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.
I am heading to Germany for the week. First stop will be in Essen, where I will be deliver two lectures at Hochschule Ruhr West: University of Applied Sciences.
Disentangling Management of Information Systems in the Public Sector
Information systems are critical assets that need to be strategically leveraged in the public sector. Yet, we know little when it comes to IT governance in the public sector. Testament to this statement is the constant barrage of negative press on cyber attacks, to blockbuster IT project failures, and inability to leverage IT for innovation. In this presentation, I will highlight lessons learned from several research projects that have examined management of IS issues in the public sector from performance metrics, to big and open data, cybersecurity, the design and implementation of strategic IS plans, crowdsourcing platforms, and CIOs. These lessons will be framed in the broader context of how we might disentangle complexities associated with the designing, planning, and management strategic information systems in the public sector.
Challenges in Inter-Disciplinary Research: Strategies from Crafting Research Ideas to Publishing.
In this presentation, I will share my experiences in executing inter-disciplinary research projects. Studying complex phenomenon requires us to undertake research that (1) draws on multiple disciplines, (2) engages a diverse group of stakeholders, (3) appreciates a plurality of research approaches, and (4) communicates to a diverse set of audiences. Executing inter-disciplinary research is no easy feat to accomplish. Researchers face daunting challenges from the onset, beginning with the inception of ideas, then continuing to the crafting of problem statements, executing the research process, and communicating the results via publications in academic and practitioner outlets. However, these challenges should not be viewed as an excuse to abandon inter-disciplinary research in favor of narrow-minded and singular research exercises, which reduce complex phenomenon in deterministic fashions so as to arrive at irrelevant solutions. I will present a method (process) for executing inter-disciplinary research that has served me well. Illustrative examples of research projects will be used to exemplify this process and outline strategies for researchers to consider when conducting inter-disciplinary research projects. I will also highlight when it is time to ‘kill’ theories and concepts in order to promote radical innovation.
For more details, see link.
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
My recent post on US federal agencies cybersecurity preparedness on the Brookings Institution's TechTank blog has gotten a lot of attention. Jason Miller hosted me on his show, Ask the CIO, on Federal News Radio. Here is a link to the story and the interview.
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.
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.
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.