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ASPA 2013 – Collective Intelligence in the Public Sector

aspanew2color2I just returned from the 2013 Annual Conference of the American Society for Public Administration in New Orleans. I participated on a panel titled, Institutionalizing Social Media in the Public Sector, moderated by John Kamensky (IBM Center for the Business of Government). Panelist included: Ines Mergel (Maxwell SchoolSyracuse University), Tanya M. Kelley (Arizona State University), and Sherri R. Greenberg (LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin). My remarks focused on the future of crowdsourcing in the public sector by highlighting four different archetypes of participatory platforms that leverage collective intelligence for solving governance challenges.

Overall, a great experience to network with colleagues, exchange ideas, and enjoy New Orleans!

Baumer Lecture at Ohio State University – Designing Smart Cities

logo-tosusquare-flatI will be visiting The Ohio State University on February 6th, 2013. During my visit, I will deliver a talk as part of the Baumer Lecture Series in Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture. My talk will outline how technologies are changing the face of urbanization. Specifically, I will outline how citizens are leveraging technologies to develop innovations in planning and governance of urban spaces. Due to the democratization of technologies, the availability of open data, and an educated citizenry, we are seeing an unprecedented rate of innovation in the design, planning, and management of our cities today. This talk will draw on my recent research projects on smart cities, citizen apps and urban technologies, big data management, and challenges and competitions for crowdsourcing innovation.

Speaking at the Society for Information Management’s Advanced Practices Council

headerI will be presenting my research on innovation and intrapreneurship to the Advanced Practices Council (APC) of the Society of Information Management. This presentation is based on my recent book, Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas within Your Organization, and will take place in Atlanta, GA on January 22, 2013.

desouzabookAn organization’s ability to compete and continuously renew itself is contingent upon how well it leverages the idea creators in its midst. When organizations fail to leverage their employees' ideas and when employees stumble in their ability to effectively manage those ideas, the loss of energy at all levels – from individuals to organizations and even to society – is tremendous. In this presentation, I will outline how to drive change within organizations through a focus on intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurship-focused organizations give employees resources, time, and budgets to work on their own ideas because they know that creating space for their employees to be inventive may yield the most valuable contributions. Moreover, these organizations do not simply give employees space and then forget about them. They know how to hold employees accountable for their ideas, support employees in their efforts to develop and commercialize ideas, and encourage the intrapreneurial spirit. Drawing on my research and experience consulting with thirty global organizations, I outlines ways to manage all types of ideas, including blockbusters with the potential to create radically new external products and services, and more incremental innovations for improving internal processes. With practical frameworks and real life examples for both employees and managers, I will help you to identify the value in your own ideas and those of others to ultimately benefit your organization. In today’s competitive environment, an organization is only as good as its ability to manage ideas. Successful organizations will be able to design, build, implement, and sustain intrapreneurship processes that are superior to those of their competitors. It is through these processes that organizations will be able to act quickly and effectively to introduce new products and services, avoid blind spots, and attract and retain the best minds around.

My Research Mind – A Little Messy

I have been doing some reflection on my research interests and the connections between the various scientific domains in which I work. I will be on a panel, Working on Mars while Living on Earth - Balancing Demands across Disciplinary Boundaries, with Sandeep Purao (Penn State University), Ajay Vinze (Arizona State University), and Steve Sawyer (Syracuse University) at the 22nd Workshop on Information Systems and Technology where I will share some of my lessons learnt in doing interdisciplinary research and holding academic appointments in various disciplinary units from business schools to information schools and urban studies to public administration.

For a sneak preview here is a graphical description of my research spheres.

Below is a graphical description of my research trajectory mapped across various dimensions.

Recent Visit to IIT-Kanpur – A Summary

Core Team Members (from left to right) Mr. Rahul Yadav, Prof. K.K. Bajpai, Prof. Onkar Dikshit, Prof. Sudhir Misra, Dr. Ralph Hall, Dr. Michael Garvin, Ms. Yehyun An, Dr. Kevin C. Desouza, and Prof. Mukesh Sharma

Ralph Hall has provided a nice summary of our recent visit to IIT Kanpur. I enjoyed my time in Kanpur and look forward to seeing this partnership flourish. To read more about the trip, please click here.

Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative

I will be traveling to India to meet with researchers at IIT Kanpur as part of our project on Sustainable Infrastructure Development that was funded through the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. The project was developed while I was the Director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech along with Ralph Hall and Michael Garvin. I will be presenting a talk on Designing Smart and Resilient Cities while at IIT-Kanpur.

Speaking at NASCIO Leadership Summit – Oct 2012

I will be speaking at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Leadership Summit on Oct 25, 2012 in San Diego, California. My talk will draw on my book, Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas within Your Organization, and focus on how to lead through collaboration.

For more details on the event, please click here: -- NASCIO 2012 Leadership Summit

To have me speak at your event, please send me an email

Getting the Best from Your Employees: Leverage Their Ideas

Have you ever struggled with getting the best from your employees? If you have spent even minimal time managing people, your answer is probably going to be 'yes.' Managers often struggle with getting their employees to give their best or to punch above their weight. This topic has been a focus of many dissertations, books, and pundit advice sessions. Among the multitude of reasons why managers struggle with their employees, I submit one of the most critical: most managers lack capabilities to leverage their employee's ideas. Based on my research and consulting with over 30 global organizations (see Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas Within Your Organization), here are five simple good habits to internalize , if you want to get the best from your employees and their talent.

  • First, design an idea-friendly environment for your employees.
  • Second, be an advocate for your employee's ideas.
  • Third, connect your employee to networks that can harness their ideas.
  • Fourth, collaborate with your employees on experimenting with their ideas.
  • Fifth, mobilize your networks to support the diffusion of your employee's ideas and expertise.
P.S. This is an excerpt of an article that I am writing for a magazine. For more details, send me an email.

Presenting at the NSF Workshop on Participatory Challenge Platforms with a Public Intent

I had a wonderful time exchanging ideas with policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and even students at the NSF Workshop on Participatory Challenge Platforms with a Public Intent put on by the Center for Policy Informatics at Arizona State University. My formal remarks during the workshop drew on research results from our study of Challenge.gov. Since the workshop, I have heard from over 30 managers across the public, non-profit, and even private sectors for copies of the draft report. The feedback on the findings has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope to have a revised draft out for circulation by the end of the month.

See for a press release on the events in D.C. - "ASU Concludes White House Initiative in Nation's Capitol," ASU News, June 12, 2012.