The Sharing Economy and IT Metrics

Gov_logoI recently authored a piece for Governing on how the sharing economy has interesting implications for the future of local governments. Click here for the article. This paper is based on a research study that my team completed on how technology is shaping the future of government. The complete report will be released by the Brookings Institution.


fcw-logoMy article with Alison Sutherland on information technology metrics appeared in the April 15 print edition of Federal Computer Week. Click here to see the article. The web version of the article is available here.

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.



USAID – Frontiers in Development

fid_banner I will be speaking at USAID's Frontiers in Development Conference. My presentation will take place  in a new session sponsored by the U.S. Global Development Lab, the Innovation Marketplace. The event engages a broad audience with a focus on “the idea that science, technology, innovation and partnership can accelerate development impact and end extreme poverty by 2030.”

Realizing the Promise of Open Data and Technologies for Global Development

How can we harness data towards the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030? Today, we have all heard about open data. Open data movements, which share data about localities (cities, towns, villages, etc.) and public institutions (agencies), are spurring up all across the globe. Agencies are making data available to the public about all facets of a governance, public services, and management of public goods. In addition, agencies are liberating data that were traditionally locked up within administrative systems. The overriding goal here is to increase transparency, thereby increasing trust in government while also enabling more collaborative and participatory governance. Open data programs have given a rise in civic hackathons, competitions, and challenges that engage innovators to solve complex problems and promote the use of data analytics for global development. In this presentation, we will use a wide assortment of cases to illustrate a key point, i.e., while we have made great strides in leveraging technology and data for global development, we have undermined its potential due to an under-appreciation of governance and policy nuances. Do not despair! We will outline a series of actionable steps that can be undertaken to rectify this deficiency. Specifically, we will focus on how to create data-driven development labs to tackle some of our most vexing global challenge such as the eradication of extreme poverty.

My colleague, David Swindell, will also be presenting at the event. His presentation will highlight our collaborative work on designing financial models to underwrite investments in smart infrastructures. See here for our report.

See here for the draft program agenda.

See here for the ASU press release on the event.

Big Data and Urban Informatics at UIC

logoILChicagoI am in Chicago to attend the NSF sponsored Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics. I will chair the Crisis and Emergency Informatics track and will present the following paper.

‘Big’ Data + ‘Open’ Data + ‘Mobile’ Data: Urban Informatics

I take the view of a city as a platform. As a platform, a city has infrastructure, processes, organizations, individuals, and technology as components. Additionally, cities are comprised of technical (e.g. sensors), social (e.g. humans), and socio-technical components (e.g. processes). The glue that holds these components together and enables integration and coordination to occur is data and information. The effective and efficient management of information is not only critical to ensure that each of the components operate optimally but also ensures that the overall system, the city, achieves its overall objectives. In this paper, I focus on three key data dimensions in the context of urban informatics: big, open, and mobile data. Key issues within each data dimension are presented. The paper builds on several research projects on smart cities, urban informatics, and policy informatics. Data collected during these projects includes over 45 case studies, over 60 interviews with key informants, analysis of over several thousand pages secondary data, and an examination of over 70 technology solutions that span mobile apps, online crowdsourcing platforms, sensors, analytical and visualization technologies, and associated urban technologies. The paper puts forth several considerations that need to be accounted for when discussing the potential of data and technologies to transform our urban spaces towards the goals of making them intelligent, livable, sustainable, and resilient.

Designing and Planning for Smart(er) Cities – Practicing Planner

aicpsignatureYou can find my article on smart cities in the current issue of Practicing Planner.

Abstract: Within the past 24 months the concept of smart (and intelligent) cities has been become popular in the media. For instance, Scientific American ran a special issue on smart cities (September 2011). Industry players such as IBM and Siemens have specific programs and practices dedicated to advancing the cause of building smart cities. Despite its intuitive appeal, we have limited knowledge within the design, planning, and policy fields about the dimensions of the concept of smart cities, and limited practical experience regarding the barriers and potential opportunities. The term smart city is still new and appears to mean different things within different fields. In some ways the term is both complex and vague. Some experts use the term smart city to highlight advances in sustainability and greening of the city, while others use the term to portray infusion of information via technologies to better the lives of citizens. Even others consider the presence of high-level citizen engagement in the design and governance of the space as a key attribute of smarter cities. Therefore, no consensus exists within the academy on the characteristics of smart cities and how they fit within existing conceptual frameworks, such as sustainability and policy informatics. Although there is not yet consensus on a definition, I posit the following definition: A smart city is livable, resilient, sustainable, and designed through open and collaborative governance. The objective of this paper is to provide a preliminary conceptual framework for researchers, policymakers, and planners to apply in their design and development of smart cities. In light of the growing popular appeal of smart cities, I hope this essay will serve as a call to action for planners who must confront the day-to-day challenge of designing, developing, and retrofitting cities to make them smarter.

To access the article, please click here.

Report now Available – Challenge.Gov: Landscape Analysis + Citizen and Agency Perspective

I have just completed the first draft of my report on the platform. This paper has been a few months in the making and builds on my recent work in community intelligence platforms, citizen apps, and innovation in the public sector. To receive a copy of the report, please send me an email.

Challenge.Gov: Landscape Analysis and Implications from the Citizen and Agency Perspective

To solve complex social and policy challenges we need to broaden the conversations, involve more minds and talent, and collaborate effectively and efficiently. Traditionally, public agencies have felt the burden to tackle challenges by relying on their own internal intellectual capital or through structured contracting with external partners. Seldom could an individual citizen share his or her talent, expertise, and skills with a public agency directly. Today, public agencies are becoming more participatory, inclusive, and transparent in how they engage with citizens as well as with each other. is the crowdsourcing platform for US federal agencies that seek to engage citizens, leverage collective intelligence, and tackle complex social and technical challenges. In this paper we report on an exploratory landscape analysis of the competitions run on We interviewed citizens who took part in competitions on as well as public managers and government executives to understand their motivations, experiences, lessons learned, and future plans. Drawing on these interviews, we arrive at a set of actionable guidelines presented through implications to improve the state of competitions hosted by 

Acknowledgments: This project was made possible through funding received from the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Tim Moon and Akshay Bhagwatwar served as research associates for the project. I am grateful to the assistance provided by Eric Park and Lauren Bulka during the project. I also thank all solution contributors to challenges and public managers who designed challenges that participated in our interviews. All errors and omissions are solely my responsibility. I acknowledge the thoughtful discussion and comments from participants at the NSF Workshop on Participatory Challenge Platforms with a Public Intent. The views represented in this paper are our own, and do not represent official positions of IBM, any of its affiliates, or the NSF.

Leveraging the Wisdom of Crowds through Participatory Platforms – Planetizen

My article on Leveraging the Wisdom of Crowds through Participatory Platforms was published on Planetizen.  The future of design and planning is certain to be around participatory platforms, designers and planners should embrace these platforms and leverage their potential towards designing smart(er) cities through open, inclusive, and collaborative approaches.Planners need to learn how to orchestrate participation on these platforms so as to arrive at plans that are representative of community needs and within scope, budget, and resource constraints. Failure to achieve this will result in plans that fall prey to the foolishness or the rowdiness of crowds. I outline five simple guidelines to consider. To read more, click here - LINK