Transforming public services

Bloomberg Philanthropies has selected 21 European cities to participate in a new two-year programme that seeks to improve the lives of city residents through ‘high-impact’ digital services.

Amsterdam is among the cities chosen for the innovation programme, which will supply specialised education and expert technical assistance, including design support, that will focus on one area of government services to deliver better outcomes. The areas to be covered in the programme include housing, mobility, health, education and jobs.

Sharing innovation

As a result of the programme, it’s hoped city teams will have acquired the skills and peer network to tackle additional challenges and redesign even more services – while also sharing their lessons with other cities around 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,” says 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.”

Besides Amsterdam, the participating cities are: Athens, Berlin, Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Ljubljana, London, Madrid, Nicosia, Prague, Riga, Reykjavik, Sofia, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vilnius and Warsaw.

How to build leadership skills for digital transformation

This month, representatives from the selected cities will gather in London, some in person and some virtually, to connect with experts throughout Europe that specialise in digital transformation. “Digital transformation needs to engage staff from across the city – technologists, programme managers and executives,” says Coleman.

City officials will also get access to a specialised executive education programme, delivered by Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, that focusses on the skills required on leading digital innovation in cities.

“Across Europe, cities are embracing technology to transform their public services and tackle complex challenges,” says Jorrit de Jong, faculty co-chair of the Harvard programme. “This new programme provides an opportunity for city leaders to further develop important leadership skills, from building high-performing teams and collaborating across departments to leveraging data, in order to drive digital transformation.”