Transforming Athens Into a Digital City
Bloomberg Associates worked with the City of Athens to launch a number of digital initiatives, including the installation of public Wi-Fi and smart infrastructure, to expand access to the internet across all neighborhoods, develop digital skills, attract new investment, and grow the city’s startup ecosystem.
A digital city is a city that uses technology to improve the living standards of its citizens, by making things easier, faster and more reliable.
Katherine Oliver, Bloomberg Associates
Against a backdrop of austerity, economic hardship and the European refugee crisis, the City of Athens understood that they needed to innovate and leverage technology in order to do more with less. Bloomberg Associates was asked by city officials to support the creation of the Chief Digital Officer position and to launch a digital council to define the city’s digital vision and guide this transformation.
Bloomberg Associates worked with the city to establish the position of Chief Digital Officer, the first in Europe. The Chief Digital Officer’s first move was to form a Digital Council made up of leaders representing the largest digital, telecommunications, research and development companies in Greece. With guidance from the council, the city’s Chief Digital Officer composed Athens’ first Digital Roadmap to expand the city’s digital offerings.
The establishment of a Chief Digital Officer in Athens has set the course not only for the digital transformation of city government but also for Athens as a beacon for digital innovation. The Athens Digital Roadmap lays a strategic foundation to build upon the city’s digital offerings, including the expansion of internet access, increasing transparency and engaging more fully with residents. Bloomberg Associates helped build the profile of the Athens Chief Digital Officer and create opportunities for him to share his knowledge with cities around the world. At the Council of Global City CIOs meeting, a conference dedicated to fostering digital collaboration across European cities, Athens showcased its digital outcomes and hosted a number of workshops to identify common digital priorities and challenges across cities. In a testament to the resounding success of Athens’ digital transformation, in 2018 the European Commission named Athens the European Capital of Innovation and offered 1 million euros in prize money.