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.
I 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.
Rashmi 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.
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.
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.
Technology-Enabled Participatory Platforms for Civic Engagement:
The Case of US Cities
Technology-enabled participatory platforms are proving to be valuable canvases for engaging citizens in solving public good challenges. Citizens are playing a more active role by either designing platforms themselves or participating on platforms created by public agencies. Unfortunately, our theoretical knowledge about the nature of these platforms is limited. In this paper, we take the first steps towards understanding technology-enabled participatory platforms. Through an exploratory analysis, following the spirit of a grounded theoretic methodology, we examined technology-enabled participatory platforms in the 25 most populated cities in the US. We deduce four main archetypes – citizen centric and citizen data, citizen centric and government data, government centric and citizen data, and government centric and citizen developed solutions of technology-enabled participatory platforms. We describe the intricacies of how collective intelligence is leveraged on these platforms. Implications for local government managers and urban planners are discussed. We hypothesize how the future of these platforms might evolve in the not so distant future.
This is our second paper in the Journal of Urban Technology, to read our first paper, please click here.
For a third year in a row, I have been fortunate to receive a grant from the IBM Center for the Business of Government.
Measuring IT Value in the Public Sector: Designing Metrics and Dashboards
IT investments are varied, unique, and integral to all efforts including service delivery, citizen engagement, and running of internal business processes. While it is commonly accepted that IT investments have organizational value, quantifying the value impact of IT remains elusive. Metrics can be a powerful mechanism for agencies to assess and achieve their goals in an intelligent, evidence-driven manner. They offer agencies the ability to identify problems, target issues, evaluate processes, establish performance goals, monitor efforts and communicate results. This report will study how CIOs employ metrics for evaluating IT investments and projects, and can communicate the value of IT to stakeholders both within and beyond their agency.
Past reports published my the IBM Center for the Business of Government
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.
Starting on Thursday, I will be visiting Norway to give several invited lectures. My first stop will be at the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo. I will be delivering my talk to the Leadership and Organizational Behaviour group.
Disastrous Large-Scale Technology Projects in the Public Sector: Unpacking Complexity
I will examine what accounts for ‘complexity’ when we consider large-scale technology projects in the public sector. There are several examples of such projects from the IRS Business Systems Modernization to the Seattle Monorail Project and, most recently, healthcare.gov. Complexity could arise from the ‘public’ nature of these efforts. Issues to be considered include: the ability to manage expectations of a diverse stakeholder population, the lack of capabilities when it comes to IT management and governance, the fact that these projects are laden with a higher-level of risk from the start as the efforts have a higher degree of innovativeness, setting up of false expectations, escalation of commitments, etc. The paper develops a series of propositions based on data drawn from cases of large-scale technology projects that have turned out to be disasters. A theoretical model is put forth for consideration.
I will then head up to Trondheim, where I will deliver a talk to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The talk titled, Data Governance versus Big Computation: Tortoise and the Hare, draws on my current work on big data and analytics for the public good.
Over the last few years, we have certainly seen a flurry of activity around big data. Widespread efforts by a number of academic communities – including computer science, engineering, mathematics, and statistics - have led to advancements in how we capture, store, analyze, visualize, and apply big data. Unfortunately, these advancements have not kept up with innovations in data governance. Deficiencies in data governance limit our ability to truly take advantage of computational advances. In this talk, I will highlight challenges and opportunities in data governance in the context of big data. I will draw on illustrative examples from my work in big data in the public sector and from tackling social challenges (e.g. countering human trafficking).
During my visit to Trondheim, I will also spend time with researchers at SINTEF, the largest independent research organization in
Scandinavia, discussing issues of knowledge management and process improvement in the context of software engineering systems and organizations.