Press & Media

Bloomberg Philanthropies Launches New Digital Innovation Project for European Cities

Cities will Receive Support to Advance Cutting Edge Digital Services and Data Practices

Michael R. Bloomberg today announced a new initiative for European capital cities that aims to accelerate digital innovation to improve critical services and deliver better results for residents. Across Europe, cities are undertaking significant efforts to embrace technology and design to transform public services and better leverage public data to solve problems. Through project support, grants, and professional development programming for Chief Digital Officers and other key leaders, Bloomberg Philanthropies aims to help European cities consolidate digital leadership – and share lessons learned with cities across the rest of the world.

“Technology is making it easier for local governments to anticipate issues, measure results, and respond to residents,” said Michael R. Bloomberg founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City. “Cities across Europe are helping to lead the world in using digital services to solve tough challenges, and this program will help them accelerate their progress.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies has invited all 28 European capital cities to join the initiative, with London, Helsinki, and Bratislava already signed on. These and other early joiners will help inform the design of the program to ensure maximum impact.

“I’m committed to ensuring new digital technologies put people first and address the major problems cities face, including cleaning up our air and tackling the housing crisis. I’m proud to support this new initiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will help London work closely with other European capital cities in developing common solutions to our biggest challenges,” said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Cities participating in the initiative will benefit from a range of supports to advance local efforts. Chief Innovation, Digital, Data, and Information Officers who are driving these efforts will receive robust leadership support focused on building strong teams and managing transformational change. Cities will be eligible for innovation grants and project support, delivered by world-class partners, to help transform critical public-facing services. In addition, cities will benefit from robust best practice sharing and peer-to-peer networking to share lessons learnt.

“Coming to the office just six months ago gives me a unique opportunity to drive change in Bratislava. First time ever the city created the position of Chief Innovation Officer, and right now we are preparing our city’s strategic plan called Metropolitan program for Bratislava 2030. It will be data driven, agile and will build upon SDGs to create a resilient, inviting and diverse city in the heart of Europe,” says Matúš Vallo, Mayor of Bratislava.

This new program is an extension of Bloomberg Philanthropies ongoing efforts to build innovation, data, and collaboration capacity within cities halls around the world. It will draw upon the Foundation’s global network of experts as well as Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic consultancy, Bloomberg Associates, which has helped European cities such as London, Athens, and Milan advance related efforts. The consultancy’s work with London began at the beginning of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s term and supported the development of the city’s Chief Digital Officer role and the London Office of Technology and Innovation.

“A critical part of Helsinki city strategy is our commitment to making better sense of global change. Helsinki aims to be the city in the world that makes the best use of digitalization and champions technological responses to climate change. We look forward to working with Michael R. Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies on these critical issues,” says Helsinki’s Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

The digital services movement, which has taken shape within the last decade, promises to transform public services by putting people at the center and utilizing data and technology to meet needs in new and more powerful ways. Digital tools can help municipalities save money and deliver better outcomes; transform internal operations around real world needs, especially by overcoming organizational silos; and make services smoother and easier to access, and more personalized.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.