Which challenges do governments face in a new mobile world

Sten Tamkivi, CEO of Teleport, took the stage at the Future of Identity 2016 conference in Tallinn today, discussing knowledge work, what it means, how mobility is changing the world and what kind of challenges that poses to governments. Here’s a recap.

The 2016 Future of Identity conference in Tallinn features the topics of identity, security, e-government, fintech and blockchain. If you’re not there, make sure to check out the #futureofidentity hashtag on Twitter to get glimpses into what’s going on.

Here are the slides from the talk, and a written overview including some of the main talking and thinking points.

Check out Sten’s slides here

Mobility is how people live and work today, and there is an increasing amount of global opportunities that pull people to different places. There are many contributing factors besides just economics — raising money, spending time with clients, running a remote team, or simply just liking different places.

There is no single best place for someone to be in. Now, people talk less and less about binary moves from point A to point B — the question asked now is “How much time should I spend in a location?”. With the new plentitude of choices comes complexity — a complexity which Teleport is trying to solve.

Teleport pulled a report after Brexit — we have about 5755 users in the UK, and while as their sticky preferences — the ones that don’t change — include low crime, low pollution, great startup scene, we can also see that 51% of our UK users deeply care about tolerance in the society. This is in direct contrast with the wave of intolerance after Brexit. With data like this, we can start quantifying “soft” topics, which used to be hard to address and measure.

Depending on who you are and what you do, there are different answers to where you should go — which means that soon, every single government will compete for every single citizen. If you create a great environment for a certain kind of knowledge worker, people will find out and flock there faster than ever before. If you mess up, they will leave faster than ever before.

We care about cities as the main management unit. People don’t move to the US, they move to New York or Austin. They don’t move to the UK, they move to London or Edinburgh. The units of management are getting smaller, which means that competition is getting more narrow as well — which is interesting, because some places, such as Estonia or Singapore, don’t have that much difference between city and country level.

According to the UN, 232M people live in another country than they were born in. We believe this is a gross underestimation, because the underlying national census datasets are often 10 years old, and secondly, it only takes into account changes in permanent residence.

Also, 20% of all workers in the world do some kind of remote work — it’s a generous number, but even then it’s still a large part of people who work remotely somehow. There are 665M people looking for a job in the world, and 2/3 would take a job abroad if they were offered one.

That makes roughly 350M knowledge workers in the world that we think could be moved — 5% of the world’s population.

An average Teleport user earns 32 thousand dollars a year. When someone moves to a different country or city, it’s a reset of spending habits. If you multiply the average salary with 350M people — where does that over a trillion dollars land? This is what governments are competing for.

Silicon Valley is a great place and will remain as such, but the inflow of people has skyrocketed costs. People cant afford to live in the biggest startup hub anymore, so they move to other places.

Enrico Moretti has estimated that if you create a highly paid, highly skilled knowledge work job, it creates 5 more jobs in average as a result. Every time you create a new job, the effect to economy changes five times.

The problem for Estonia is that in 10 years, we are going to be lacking 100 thousand jobs because of the aging and declining population — the net migration doesn’t cover that. If we wanted to close the 100 thousand people gap from the 350M people we could move, we would need 0,028% of the market share.

The Estonian trick to solve this global mobility challenge is e-residency — not everyone participating in the Estonian global economy needs to be here. If they do, that’s great, and maybe they will want to be here later, but they don’t necessarily have to.

We’re entering a recurring mobility loop — the technology to match talent with their best places is here, and those places will have the talent. The more talent you attract, the more it will speed up innovation in the country.

If you have any thoughts on this topic you’d like to share, email us at contact@teleport.org or send us a tweet.

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