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This website was created by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), part of the OECD Public Governance Directorate (GOV).

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Preparing Civil Servants for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Public launch with the Prime Minister

The Fourth Industrial Revolution brings many opportunities, but also new challenges for public administration. The online training for the Fourth Industrial Revolution: New Technologies, teaches public servants and private sector employees the basics of AI, Blockchain, Virtual Reality, IoT, 3D printing, Robots, Drones and the Digital Economy. Through quizzes, games and many illustrative examples, participants can immerse themselves into the modern world of emerging technologies, which is crucial in order to create more innovative policies.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Most public servants lack an understanding of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, metaverse, robots, and drones, but also concepts such as the digital economy. To understand how best to use digital tools for their job and also for better designing and implementing public policies, it is necessary for them to gain knowledge about disruptive technologies. Furthermore, private sector employees require the same skills to better utilize the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution to boost the economy. The training Fourth Industrial Revolution: New Technologies is offered for free to all civil servants and companies and is customized to people with little or no previous knowledge in the field, with lots of up-to-date examples of application. By understanding how the world has changed, officials will better understand all the benefits and risks associated with new technologies and thus create better policies that will encourage innovation. State-of-the-art online self-paced training is packed with interactive content and divided into 7 modules: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Robots and Drones, 3D Printing, Virtual and Mixed Reality, and Digital Economy. Through gamification and quizzes, participants learn and test their knowledge. The latest applications of the technologies are also presented in a series of videos from across the world.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Public servants are regularly involved in many trainings at the National Academy for Public Administration. However, the purpose of capacity-building programs is always to improve their scope of work. This training provides ground-breaking content which allows civil servants to gain a new perspective on the possibilities that the future brings. By learning about the latest technological advancements, civil servants are encouraged to think about how innovation can be brought into their institutions as well.

What is the current status of your innovation?

The trainings were presented at the public launch which included a high-level panel with the Prime Minister in December 2021. The trainings are available free of charge to all civil servants and private sector employees, through the National Academy for Public Administration and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s platforms. In the following months, an event was organized as a teaser for the training to increase visibility and attract more attendees. Currently, the trainings are being translated and the plan is for them to be offered to civil servants worldwide. The goal is to equip everyone with the necessary knowledge of the digital economy and emerging technologies, to understand all of their possible applications, benefits and risks.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

On the initiative of the Prime Minister' Office, the content was created by the Loop Foundation, which has proven excellence in preparing curricula for students in the field of digital literacy and coding. National Academy for Public Administration, as the central institution for delivering trainings was in charge of implementation with the continuous support of the UNDP. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry played an essential role in enabling access to training for the entire private sector.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Training is open to all civil servants in the local and central government entities and all private sector employees. Training also offers many examples developed by innovative companies, enabling civil servants to gain a better insight into the work of these innovators. This awareness is leading to a stronger relationship between the public sector and the entire innovation ecosystem.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Over 100.000 public servants have access to the Moodle training platform of the National Academy for Public Administration. Through planned promotion, it is expected to have 10.000 public servants in Serbia complete the training. In parallel, every employee in the entire private sector of Serbia has access to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry learning platform.

Challenges and Failures

Some online platforms already offer trainings in some of the modules included in the training, which is why it was really important to create modern and interactive content customized to the interest and knowledge of civil servants. The competitive advantage of this training is also that it is offered free of charge, customized for people with little or no previous knowledge in the field, with lots of up-to-date examples, particularly on the application of these technologies in the public sector.

Conditions for Success

Serbia has placed digital transformation as a national priority. Tech is the largest net exporting industry and the fastest growing sector and the country is heavily investing in digital infrastructure and innovation ecosystem.


Several other countries including France, the UAE and Georgia have expressed interest in introducing this content to their public servants. Currently, the program is being translated to English and the ultimate goal is for the content to be accessible to everyone worldwide. The content is on open-source Moodle platforms, accessible to everyone in the public and private sector. Public servants access the training through the platform which is central for all trainings delivered to public officials on all levels of the government. The training is also included in the Annual Training Program of the National Academy to ensure continuous access for new users. Based on the success of the promotional events, more campaigns will be organized to further raise awareness.

Lessons Learned

If the topic is presented in an interesting and tailored way for the public servants, the engagement and interest can be substantial. When learning about new technologies, it is necessary to include illustrative examples of their applications to bring this topic closer to the learner's reality and also to make public servants start thinking about how the world of emerging technologies is in fact very relevant for their work.

Project Pitch


  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:


Date Published:

17 November 2023

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