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21 European cities selected for Bloomberg 'high impact' digital services programme

The Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative aims to help the cities deliver "high impact" digital services and share lessons learned with the rest of the world.

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Amsterdam is among the cities chosen for the innovation programme
Amsterdam is among the cities chosen for the innovation programme

Twenty-one European capital cities have been chosen to participate in a new initiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies that aims to help them deliver “high impact” digital services to improve life for citizens.

 

The two-year programme sets out to accelerate digital innovation by providing the cities with expert technical assistance, including design support, to focus on and transform one resident-facing government service to deliver better outcomes.

 

Issues addressed

 

The types of issues cities are expected to address include housing, mobility, health, education and jobs. Following the programme, it is hoped city teams will have acquired the skills and peer network to tackle additional challenges and redesign even more services. Bloomberg Philanthropies explains that lessons will also be shared with cities around the rest of the world.

 

“European capital cities are already among the world’s leaders when it comes to digitising government services to deliver better results for residents,” said Andrea Coleman of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Through this new offering, we hope to see these cities take their work to the next level by putting people at the heart of digital transformation, driving 21st-century ways of working across their organisations, and sharing lessons with other cities around the world.”

 

The participating cities are: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Athens, Greece; Berlin, Germany; Bratislava, Slovakia; Brussels, Belgium; Budapest, Hungary; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Helsinki, Finland; Ljubljana, Slovenia; London, UK; Madrid, Spain; Nicosia, Cyprus; Prague, Czech Republic; Riga, Latvia; Reykjavik, Iceland; Sofia, Bulgaria; Stockholm, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; Vilnius, Lithuania; and Warsaw, Poland.

 

“Digital transformation needs to engage staff from across the city – technologists, programme managers, and executives.”

 

The programme kicks off in London this month with representatives from the selected cities participating in a series of in-person and virtual meetings that will connect them with leaders throughout Europe focused on digital transformation.

 

City officials will have access to a specialised executive education programme delivered by Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School faculty to strengthen the skills necessary for leading digital innovation in their cities.

 

“Digital transformation needs to engage staff from across the city – technologists, programme managers and executives,” said David Eaves, faculty co-chair of the Harvard programme. “City leaders able to motivate change and mobilise others, who are skilled at negotiating and experimenting, will best position their cities to use technology to solve problems.”

 

Diagnostic process

 

At the start of the programme, cities will participate in a diagnostic process on their organisational maturity to harness digital technology and identify opportunities to advance capabilities including: digital vision, governance, technology systems development, approaches to user-centric design, and building an infrastructure for the use of data.

 

Petra Dzurovcinova, chief innovation officer of the City of Bratislava, said his city hopes to progress its digital initiative to create a digital citizen account that would open up the access to city services and connect new offerings in the future.

 

“Cities around the world are facing similar challenges to adopt and scale their digital transformation and smart city programme.”

 

“The City of Bratislava understands the importance of delivering meaningful services to citizens that address their needs and make life in the city more attractive and pleasant,” she said.

 

Owen Keegan, chief executive, Dublin City Council said participation will help accelerate Dublin’s internal digital capability and wider smart city programme to transform city services.

 

He said: “Cities around the world are facing similar challenges to adopt and scale their digital transformation and smart city programme.

 

“We look forward to working alongside Europe’s capital cities and sharing learnings and best practice across the network.”

 

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