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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.

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.

Talks in Norway – BI, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology, and SINTEF

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.

imagesDisastrous 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.

ntnuI 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).

sintefDuring 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.

Big Data goes to Germany and Slovenia

fis tumI will be giving two talks this week on my Big Data report. The first presentation will take place at the Fakultät für InformatikTechnische Universität München on March 12 (See here for more details). I will then fly to Slovenia to give a talk at the Faculty of Information Studies in Slovenia on March 14.

Belarus Authorities’ Counter-Revolutionary ICTs Tactics: 2001-2010

EAStudies Volodymyr Lysenko (University of Washington) and I have a paper accepted in Europe-Asia Studies.

Belarus authorities’ counter-revolutionary tactics related to information and communication technologies in 2001-2010: lessons learned

Information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled revolutionary tactics play an important role in uprisings against non-democratic regimes worldwide. Up to now, a critical understanding of how authorities in those countries employ ICT-based counter-revolutionary measures has been missing. In this paper we examine the evolution of ICT-based counterrevolutionary tactics employed by one of the most ingrained authoritarian regimes—that of Belarus—through the last decade (2001-2010). The political opposition’s responses to the authorities’ countermeasures are also investigated, followed by an analysis of the co-evolution of these opponents’ ICT-related tactics. We suggest that use of ICT (by both sides) was not among the main factors leading to Belarus’ failed colour revolution. Rather, factors such as miscalculations on the side of the opposition; effective preemption by authorities; collaboration with foreign regimes by the authorities; and harsh physically oppressive measures by the authorities played the main part. Based on these conclusions, implications for the general theoretical framework of political cyberprotest in the former USSR are discussed. Finally, practical suggestions for the improvement of dissenters’ use of ICT during major political cyberprotest are provided.

Realizing the Promise of Big Data – IBM Center for the Business of Government

IBMRealizing the Promise of Big Data: Implementing Big Data Projects was published today by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Big data is a new frontier for the public sector. It has captured the attention of public managers across the globe. Agencies realize that their datasets represent critical resources that need to be managed and leveraged. Public sector use of big data and big data analytics is wide-ranging; some organizations have no experience with big data, while others have taken on small to moderate-sized projects. Drawing on interviews with chief information officers (CIOs) from every level of government (federal, state, and local), this report presents implementation steps grouped by the phases of a big data project:

  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Implementation

In the next few years, nearly all public agencies will grapple with how to integrate their disparate data sources, build analytical capacities, and move toward a data-driven decision-making environment. Big data is increasing in importance for public agencies, and big data programs are expected to become more prominent in the near future. Through the use of big data, analytics now holds great promise for increasing the efficiency of operations, mitigating risks, and increasing citizen engagement and public value.

This is my second report published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government. To read my previous report on Challenge.Gov: Using Competitions and Awards to Spur Innovation, please click here.