Capturing the Wisdom of Crowds – Planning

APAI have an article in the current issue of the American Planning Association's Planning magazine.

Capturing the Wisdom of Crowds

Combining citizen intelligence and online civic platforms.

By Kevin C. Desouza and Kendra L. Smith

Technology platforms for citizen intelligence are springing up quickly. Platforms such as Deliberatorium, DebateGraph, Cohere, YourView, and CoPe_it! all allow for extensive discourse. Each has special features such as multiple ways to contact other users and participate in discussion boards. Additionally, these platforms employ social analytics, discourse analytics, and social network maps. These sites allow users to gather information and debate ideas and solutions to specific community issues.

Users can also add evidence and information to other users' claims, which triggers conversations and sharing. In many U.S. cities, leaders are finding value in citizen intelligence. Online civic platforms tend to fall into four main categories, as one of us has also noted in an upcoming Journal of Urban Technology article. To read the more, please click here.

To read the print version, please click here.

BIG Ideas, Economic Resilience, Alliance for Innovation

I will be attending  the BIG Ideas Conference hosted by the Alliance for Innovation in Fort Lauderdale. I co-authored one of the discussion papers for the conference with Kendra Smith. The paper takes a critical look at what it takes to build cities and communities that are economically resilient.

Economic Resilience: No Big Ideas Needed!

Resilience is one of the most bastardized terms when it comes to planning and management jargon. We all want resilience, yet it means drastically different things to many people. To some, resilience is the ability to respond to shocks and abrasions in the environment, while others think of resilience as the ability to continuously innovate and stay ahead of the curve so as not to become obsolete. Economic vulnerability and economic resilience play a strong role in cities’ resilience. Economic vulnerability is an entities proneness to exogenous shocks coming from economic features such as economic openness, export concentration, and dependence on strategic imports. Economic resilience is the ability of an organization, whether it is a business or a city or even a country, to withstand the impacts of financial and economic shocks and to bounce back quickly, or to avoid shocks through proactive planning and interventions. In this paper, we will explore the many facets of economic resilience, drivers of economic resilience, investing in resilience, and the risks of resilience planning. Additionally, we will offer domestic and international examples of cities that have experience with resilience planning, either through risk reduction or after-the-fact resilience planning. Finally, we will conclude with a discussion on the realities of economic resilience.

Please email me if you would like a copy of the paper.

I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Innovation and am looking forward to engaging discussions during our board meetings.

Universidad de Chile – Centro de Sistemas Públicos

Picture1I will be delivering a presentation at the Centro de Sistemas Públicos, Universidad de Chile on October 3, 2014. My talk will be part of the day long event, INNOVACIÓN PÚBLICA: MUCHO RUIDO ¿Y LAS NUECES?, organized by the Industrial Engineering department and CEPAL. My remarks will focus on how should we go about building a capacity for intrapreneurship in the public sector. Click here to view the complete program. For more details on my intrapreneurship work, see my book and one of my recent articles.

 

 

Chennai: City Profile – Cities

30396Rashmi Krishnamurthy and I have a paper accepted in Cities

Cities around the world are experiencing tremendous population growth, and this is especially true in the developing world. In this profile, we feature the city of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. Chennai is the largest industrial commercial center in South India; it is often referred as the “Detroit of India” and the “Gateway to South India.” In recent decades, large industrial facilities have been established in Chennai and its suburbs—resulting in large-scale population growth. However, this explosive growth has strained the urban infrastructure of this prominent city. In this profile, we provide an overview of Chennai’s urban history from social, economic, political, and environmental perspectives. We highlight the current and future challenges faced by the city, and we argue that it is well poised to leverage emerging smart city technologies. However, to effectively implement these technologies, city administrators need to undertake several measures; for example, a database capturing all dimensions of the city must be developed. By clearly delineating the urban planning and policy efforts to the present and offering a way forward, this paper contributes to the growing literature on smart cities and the unique urban challenges faced by cities in the developing world.  

Big Data in Administration & Society

aasI have a paper accepted in Administration & Society, co-authored with my colleague, Benoy Jacob,  at the School of Public AffairsUniversity of Colorado Denver.

Big Data in the Public Sector: Lessons for Practitioners and Scholars

In this essay, we consider the role of Big Data analytics in the public sector.  Motivating our work is the recognition that Big Data is still in its infancy and many important questions regarding the true value of Big Data remain unanswered.  The question we consider is: what are the limits, or potential, of Big Data in the public sector?  By reviewing the literature and summarizing insights from a series of interviews from public sector CIOs, we offer a scholarly foundation for both practitioners and researchers interested in understanding Big Data in the public sector.

The Perils of Petascale IT Projects

PetascaleITProjectsI have an article published in the current issue of FCW: The Business of Federal Technology on petascale IT projects.

Good news: We no longer have to talk about megascale IT projects. Large-scale ventures that typically cost $1 billion or more, megaprojects used to be all the rage, but they are quickly being superseded by petascale IT initiatives. Those projects can cost even more, involve complexity on a truly massive scale and require petaflops of computer processing. Despite the horrendous track record of delivering on even moderately complex IT projects, public-sector CIOs continue to embrace the design, planning and execution of petascale IT projects. To read more, please click here.

To view the article in the digital edition of the magazine, please click here.

Intrapreneurship – Government Technology

download Kendra Smith and I wrote a piece for Government Technology on Intrapreneurship. Public agencies need to build a capacity for intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurs invent new practices, programs, and solutions to address problems and opportunities faced by an organization. These individuals are passionate about the organizations they work for and do not just accept the status quo. They bootstrap and bootleg, they might be viewed as radical (or guerilla) by their peers, and they want to move their organizations ahead. To read more, please click here.

Big Data Analytics and the US Social Security Administration, Information Polity

15701255Rashmi Krishnamurthy and I have a paper accepted for publication in Information Polity. The paper, Big Data Analytics: The Case of the Social Security Administrationis one of the many case studies conducted during my research for my report on Big Data, published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Public agencies are investing significant resources in big data analytics to mine valuable information, predict future outcomes, and make data-driven decisions. In order to foster a strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with the adoption of big data analytics in the public sphere, we analyze various efforts undertaken by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA, which is commonly referred to as the “face of the government,” collects, manages, and curates large volumes of data to provide Social Security services to US citizens and beneficiaries living abroad. The agency has made great strides in the burgeoning big data space to improve administration and delivery of services. This has included: (1) improving its arcane legacy system, (2) developing employee and end-user capability, (3) implementing data management strategies and organizational architecture, (4) managing security and privacy issues, and (5) advocating for increased investment in big data analytics. Despite these efforts, the SSA is still in the early stages of developing capability in the domain of big data analytics. By outlining challenges and opportunities facing the SSA, we discuss policy implications and explore issues to consider when public agencies begin to develop the capacity to analyze big data. 

The paper is scheduled to appear later this year, in Vol. 19, Issue 3.