I will be speaking on Big Data at the Technological Innovation in Government: Toward Open and Smart Government Symposium organized by the Section for Science & Technology in Government of the American Society for Public Administration. Other speakers at the event include Jane Fountain (UMass), Elizabeth Bruce (MIT), Chris Osgood (Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston), and Bill Oates (CIO, Commonwealth of Massachusetts), among others. For more information on the event, please click here.
I will be giving two talks this week on my Big Data report. The first presentation will take place at the Fakultät für Informatik, Technische Universität München on March 12 (See here for more details). I will then fly to Slovenia to give a talk at the Faculty of Information Studies in Slovenia on March 14.
Federal CIOs must do a better job of creating and using metrics if IT is to earn the respect it deserves as a value generator instead of a money drain. To read more, please click here.
Belarus authorities’ counter-revolutionary tactics related to information and communication technologies in 2001-2010: lessons learned
Information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled revolutionary tactics play an important role in uprisings against non-democratic regimes worldwide. Up to now, a critical understanding of how authorities in those countries employ ICT-based counter-revolutionary measures has been missing. In this paper we examine the evolution of ICT-based counterrevolutionary tactics employed by one of the most ingrained authoritarian regimes—that of Belarus—through the last decade (2001-2010). The political opposition’s responses to the authorities’ countermeasures are also investigated, followed by an analysis of the co-evolution of these opponents’ ICT-related tactics. We suggest that use of ICT (by both sides) was not among the main factors leading to Belarus’ failed colour revolution. Rather, factors such as miscalculations on the side of the opposition; effective preemption by authorities; collaboration with foreign regimes by the authorities; and harsh physically oppressive measures by the authorities played the main part. Based on these conclusions, implications for the general theoretical framework of political cyberprotest in the former USSR are discussed. Finally, practical suggestions for the improvement of dissenters’ use of ICT during major political cyberprotest are provided.
I recently authored an article for Planetizen.
Unless you have been hibernating, you have heard about urbanization trends and have spent time reflecting on what this might hold for the future of communities, cities, nations, and the planet as a whole. The world’s total urban area is expected to triple between 2000 and 2030—urban populations are set to double to around 4.9 billion in the same period. The number of megacities is expected to double over the next decade, and many of these growing cities are far from resilient. The solution: frugal engineering and local knowledge. Read more
Realizing the Promise of Big Data: Implementing Big Data Projects was published today by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.
Big data is a new frontier for the public sector. It has captured the attention of public managers across the globe. Agencies realize that their datasets represent critical resources that need to be managed and leveraged. Public sector use of big data and big data analytics is wide-ranging; some organizations have no experience with big data, while others have taken on small to moderate-sized projects. Drawing on interviews with chief information officers (CIOs) from every level of government (federal, state, and local), this report presents implementation steps grouped by the phases of a big data project:
In the next few years, nearly all public agencies will grapple with how to integrate their disparate data sources, build analytical capacities, and move toward a data-driven decision-making environment. Big data is increasing in importance for public agencies, and big data programs are expected to become more prominent in the near future. Through the use of big data, analytics now holds great promise for increasing the efficiency of operations, mitigating risks, and increasing citizen engagement and public value.
This is my second report published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government. To read my previous report on Challenge.Gov: Using Competitions and Awards to Spur Innovation, please click here.
I am thrilled to be invited back to address the Advanced Practices Council (APC) of the Society for Information Management. The APC commissioned a research report on mobile app development in highly regulated industries. Over the last few months, I have collaborated with Paul Simon (CEO of iHear Network and my former graduate student at the University of Washington) on this research report.The presentation will take place on Jan 22, 2014 at the Intercontinental Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mobile App Development in Highly Regulated Industries: Risks, Rewards, and Recipes
Mobile computing has the potential to be as disruptive to the status quo as the introduction of the modern Internet in the 1990s or the Model T was nearly 100 years ago. Organizations need to not only understand the risks of mobile computing, but develop strategies to incorporate it before it fatally disrupts their current business model. Some of the rewards of a well thought out mobile strategy include increasing revenues or new revenue streams, greater brand awareness and customer loyalty, and a new set of tools to increase employee productivity. Firms in highly regulated industries face an even more complex set of challenges when considering how to approach the mobile space. Highly regulated industries have additional constraints for developing mobile software because of the additional layer(s) of regulation that dictate the protection and communication of information. It is important for these businesses to implement comprehensive security solutions that go beyond standard industry regulatory systems. Since regulations always lag behind technological advancement, organizations should think more proactively about how their actions might trigger future legislative responses and how their actions impact the user’s expectations of privacy and trust. Although there are risks associated with an organization’s increased use of mobile devices, the rewards that could flow from developing, implementing, and continuously iterating upon a coherent mobile strategy are enormous. In a Pew Research Center study, 63% of adult cell phone owners use their cell phone to go online, 34% said they do most of their internet browsing on their mobile phone. It would be detrimental to the long-term viability of an organization to ignore such trends. Traditional linear modes of developing strategy will not be sufficient or flexible enough to keep up with the rate of innovation in mobile hardware, software, and mobile operating systems. Design thinking has grown beyond just a methodology for developing software products and experiences and now a growing amount of managers are using design thinking as a means of developing business strategy. This non-linear mode of strategy development is better suited for building a mobile strategy as it will provide greater insight into the needs and desires of end users, foster innovative and creative solutions, and provide greater flexibility to adapt to the changing circumstances caused by the disruptive forces of the mobile revolution. This enables the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to provide greater leadership that leads to both internal and external innovative opportunities for mobile strategy development.
A city, like any organization, thrives or fails depending on its ability to process signals from its environment. Cities have long been subject to shocks because the information systems designed to signal impending events in their internal or external environments were inadequate. The management of infrastructures, processes, and events within a city has traditionally been inefficient or ineffective because of an inability to harness data toward real-time decision-making. This has led to significant wastage of scarce resources and squandering of opportunities. Furthermore, until recently most citizens have been passive recipients of plans and programs devised by their elected officials. As the population in cities has exploded, the leveraging of the collective intelligence of diverse citizens toward the betterment of the city has remained elusive as a result of poorly designed participatory platforms—for example, the town hall meetings that are often used to solicit input but impose significant barriers on the participation of citizens. Urban planners and designers have historically focused on innovating for citizens rather than with citizens, or, better, providing citizens with the resources and capabilities to innovate for themselves.
Today, following advances in communication and computational technologies, cities are harnessing data and information with a view to becoming more “intelligent.” The adoption of mobile technologies and the diffusion of Internet connectivity has made information accessible to most individuals, even the poorest of the poor. Cities are embedding a wide assortment of technologies within their physical and social spheres so as to enable real-time processing of data to further the goal of smarter decision-making. In addition, cities are liberating data that was previously withheld from the public. Open data programs exist in many major cities through which data on a wide variety of operations and governance mechanisms are being made available. Citizens, in turn, are playing a more active role in shaping the future of their environments. Citizens are not only creating mobile apps that promote smarter ways of traversing the city and conducting various functions, but are also building online participatory platforms so as to source problems and solutions from their fellow dwellers and better manage public goods.
My chapter contains seven spreads that cover key elements of intelligent cities:
- Liberating Data
- Quality of Life
- Living Labs
The core city that I focused on is London and the secondary cities are Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, Boston, and Amsterdam.
Implementing Open Innovation in the Public Sector:
The Case of Challenge.Gov
As part of the Open Government Initiative (OGI), the Obama administration has called for new forms of collaboration with stakeholders to increase innovativeness of public service delivery. Federal managers can utilize Challenge.gov to crowdsource solutions from previously untapped problem solvers and leverage collective intelligence to tackle complex social and technical public management problems. We highlight the work conducted by the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the General Services Administration (GSA), the administrator of the Challenge.gov platform. Specifically, we feature the work of Tammi Marcoullier, Program Manager, Challenge.gov, and Karen Trebon Deputy Program Manager for Challenge.gov, and their role as change agents mediating collaborative practices between policy makers and public agencies in navigating the political and legal challenges within their local agencies. We provide insights into the implementation process of crowdsourcing solutions for public management problems as well as lessons learned designing open innovation processes in the public sector.