ESCP Business School), Prof. Koen Verhoest (University of Antwerp), and Dr. Chesney Callens (University of Antwerp), offering key insights for government practitioners. Following this, we are pleased to welcome Siim Sikkut (Digital Nation and former Estonian government CIO) to provide commentary, engage in discussion regarding these findings, and offer insights from his own experiences on the topic.

Prof. Gerhard Hammerschmid (Hertie School) and Prof. Lise H. Rykkja (University of Bergen) will serve as moderators for the event. 

This event is co-organised by the Centre for Digital Governance at the Hertie School, the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence at University of Antwerp and the University of Bergen.

Prior registration is required. Login details will be sent out on the day of the event.




  • Jessica Breaugh is a Senior Lecturer at ESCP Business School in Berlin. She teaches in the field of business and society, specifically corporate social responsibility and ethics. Her background in Psychology, Politics and International Affairs, and Public Management has resulted in multidisciplinary research interests. Her current research focuses on the role of people management in government digitalisation (DigiLot), and the relationship between tech companies and public sector organisations (GovTech). She is currently affiliated with the CIVICA funded research project, Digital Public Values: Tracing Public Values in Public Private Partnerships. 

  • Chesney Callens is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the research group of Politics & Public Governance (Department of Political Sciences) at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and Management from the University of Ghent (Belgium). His research interests are collaborative and network governance, innovation management, collaborative innovation and structural reforms.

  • Siim Sikkut is currently Managing Partner at Digital Nation, a digital change advisory network originating from Estonia to build future-ready digital societies around the world. Siim led the digital government and digital policy area in the Republic of Estonia for 10 years, most recently as the Government CIO from 2017 to 2022. He has been recognised as one of the world’s TOP20 most influential people in digital government by Apolitical, and was co-founder of Estonia’s groundbreaking e-Residency program. Siim is the author of “Digital Government Excellence: Lessons from Effective Digital Leaders”, a book published globally in 2022.

  • Koen Verhoest is Research Professor in Public Governance (GOVTRUST – University of Antwerp) with a research interest in issues on autonomy, coordination, collaboration as well as innovation and trust in a public governance context. He is the coordinator of the multi-disciplinary GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence (focussing on trust and distrust in multi-level governance) and spokesperson of the Politics & Public Governance research group at the University of Antwerp. He is/has been involved in large comparative research projects like COBRA-CRIPO on autonomy of agencies, TROPICO on digital transformation and collaboration (H2020), PSI-CO on innovation through collaboration and TiGRE (H2020) on trust in regulation. 


  • Gerhard Hammerschmid is Professor of Public Management at the Hertie School in Berlin and served as Founding Director of the School´s Centre for Digital Governance. His research focuses on public management reform, comparative public administration, public sector innovation and government digitalization. Gerhard Hammerschmid has more than 20 years of experience in communicating research findings to high level government officials and policy makers and has been contributing to several cross-European research projects and expertises.

  • Foto: Eivind Senneset, UiB

    Lise H. Rykkja is Professor and Head of the Department of Government, University of Bergen, Norway. Her extensive academic contributions encompass publications in various journals within public administration and political science, leadership roles in national and international research projects, and active participation in organizing and chairing conferences. Rykkja’s research focuses on the organization and evolution of public administration, democratic institutions, public sector management, administrative policies and reforms, adopting a broad institutional and comparative perspective. She has mainly focused on wicked problems and administrative coordination related to digitalization, public security, crisis management and welfare in Europe. Rykkja served as the main coordinator for the Horizon 2020 project: Transforming into Open, Innovative, and Collaborative Governments(TROPICO) from 2017 to 2021.

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