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Local Government 2035: Strategic Trends and Implications of New Technologies

11295579_10155567198015471_2381307221559114104_nToday, the Brookings Institution released the Local Government 2035: Strategic Trends and Implications of New Technologies paper as part of the Issues in Technology Innovation series.

Technological change is increasingly disruptive and destabilizing. In order to maintain effective governance systems, public sector entities must overcome stagnant tendencies and take a proactive stance—acting in the face of impending technological innovations. Future government entities must evolve into lean, responsive, and adaptive organizations capable of rapid response to societal shifts.

In this paper, we illustrate how technological advancements, such as the proliferation of drone technologies, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and peer-2-peer services, will introduce data privatization challenges and destabilize existing governance systems. In order to maintain effective service delivery, public sector entities must increasingly consider the ramifications technology will have on income inequality, fragile and conflict states, and immigration—just to name a few.

They conclude by urging policymakers and government managers to chart out trends based on data, model the interactions within complex systems, and study the pathways towards outcomes to unearth intended and unintended consequences of strategic choices. The authors argue that designing a path forward for local governments will require deliberate collaboration among diverse stakeholders, an immersive engagement with the data and scenarios that will shape local communities, and employment of decision-tools to model and simulate alternatives.

Click here to download the paper.

Dashboards, More Cybersecurity, Citizen Disengagement, and …

It has been a busy few weeks, so here are some research updates:

Big Data for Social Innovation Makes SSIR Top 10 List for 2014

Summer_2014_Cover_small_170_223Big Data for Social Innovation published in Stanford Social Innovation Review made the 2014 top ten list at #5.

Authors Kevin Desouza and Kendra Smith suggest that nonprofits are falling behind scientific and business communities in using digital technology, and offer four steps to improve how social change organizations use big data for innovation.

Portland and Seattle – CIOs and Independent Sector

I will be participating in two events this coming week in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. First up is a visit to Portland to participate in a panel at the Premier CIO Forum. To read more about the panel, please visit: CIO Leadership: Preparing the Next Generation – Are We Doing Enough?

Panel Dpremiercio_logoescription: Listen and react to the views of a diverse panel of CIOs, educators, and not-for-profit directors on how well we are doing in preparing our next generation of IT leaders. We are spending a good deal of our IT professional development budgets on helping people stay current on their technical skills, but are we preparing them to become the leaders of tomorrow? We hear we are falling behind on inspiring our best and brightest students to go into the IT field--myth or fact? If fact, what can/should we be doing to change this pattern.\

I will then fly to Seattle for the Independent Sector conference. I will participate in a panel discussion with Beth Tuttle (President and CEO, Cultural Data Project) and Phil Buchanan (President, The Center for Effective Philanthropy) to explores how non-profits can leverage data for operational and strategic gains.

A Sea of Data: Sink or Swim?

nc2014-header2Data provides real opportunities to increase efficiency, decision making, and impact. But what if the numbers aren’t relevant? What if the stats are misleading? And what if the sheer amount of data is simply overwhelming such that an organization is swimming in data but unable to stay afloat? Don’t be data rich but information poor. Join us to discuss data sharing and monitoring, as well as the attendant issues of privacy and ethics in a world of big data. 

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.

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.  

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 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.

When Citizens Bypass Government

Gov_logoI contributed an article to the VOICES section of Governing. The article highlights how citizens are bypassing local governments to solve problems within their communities.

Local governments are facing new realities. Citizens' trust in government has declined, and financial constraints do not allow local governments to deliver all of the services their communities would like. In response, citizens are changing as well. Increasingly, local residents and organizations are seizing opportunities to engage with their communities in their own ways by creating platforms that bypass government. Read More

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.