FWD50 2021

November 2-5, 2021 | Online

Pushing the boundaries of digital conferences

For the second year in a row we hosted FWD50 as a virtual-only event and innovated with new formats, including a government gameshow and the policy pitch competition, G-Factor. Now that we knew how to properly record and share content, we set up access.fwd50.com to bring previous years' content to the world. Countries including France, Rwanda, the UK, Mongolia, and Montenegro joined our speaker faculty, and we continued to run partner events such as the Regional Digital Government Summit, all through our virtual event platform.

What others are saying

“The tools more than proved that digital conferences can be just as engaging!”

“While I miss the face to face aspect, this is as good as it gets for a digital conference.“

“Every single session that I attended was mind blowing.”

“Very impressive speakers, content and use of technology to facilitate a remarkable virtual conference. Depth, breadth and diversity were outstanding.”

Virtual platform

FWD50 2021 was hosted virtually over four days with five channels spanning topics from industry innovations to real-world case studies. Our virtual platform used AI to recommend thousands of connections to users based on their profile and spark meaningful collaborations across government. We saw an incredible amount of engagement throughout the four days, with bustling live chats across all sessions, constant interaction in our virtual “lobby”, one-on-one meetings, and private virtual gatherings.


Attendees participated online


Speakers from around the world


Virtual channels


Countries represented


The 2021 faculty welcomed leading public servants, tech innovators, and academics from around the world. We focused this year’s content on trust and why trust is fundamental to the survival of our public institutions. Speakers from around the world leading the way in civic innovation gave inspiring talks on how governments can support the people they serve and empower their employees doing the work. We also saw in 2021 the launch of our community platform, Access FWD50, so anyone in the world can watch FWD50 recordings and continue the conversations on important digital government topics.

This year’s conference spanned four days of packed content, from keynotes and workshops to breakouts and networking opportunities.

2021's speakers

The 2021 faculty featured the world's leading public servants, tech innovators and academics from Canada and around the world.

Martha Lane Fox

Chair, Wetransfer

Janet Haven

Executive Director, Data & Society Research Institute

Danielle Krettek Cobb

Founder, Google Empathy Lab

Sue Gardner

Founder & CEO, Tiny Ventures

Michael Nelson

Senior Fellow, Technology and International Affairs Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Afua Bruce

Chief Program Officer, DataKind

Joy Bonaguro

Statewide Chief Data Officer, State of California

Pooja Munshi

Head of Web, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Want to take a peek at 2021’s sessions? Check out the agenda!

2021 agenda

Some of this year’s innovations

We ask public servants to innovate and take risks, so we try to embody that ourselves. Each year, we experiment with new technologies and formats to improve attendee experience. Here’s what we tried in 2021.

Speed networking

During breaks attendees used our virtual platform to speed network with other attendees for quick video calls, wherever they were joining from around the world.

Virtual lobby

Using Kumospace, we hosted a live virtual ‘lobby’ for attendees to network and make connections in a relaxed environment.

Virtual breakout rooms

Leveraging virtual video technologies like Zoom, we created interactive breakout sessions to workshop complex problems and brainstorm solutions with participants.

Live Q&A and polling

We used a digital platform to solicit questions and take polls from the live audience. And following virtual talks, attendees could meet with speakers in a spatial networking tool that let them chat via video easily.

Sign up to our newsletter to get all the info!

Get it delivered right to your inbox!

Notice at collection Your Privacy Choices