Improving digital and innovative skills

16 August 2018 - Published by Herma Otter
To take a peek into the future, Groningen set up 6 Summer classes on innovative and digital developments which could - or should? - have their impact on local government and Public Services. Items like blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) Data Science, Place Value, Participatory Budgeting and Digital democracy attracted over 200 inquisitive employees. Partners from Angus (UK), Rotterdam (NL) and Groningen University (NL) enthusiastically shared their knowledge.

Combining inside/outside

Key idea is to give people from the municipality who are working on innovative projects, an opportunity to show their expertise and combine these sessions with a speaker from outside the organisation. Thus bringing together internal specialist, external experts and an eager audience.

Innovation themes

  • The Summerclasses were kicked off with the seemingly endless possibilities of Internet of Things (IoT). This was presented by Adri Wischmann from IoT Nederland, also involved in the LoraWan project DIDI from Drenthe Province, partner in project Like!.
  • The second Summerclass was the first transnational one: From our partner Angus Council, Greame Hodge informed the audience about his experience with Participatory Budgeting in Scotland and the Youth project in Angus. Digital democracy was the subject for Nephtis Brandsma, from Groningen Municipality. She talked about Consul the tool that will be used to get citizens involved in democracy in their neighbourhoods.
  • For the third meeting, Andre van der Lee, from project partner Rotterdam, shared his experience with a model for data driven cleaning of the city. Debris Profiles and inspections direct cleaning teams to where they are needed most. Marcel Daalman, a specialist on dashboards from Groningen, gave a sneak preview into the "Stadskompas": a dashboard to make data from surveys about wellbeing among citizens, visible.
  • Blockchain was the next topic: the audience was lead from the basics, from the "blocks" in the "chain" to the challenges and impact of implementing these chains. The evaluation of a pilot using this technic in a voting process, lead to further in sights. Zuidhorn Municipality told about the influence on people, during their experience with blockchain in their price winning Kindpakket (Dutch only) project. This gives financial support for the children of low income families, using blockchain.

Two more Summerclasses are scheduled for the next few weeks:

  • To write like a reader - to improve the quality of governmental letters to citizens
  • It's up to the People - Combining GeoData and citizens involvement with Place Value Mapping