With the book Smart Country – Connected. Intelligent. Digital. the Bertelsmann Stiftung aims to demonstrate how the opportunities inherent to digitization can strengthen social inclusion and improve the quality of life across all socioeconomic groups and regions in Germany. The global survey of good practices conducted for the prize highlights innovative solutions to a variety of challenges in eight countries. These states offer digital solutions in key areas such as health care, mobility, education and politics, thereby helping their societies address the challenges associated with demographic change and rapid urbanization. A comprehensive digital stratey is needed if governments are to enable everyone full and active participation in society for everyone. We therefore conducted on-site research in the world’s pioneers of digitization: Austria, Estonia, Israel and Sweden. The lessons learned in each regarding a political digital strategy, expanding internet infrastructures, improving digital competences and ensuring the smart application of digital technology have much to offer Germany.