Published in Bangladesh Brand Forum Anniversary issue:
At 1.30 AM the night before the PM was going to launch the Digital Innovation Fair, an email reached my inbox:
‘I just came back from Novo theatre, the venue for the Fair. Even at midnight, it was buzzing with people from many ministries setting up their stalls for the 4th. I cannot recall a more energetic group of government people up and down the hierarchy all single-mindedly focused on showcasing multi-dimensional service deliveries. Each stall has become a pride and joy of a government agency. The energy was unmistakable, infectious really. ‘
On the opening day, I reached the fair an hour early partially to check out the atmosphere. The email from the fellow organizer sounded a tad exaggerated. These are government bureaucrats after all – can this really be true? I ran into Dr. Ananya Raihan, who has been working on popularizing the use of technology in the development sector for years. His eyes were glowing. ‘These are dream come true for us. For so many years we hosted such fairs from the private sector and wondered aloud if the government will ever come with us and here we have almost all the ministries showcasing their innovation in e-service delivery’. As I walked by the stalls amid hundreds of visitors I had to pinch myself as well – is that really the Joint Secretary who is calling the young student and excitedly explaining their ministry’s project? Is that really the Bangladesh Bank Governor proudly talking to his junior staff about the funky interior of their stall? How was all this possible?