A smarter city

Technological developments mean that the labour market is rapidly evolving, in ways that cannot always be predicted. How can Amsterdam respond to this changing labour market and ensure that there will be enough work for Amsterdam’s residents in the future? With that question, the City of Amsterdam won the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge earlier this year. Five IBM experts from around the world researched the issue, and the result is a report with recommendations presented to Mayor Van der Laan on 11 May. The report contains several recommendations for Amsterdam, based on more than 50 interviews with startups, government officials and educational institutions.

Re-training for the new economy

The report recommends ensuring that people continue learning throughout the duration of their careers, strengthening entrepreneurial talent and collaborating with other cities in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. The first of these recommendations – allowing people to keep learning throughout their lives – was immediately tackled by setting up a plan for a so-called “House of Skills”, a re-training institute that will help workers transition to a new job by learning the skills that the economy calls for. Working with other cities throughout Europe is already an important priority in Amsterdam, particularly for the StartupAmsterdam initiative.

Another urban challenge is how Amsterdam can hold on to its talent. Within the Amsterdam Economic Board, IBM and the City of Amsterdam have been working together for some time to sustainably strengthen the prosperity and welfare in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, along with other companies, governments and research institutes. Their recommendations will be discussed by the members of the Board, and there will also be a meeting in September for anyone interested in contributing to this challenge.