New digital champion sees technology as opportunity to improve lives

Ljubljana, 13 October - The digital transformation of business and government has been a core concern in Slovenia of late. Institute Jožef Stefan researcher Marko Grobelnik, recently appointed as Slovenia's new digital champion, says that the process has been under way for three decades, it has just become more visible in the public.

Ljubljana Marko Grobelnik, Slovenia's new digital champion. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Marko Grobelnik, Slovenia's new digital champion.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

"This is a part of evolution. Perhaps it had been less visible for the majority of the people, but today it is penetrating into all areas of life," Grobelnik told the STA.

"For us working in science, there are no unexpected things. There is a small surprise here and there, when something turns out better than expected, but there are no major surprises."

"Digital technology is merely a tool making our lives easier. In this sense the digital champion is supposed to make it clear that there is no reason to be afraid, as technology brings great opportunities to make life better," he said.

Slovenia has been keeping abreast of these trends but it is constrained by its size and the number of people actively involved in digital technology.

It is good at innovative technologies, which often come from a small circle of people, but in larger corporations "we are slightly worse," according to him.

In particular, Grobelnik thinks Slovenians were good at making things, "which makes us competitive at the global level," but "the problem is we are not good at selling."

Grobelnik said his job focused on e-participation but also involved participation in European policies and raising awareness about digital technology being a part of everyday life.

Accordingly, he plans to emphasise the positive aspects of technology, highlighting the areas Slovenia is good at.

"We often hear about things that are bad. But the Slovenia I see is completely different, very positive and hard-working. We are leaders in many areas, but because some achievements are not appreciated or noticed they do not come to the fore."

"There are many Slovenians who are pushing the boundaries, who are very progressive. If I succeed in making this positive attitude more contagious, my role will have been justified," he said.