Bio Karl-Filip Coenegrachts

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Karl-Filip Coenegrachts is Master of Laws, specialized in National and International Public Law and European Law (Ghent University, 1996).

As a student he developed a passion for international relations, politics and society. After a short career in the financial sector he became a legal advisor (1997-2001) at the Belgian Ministry of Justice working on international cooperation in criminal legislation. He became an expert in new policies related to the emergence of new technologies. He was Belgian representative on the European and international level in fora working on organised crime, terrorism, cybercrime, cybersecurity and developed a personal interest in the societal impact of new technologies.

In 2001 he started working in local government from the conviction that this is the level of government that will play a pivotal role in the societal changes that were on the horizon. As political advisor to the Vice-mayor of Ghent he got to know the wonderful world of politics but he also had the chance to gain expertise in HR policy, ICT policy and international and development cooperation. In this job he also co-founded Digipolis, the intermunicipal ICT company of the cities of Ghent and Antwerp, and Gentinfo, the first interactive online service center on a local level in Europe.

In 2004 he became Head of a new Department of the City of Ghent aimed at establishing an integrated strategic office for the city. In that capacity he developed and implemented a tailor made way of long term thinking translated into a city wide strategy across all the local public authorities. This included a strategic conceptual framework adapted to the specific situation in Ghent, a strategic cycle integrated into the budget cycle, toolkits on project and programme management, change management and supporting ICT applications. He also created strategic intelligence focused entities, working on data and information management, international relations and networks and policy participation and strategic grants management. His responsibilities also included the identification, incubation and mainstreaming of new horizontal urban developments, e.g. smart cities, open governance, new citizen engagement techniques and new forms of democracy.

In 2015 he was also appointed Chief Strategy Officer of the Ghent Group of local authorities. Among other things he created an alternative vision and workable concept for Ghent on the Smart City, the City of People. In 2016 this concept won the Flemish Smart City Award (Slim in de Stad prijs).

He was also expert of the Board of Directors of Digipolis, member of the board of the Knowledge Centre for Flemish cities and Ghent representative in the Executive Committee of EUROCITIES, the largest European cities network.

Today Karl-Filip offers his expertise and experience to governments, local authorities, companies, associations, federations and research institutes that are looking for support in vision development and implementation, inspiration or critical advice on the transition to the city/community/society of the future.

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