At the time of writing, in view of the epidemiological assessments of the growing risks of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a national state of emergency has been declared in Latvia. The same headline goes around Europe, and many other parts of the world: the second wave of pandemic spread is hitting hard the old continent and it is bringing down to citizen’s new lockdowns, for now geographically limited to the most critical situations. It has been a dramatic year, and the situation continues to be dramatic.
The two municipalities leading the NextGen project, Ventspils and Valmiera, have been affected by COVID-19 as most European cities. Notwithstanding the impact of the pandemic, they managed to progress with project activities. In this Journal we focus on project updates on some of the most interesting activities carried out within the project scope:
- a generational marketing strategy to pull young people towards ICT education;
- qualified specialists’ attraction program to attract to Latvia qualified ICT talents;
- career summer camps for young people devoted to leadership development in the digital era;
- foreign direct investments attraction program to boost local capacity through inbound investments;
- Ed-tech innovative solutions for tertiary education institutions.
The menu of interventions planned by the project is rich and complex, those are all activities part of a larger strategy to foster Latvia’s capacity to play in the digital global landscape.
This Journal focuses also on challenges, the main being of course COVID-19. Notwithstanding the threat that the pandemic crisis poses on this kind of initiative, the team has managed to charge ahead and bring to completion most of the planned targets, albeit with some delays depending on logistics interruptions and tactical choices of postponing due to the crises.
According to the UIA framework for challenges in the implementation of complex innovative projects in cities, there are seven dimensions that cities must take into account when planning and delivering change. In this Journal, we update the status of the project in relation to these seven dimensions.
We will observe in due course how the challenge of sustaining momentum in change will be faced by the project team and report accordingly eventual setbacks and ways in which problems will be overcome in all dimensions of the UIA challenges framework just exposed.