Five minutes with… AccelerateGov speaker Stelios Himonas of Cyprus

By on 19/08/2022 | Updated on 19/08/2022
Stelios Himonas, Permanent Secretary, Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Cyprus

In this sister series to our ‘Five minutes with’ interviews, we share insights from the civil and public service leaders that will be speaking at our free AccelerateGov conference on all things digital transformation, taking place in Ottawa, Canada, in October.

Here’s the first, with Stelios Himonas, permanent secretary of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Cyprus. He talks the country’s Digital Services Factory, his frustration that civil services are slow to adopt necessary reforms, and shares the best piece of advice he received in his career.

Register now: Canadian government CIO to address AccelerateGov digital transformation conference in Ottawa

What are you most excited about sharing at the AccelerateGov conference?

The framework and the multidisciplinary team we have created – called the Digital Services Factory (DSF) – to deliver to the citizens and businesses of Cyprus high quality user-centred digital government services.

What have you achieved in your career?

I built the Department of Electronic Communications, where I was the first director, a position I held for about 12 years. Then I was permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy where we shaped the energy and natural gas markets in Cyprus and also attracted many oil majors in the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Now, as the first permanent secretary of the newly established Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, I am directing its build-up.

What more do you want to achieve before you retire?

To achieve the digital transformation of Cyprus, as well as a resilient ecosystem that exploits research outputs and innovative ideas for the benefit of the real economy.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your working life?

Strategy is execution.

What do you most dislike about the civil service?

I dislike unnecessary bureaucracy and the fact that the civil service is slow in adapting to necessary reforms.

Which government department or agency are you most inspired by and why?

The Government Digital Service (GDS) of the UK. They worked methodically to deliver to their citizens and businesses high-quality digital services.

Are there any projects or innovations in Cyprus that might be valuable to your peers overseas?

The Digital Services Factory mentioned above. The DSF is a framework for “industrializing” the delivery of high-quality digital services to our citizens and businesses.

What attributes do you most value in people?

Hard work, honesty, and loyalty/trust.

What is your most treasured possession?

My knowledge, education, and experiences.

What was your first car?

A Toyota Corona.

Find out more about the AccelerateGov conference organised by Global Government Forum and hosted by the Government of Canada – including the agenda and list of speakers – here. The event is free to attend.

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About Mia Hunt

Mia is a journalist and editor with a background in covering commercial property, having been market reports and supplements editor at trade title Property Week and deputy editor of Shopping Centre magazine, now known as Retail Destination. She has also undertaken freelance work for several publications including the preview magazine of international trade show, MAPIC, and TES Global (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) and has produced a white paper on energy efficiency in business for E.ON. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a member of the Revo Customer Experience Committee and an ACE Awards judge. Mia graduated from Kingston University with a first-class degree in journalism and was part of the team that produced The River newspaper, which won Publication of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2010.

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