Faruk Tuncer is the 2024 Hertie School Alumni Achievement Award winner

The CEO of digital venture Polyteia and Master of Public Policy graduate is transforming public administration through data-driven solutions.

Faruk Tuncer is this year’s Hertie School Alumni Achievement Award winner. The award recognises his exceptional contribution to making public administration fit for the future. Tuncer is the founder and CEO of Polyteia, a company that empowers governments with data intelligence for better decision making.

A 2016 graduate of the Master of Public Policy programme, Tuncer has been instrumental in advancing digital governance in Germany. His company Polyteia provides public administration with platforms that integrate data from various sources at the municipal, state and federal levels. An example: whereas in the past, public officials had to rely on numerous paper registers to calculate how many school or family services were needed in a specific area, they can now make informed decisions based on a complex, interlinked set of databases at the click of a mouse. “Data has the potential to revolutionise public administration,” Tuncer says. “Our mission is to ensure that governments have the tools they need to serve their communities effectively and transparently.”

Congratulations from Hertie School President Cornelia Woll

Commenting on the award winner’s achievements, Hertie School President Cornelia Woll says, “Under Faruk Tuncer’s leadership, Polyteia has supported the digitalisation of more than 100 public administration institutions in Germany. That is an indisputable testament to his success and commitment to innovation. We at the Hertie School are extremely proud of his achievements in this crucial dimension of good governance.”

Thanks to Polyteia's pioneering work, Tuncer has not only celebrated the significant milestone of founding and maintaining a company but has also transformed the public sector. The administrative burden in several cities has decreased, services have improved, and citizen engagement has increased.

Tuncer: “In the beginning, I thought other people must have tried this before”

That a business idea like Polyteia’s is still rather new is surprising to Tuncer himself. “Before I founded Polyteia, I always thought that people must have tested this idea before. But after some research, I saw that this was not the case,” he says. “If you see a pattern in a recurring problem and no one else is addressing it, you are probably the only one addressing it, and you should go for it.”

Having trained at a public policy school, Tuncer wants to encourage fellow alumni and current students to use their unique skillset and knowledge to get involved in the business sector and work towards the common good. “If you are thinking about founding your own business, you don't need to overthink the business part so much. Most of the work is really just the doing and learning along the way.”

Looking into the future, Tuncer says that the public sector has to catch up with the rapid evolution of technology, including digitisation and artificial intelligence: “We are currently experiencing a fundamental transition in technology which is very much shaking up the private sector. And it will shake up the government sector as well.” His goal to expand the collaboration between governments, tech companies and academia to improve public services will thus continue to keep him and his team busy.

Award ceremony at the 2024 Hertie Summit and Alumni Reunion

“The Hertie School has a relatively small but strong global alumni community. Our alumni do inspiring and impactful work in all corners of the world, and we are fiercely proud of their achievements,” says Nena Grceva, Director of Alumni Affairs. “The Alumni Achievement Award is a way to celebrate some of those exceptional alumni and highlight the positive change they make in the world.”

The Alumni Achievement Award is conferred annually to highlight the influence and commitment of the Hertie School’s alumni. This year’s award will be conferred on 6 July during the Hertie Summit and Alumni Reunion in Berlin.