I am visiting Victoria University of Wellington's School of Government this week. During my visit, I will deliver a presentation on strategic management of information systems in the public sector. I will also meet with faculty and staff to learn more about the various academic and research programs with the School of Government and the Victoria Business School.
I co-designed a new project for the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution along with my colleague Gregory Dawson. Ideas to Retire is a TechTank series of blog posts. These posts identify outdated practices in public sector IT management and suggest new ideas for improved outcomes. I am happy to report that the series launched today! You can find the introduction here. We will be featuring two ideas a week for the next 10 weeks.
Of the first two ideas featured, one is by James Keene (City Manager, Palo Alto, CA) co-authored with Jonathan Reichental (CIO, City of Palo Alto, CA). You can read about their idea here. The second idea is from David Bray (CIO, FCC).
Stay tuned for contributions from several other luminaries including Steve Kelman (Harvard University), John L. King (University of Michigan), Ramayya Krishnan (Carnegie Mellon University), Dan Chenok (IBM), Alfred Ho (University of Kansas), Jane Fountain (University of Massachusetts), Marc Ott (City Manager, Austin, TX), Neal Myrick (Tableau Foundation), Ellen Lettvin (US Department of Education), Richard T. Watson (University of Georgia), José Esteves (IE Business School), and Jonathan Liebenau (London School of Economics), Phil Howard (University of Washington), among others.
Thanks to all contributors that participated in this project!
Creating a Balanced Portfolio of Information Technology Metrics
Information technology has made possible the availability of real-time data and the tools to display that data, such as dashboards, scorecards, and heat maps. This has boosted the use of data and evidence by government decision makers in meeting their agency and program missions. But what about the use of performance metrics by agency chief information officers themselves?
Typically, CIOs have a good inventory of metrics regarding the performance of their technical infrastructure, such as server down time. Metrics on non-technical elements, however — such as innovation capacity of the IT department and the health of the overall IT organization — are in earlier stages of development. These metrics are critical for CIOs to effectively manage their IT departments, and to convey the strategic value of IT capabilities for attaining agency-wide objectives.
A balanced portfolio of metrics are needed: for project management, for operations management, and for innovation. Based on interviews with over two dozen seasoned government CIOs, the report identifies illustrative metrics that CIOs might consider adopting and offers a set of recommendation for how CIOs might go about designing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of their metrics initiatives.
I am looking forward to my visit to the University of Wollongong. On Wed, June 10, I will deliver a research presentation at the School of Management, Operations, and Marketing on IT Experiments for Social Good. I will highlight ongoing research projects on how information technology (IT) can be used to solve some of the pressing global and public challenges from combating human trafficking to urbanization and sustainability. I will discuss these projects as learning experiments that are focused on creating applied IT solutions while furthering evidence-driven policy design, implementation, and evaluation.
Today, 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.
It has been a busy few weeks, so here are some research updates:
- Dashboards and IT Departments in Governing
- Citizen Disengagement and Local Governments in PM Magazine
- Several blog posts @TechTank, Brookings Institution
- Spoke at Center for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO) on Delivering Practical Solutions on Urban Problems (2.12.2015)
- Briefed the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) Security & Privacy Committee on Cybersecurity (3.17.2015)
- Cybersecurity Interview on Federal News Radio (Show: In Depth with Francis Rose) (3.18.2015)
- Joined the Center for Science, Technology & Environmental Policy Studies, Arizona State University
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.
I will be heading to Auckland, New Zealand for the International Conference on Information Systems. First, I will be attending the AIS Council meetings for two days prior to the conference. I serve as the VP of Communication for the Association for Information Systems.
Second, I will participate as a faculty mentor for the Mid-Career Consortium.
Third, during the conference I will participate on the AIS Grand Vision for ICT-enabled Bright Society panel along with my colleagues - Helmut Krcmar - Technische Universität München; Jae Kyu Lee - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; Jane Fedorowicz - Bentley University; Ramayya Krishnan - Carnegie Mellon University.
Global societal knowledge infrastructures and communication platforms have made life and business more efficient and effective. However, many serious side effects have emerged alongside these ICT platforms, imperiling the future of this foundation. AIS is developing an initiative to investigate these problems and to envision the future of an ICT-enabled Bright Society. The initiative will encompass the development of relevant technologies, business models, public policies, social norms, international agreements, metrics of measuring national progress, and so forth. This endeavor will create many research opportunities to make AIS research outcomes more available to and significant for society.
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 Description: 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.
Data 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 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.