Bloomberg Philanthropies Digital Innovation Initiative


In 2020, the City of Sofia alongside 20 other European cities was invited to take part in ‘Bloomberg Philanthropies Digital Innovation Initiative 2020-2022’ – an international training on digital transformation management in European cities.

The goal of the programme is to:

  • help European cities deliver high-impact digital services, and share lessons learned with cities around the rest of the world
  • accelerate digital innovation in cities to improve critical services and deliver better results for residents
  • support city leaders in further developing important skills to drive digital transformation

During the two-year programme, the participating city teams are expected to acquire the skills and network necessary to face the challenges of the future and to redesign even more services.


The initiative is aimed at leaders in urban governance and policies for urban environment digitalization and innovation from 21 European cities.

The City of Sofia will be represented by Vladimir Danailov, Sofia’s first ever Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development, and Elitsa Panayotova, Project Coordinator of Green Sofia.

City officials will have access to a specialized executive education programme delivered by Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School faculty to strengthen the skills necessary for leading digital innovation in their cities.

The two-year programme will provide the 21 participating cities with:

  • expert technical support and assistance
  • series of in-person and virtual meetings with digital transformation leaders 
  • access to a network of city leaders
  • training from top global innovation experts to improve critical services for residents
  • opportunity to participate in projects, apply for funding grants and apply for professional development programs for city management leaders

Focus areas

Participating cities will focus on transforming one resident-facing government service to deliver better outcomes. The 5 types of issues cities are expected to address include:

  • Housing
  • Mobility
  • Health
  • Education
  • Jobs 

What is next

The kickoff of the initiative took place in January 2020. At the start of the programme, cities will have to evaluate their organizational maturity to harness digital technology and identify opportunities to advance capabilities including: 

  • digital vision
  • governance
  • technology systems development
  • approaches to user-centric design
  • building an infrastructure for the use of data

More information about Sofia’s participation in the initiative is coming soon!

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world and focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. 

In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the new digital innovation programme as an extension of the organization’s ongoing efforts to build innovation, data, and collaboration capacity within cities around the world. 

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