FWD50 and the Novel Coronavirus

In March, FWD50 announced that we would adapt the structure of our annual event in response to the Covid pandemic. Now that we have a better idea of the science and health concerns, we’re making 2020 fully virtual. Click right to read more.

That means:

  • Keynotes, workshops, breakouts, and networking atop a virtual platform with attendees from around the world.
  • A longer event, spread across a week, created in partnership with NGOs, governments, and civic tech organizations.
  • New ways to get involved as attendees, speakers, and sponsors, with a significant outreach to regional government public servants through our regional pass program.

FWD50 is a global digital government gathering held annually in Ottawa, Canada. Each year, technologists, executives, and industry come together for a week of content and discussion, focused on steering progress and innovation towards our better selves.

Early bird pricing ends Sept 30th!

By the numbers

Now in its fourth year, the event welcomes thousands of attendees from around the world.

6 days of workshops, keynotes, and breakouts

2,200 participants in 2019

Over 300 speakers and 30 countries since our launch

More than 100 government departments represented

For government executives

For modern leaders, technology is no longer an option. It’s the key to better services, more inclusive design, lower costs, and increased transparency.

But while tech can help government, it’s also fundamentally reshaping society. Technology isn’t just in service of policy—it is policy.

To help executives navigate these tumultuous waters, we’ve created a new track tailored to government executives, featuring content on policy, culture, and leadership. Learn more about this exciting addition to FWD50.

For technologists

AI. The Internet of Things. Big Data. Cloud Computing. In the last decade, the public service has undergone a huge upgrade. And it’s your job to keep it all working properly.

Modern government runs on tech at nation-scale. FWD50 has the deep-dive workshops, hard-won lessons, and diverse voices you need to shape the platforms on which government runs.

For industry

Modern society is a partnership between the public and private sector. To keep up with rapid, pervasive change, governments need the help of disruptors in industry.

FWD50 creates meaningful conversations between government and industry. Whether you want to attend, speak, or help support the event, this is the best way to connect with your public service counterparts and chart the course of digital government together.


Our faculty features the world’s leading public servants, tech innovators, and academics. Since 2017, more that 30 countries have shared their knowledge on our stages. Here’s a taste of the amazing speakers teaching this year. Stay tuned—we’ll be announcing more in the coming weeks!

DJ Patil

Head of Technology, Devoted Health
Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

The Honourable Joyce Murray

Minister of Digital Government

Tim O'Reilly

Founder, CEO, & Chairman
O'Reilly Media

Ann-Marie Cavanaugh

Deputy Government Chief Digital Officer
Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand

Gina Lucarelli

Team Leader
United Nations Development Programme Accelerator Lab Network

Amanda Renteria

Chief Executive Officer
Code for America

Kristo Vaher

Kristo Vaher

Chief Technology Officer, Republic of Estonia
The Estonian government

Pia Andrews

Pia Andrews

Open and digital government expert

Jazmyn Latimer

Design Manager
Code for America

Dipayan Ghosh

Co-director, Digital Platforms & Democracy Project
Harvard Kennedy School

Shomik Dutta

Partner & Co-Founder
Higher Ground Labs

Meagan Commonda

Indigenous Community Liaison
Talent Cloud, Treasury Board Secretariat

The 2020 Call For Proposals is now closed, and once our program committee has reviewed talks, we’ll be reaching out to chosen speakers. But you can always contact us if you have questions or suggestions.

homepage section – what’s next

Get involved

There are plenty of other ways to get involved with FWD50:

Our Partners

Some of the world’s leading tech companies help us put on FWD50, including: