We are live! Welcome to the Academy for Smarter Communities

Welcome to TASC – The Academy for Smarter Communities! After a year of preparations we are live. We have launched our program, have built our first curriculum, have run our first class, and have published our calendar for the next ten classes around the world. We have brought about two new (and growing) communities: a community of trainers and experts that lead our TASC masterclasses, as well as a community of communities – our TASC Anchor Cities, our most direct partners, our lighthouse cities and regions where the training take place. So that is the “What”.

But “So What”, you may ask…

I think it is fair to state we have been able to confirm there is a monumental and growing need for an academy such as the one we are building. Many ‘Smart City’ and smart community agendas stall because the organizations at the heart of the exercise often lack the skills and competencies to deal with digitalization, and innovation at large. Even for cities staunchly conservative, staying away from adventurous ‘smart city’ projects, there is no escape: city data will have to be managed, data analytics and Artificial Intelligence implications for the city must be understood, threats to cyber security in public domains must be met, and smart mobility one needs to prepare for now. This is a mere handful of examples of where ‘community digitalization’ is happening while you were making other plans, to badly paraphrase John Lennon. But so many professionals, practitioners, municipal leaders, department managers are simply not ready.

And with the above I’m only scratching the surface. Understanding, executing and succeeding in implementing an innovation agenda for a city, a region or a smaller municipality, many skills, competencies, insights as well as a shared language is called for. Understanding the technologies, the mindsets, the business and delivery models, the procurement and partner models, the taxonomies, the best and worst practices. How to prepare for success and how to achieve value. These are the fundaments of our TASC Masterclasses. We focus and deliver on all the above, and do so in a trusted environment with a curriculum and a community of experts that is industry neutral, vendor neutral – an important principle we have abided by from the very outset of TASC.

As we move towards the end of 2018, and prepare for 2019, this is what you can expect from us. You can expect over 20 classes to be held over a 12 month period – some of them open for open enrollment, many of them dedicated to our Anchor Cities. You can expect many of those classes being our Foundational Smarter Community Masterclasses. But some of them will concern specialized classes, such a Blockchain for the City (Dubai, November 2018), the 5G city (Tampere, Finland and/or Sacramento, California, 2019) and The Ethical Smart Community (Amsterdam, 2019). You can expect an expansion of our community of communities into the Asia Pacific region. You can expect geo-specific teams bringing TASC classes to their cities in their language, such as the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) as well as Italy. You can expect regular updates on our web pages. And you can expect thought provoking blogs on various topics.

The mission for TASC is massive. Our ambition level is high. But, then, so is the task communities around the world are facing, managing their ‘New Digital Deal’, building successful innovation strategies. Let us get to work.

Bas Boorsma