Transform your local population into digital talents

Digital skills have become the third language and age cannot be seen as a barrier to start learning it. As we enter a digital era, local leaders need to make sure that every single resident in their territory is able to get digital knowledge in the short and long term. In a world where technologies are becoming ubiquitous, there are simply no alternatives to digital literacy. Cities and regions failing to reskill their workforce won’t be able to compete globally as they will inevitably see their economic attractiveness compromised.

Rethinking digital education strategies

Several dimensions have to be taken into consideration when rethinking education strategies. The first one is about getting the right vision at local level to acquire digital knowledge both on the short and long terms. This means the right content and the adequate curriculums for students including rapid learning programs. This approach is applicable for both local students and talented migrants. The education sector ranges from preschool to post doc level and also includes life-long learning. Iconic teachers are therefore indispensable throughout the learning pathway. Local business heroes also need to be emphasised in the area of digitalization. Similarly, the level of renewal and the speed of start-up communities including incubators and accelerators play a critical role. Rapid prototyping programs and skills management are other building blocks in the development process. The native digitals generation need to collaborate with older generations in a creative-strategic-thinking approach. All together they can work for what could be labelled as “3G strategies” (3 Generations strategies). Three Generations working together and learning of from one another.

Collaborative partnerships to train new digital workers

In forward-thinking cities, local governments, education providers and companies are developing collaborative strategies to train new digital talent or to reskill the existingworkforce.

Nokia’s bridge programme

Nokia played a major role in the digital economy of Espoo. In its glory days, the Finnish multinational ICT company employed more than 23,000 workers in Finland. Over the past decade, the series of layoffs at Nokia and the acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone business by Microsoft have left the city of Espoo with a surplus of tech workers. Out of the approximately 100,000 ICT-workers in the country, about 14,000 ICT professionals (14%) have been affected by the mass layoffs of Nokia with a large majority of Espoo residents.⁷ The city of Espoo along with the national government, Nokia and education providers have therefore developed collaborative strategies to ease Nokia’s strain and to turn it into Finland’s gain. In 2011, Nokia launched the “Bridge programme” which aimed to provide new career opportunities to its laid-off employees. The Bridge programme led to the creation of about 1,000 business start-ups by former Nokia workers who benefitted from the entrepreneurship programs and the investments made by Nokia to (re)train its former labour force

Collaborative partnerships to train new digital workers

Universities: hitting new heights to foster a new digitalworkforce The key role of the university in driving forward a favourable digital ecosystem was repeatedly stated by different stakeholders of the city of Espoo. Creating tighter linkages between universities and businesses therefore acts as a key success factor for the digital transformation of local businesses. In Espoo, all the initiatives developed by the Aalto university aim to facilitate the digital transformation of local firms (Aalto Design Factory, Aalto Venture Garage, Aalto Camp for Societal Innovation,…). These initiatives are praised by local businesses who are increasingly relying on themto innovate

Encouraging entrepreneurial policymaking to reskill the local workforce

Entrepreneurial policy-making has become a reality in a growing number of European cities and regions as reflected by the emergence of an increasing number of public entrepreneurs focusing on the digital challenges faced by local firms. However, the reskilling of public sector servants remains a key issue in a considerable number of territories. It is important for the public sector to act as a strategic enabler and facilitator in these processes. Hiring the right policymakers with an acute understanding of the needs of local firms and tech entrepreneurs and the development of the entrepreneurial skills of existing public servants is therefore key to create the conditions for sustained digital transformation. A practical approach which also helps to build the digital brand of the territory and to accelerate the reskilling of the workforce is to appoint a “CDO” – Chief Digital Officer as the responsible person for this integrated development x sectors and industries.

Nyuko: Turning Luxembourg into a start-upnation

Nyuko was launched in 2015 as an initiative hosting and helping entrepreneurs to articulate their business plans and early stage ideas. ⁹ Nyuko takes local entrepreneurs to the next level by accelerating the transformation of their ideas to the launch of a start-up. After their Nyuko experience, entrepreneurs are ready to enter to incubators and accelerators in Luxembourg to grow their businesses. Nyuko was created as an independent structure and resulted from the merger between Business Initiative and the co-working platform “The Impactory”. Nicolas Buck, a Luxembourgish entrepreneur and former head of Business Initiative carried the vision for the creation of Nyuko, a space for exchanges, training, and sharing between entrepreneurs, investors and coaches. Nyuko is composed of energetic and inspirational entrepreneurs offering the 3 following lines of services to new and second chance entrepreneurs