Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: A Maturity Model

The IBM Center for the Business of Government released my new report today.

Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: A Maturity Model

The technology is revolutionizing the way we derive value and insights from data in order to improve our daily lives. In addition, governments gather a treasure trove of pertinent data that can be used to execute important missions and improve services to the citizen. An effective AI program can greatly enhance the ability of the public sector to deliver on that promise.

The challenge has always been to design and implement an AI program that has all the critical elements in place to successfully achieve the goal of improved mission delivery and citizen services. An initial report commissioned by the IBM Center for The Business of Government, Delivering Artificial Intelligence in Government: Challenges and Opportunities, proposed an initial maturity model that gave public agencies a starting point for developing an AI capability. Subsequently, we have had the opportunity to fine tune the model, based on extensive research on how the public sector was deploying AI, documenting successful use cases and highlighting pitfalls and lessons learned.

The revised maturity model was shared with experienced public sector practitioners and feedback from these discussions led to a further revision. The revised model was then shared with a final group of reviewers that included public sector executives (both within and beyond the information systems domain), academics, and consultants.

We hope that this report provides public sector leaders a view into the “art of the possible” by emphasizing how AI programs can accelerate the transformation of government programs to better serve the public and by providing them a framework for establishing a successful AI program. We will continue to explore this topic and will provide further updates as the use of AI in the public sector continues to evolve.

To access the report, please click [Report]

A blog post on the report by Margie Graves (Visiting Fellow, IBM Center for the Business of Government, former Deputy Federal CIO for the Office of Management and Budget) is available here: [Post]

What are the key factors affecting smart city transformation readiness? Evidence from Australian cities

New paper co-authored with Tan Yigitcanlar, Kenan Degirmenci, and Luke Butler published in Cities.

Transformation into a prosperous smart city has become an aspiration for many local governments across the globe. Despite its growing importance, smart city transformation readiness is still an understudied area of research. In order to bridge this knowledge gap, this paper identifies the key factors affecting smart city transformation readiness in the context of Australian cities. The empirical investigation conducted in this study places Australian local government areas (n = 180) under the smart city microscope to quantitatively evaluate, through a multiple regression analysis, the key factors affecting their urban smartness levels—a proxy used for smart city transformation readiness. The findings disclose that the following factors determine about two-thirds (65%) of the smart city transformation readiness: (a) Close distance to domestic airport; (b) Low remoteness value; (c) High population density; (d) Low unemployment level, and; (e) High labour productivity. The study findings and generated insights inform urban policymakers, managers and planners on their policy, planning and practice decisions concerning smart cities.

To access the paper, please click [LINK]

What Explains Governments Interest in Artificial Intelligence?

New paper co-authored with Samar Fatima, Greg Dawson, and Jim Denford published in Economic Analysis & Policy

Since 2015, several countries have shown significant interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and have released national-level AI strategic plans. These plans reflect the country’s rationale for embarking on AI. To identify what factors influence the AI approach of a country, this study employs signaling theory to decode strategic national AI plans and understand each country’s rationale. The study adapts the typology of signals and plots AI information given in national AI plans (AI-enabled public services, research, data, algorithmic ethics, governance) in a matrix of intentionality and veracity considering socio-economic and political conditions. Our findings indicate that countries with high democracy scores are more likely than less democratic countries to prioritize ethical and governance issues of AI, however, this is more pronounced in democratic countries with a lower technology base. The results also suggest that advanced research capability and data accessibility for AI is a precondition to developing a nationwide AI system.

To access the paper, please click [LINK]

Will AI ever sit at the C-suite table? The future of senior leadership

Graeme J. Watson, Vincent M. Ribiere, JakaLindi? and I have an article accepted in Business Horizons.

As the sophistication of artificial intelligence (AI) systems develop and AI becomes a key element of organizational strategy across a wide spectrum of industries, new demands are being placed on senior leaders. To understand the growing challenges leaders will face in the age of AI, we conducted interviews with 33 senior leaders in several countries across a wide range of industries. Our research highlights key capabilities and skills that leaders will require. Underlying these capabilities is a mindset oriented toward continuous learning and self-development, which will enable ongoing and rapid adaptation to change. Our findings identified the following key capabilities: digital know-how, data-driven focus, networking, ethics, and agility. To successfully navigate the coming era, senior leaders will need to focus on reskilling the workforce, recruiting and retaining highly skilled talent, building an intrapreneurial culture, and managing unprecedented changes in technologies and the nature of work.

To access the article [LINK]

Smart Governance in the Contemporary Era: Journal of Urban Affairs

Naim Kapucu (University of Central Florida), Jiannan Wu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), and I have co-edited a special issue of Journal of Urban Affairs on smart governance in the contemporary era.

In the 21st century, we have seen an increase in activity around making cities “smarter” and “intelligent” through the creative application of information systems. In an ideal world, a smarter (and intelligent) city should be able to leverage data in real time to increase its situational awareness, thereby enabling effective and efficient decision-making at the individual, organizational, and collective levels to advance its goals of resilience, sustainability, and livability. From a design, planning, policy, and implementation perspective, however, our theoretical and empirical knowledge on smart cities is limited. One reason for this is the simple fact that the term smart city is nebulous. Some use the term smart city to highlight advances in sustainability and greening of the city, while others use the term to portray infusion of information via technologies to better the lives of citizens that reside in these spaces. Even others consider the presence of a high level of citizen engagement in the design and governance of the space as a key attribute of smarter cities. It is our pleasure to put forth five papers as part of this special issue on smart governance across cities in the contemporary era. The papers provide guidelines for cities to consider for designing and managing smart communities.

To access the issue, please click [LINK]

Transforming public records management – JASIST

Paula Dootson, Mary Tate, and Peter Townson and I have an article in the current issue of Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). 

Transforming public records management: Six key insights

Records management in the public sector is integral for delivering public good. However, several institutional challenges inhibit the required implementation of innovative and information?centric tools to transform records management in response to the challenges of digitization and to capitalize on new opportunities in the digital economy. In this article, we make recommendations to overcome institutional and legislative barriers to transform records management in the public sector.

To access the article, please click [LINK]

Urban Heat Islands – Sustainable Cities and Society

Kenan Degirmenci, Walter Fieuw, Richard T. Watson, Tan Yigitcanlar, and I have an article in Sustainable Cities and Society.

Policy and technology responses to increased temperatures in urban heat islands (UHIs) are discussed in a variety of research; however, their interaction is overlooked and understudied. This is an important oversight because policy and technology are often developed in isolation of each other and not in conjunction. Therefore, they have limited synergistic effects when aimed at solving global issues. To examine this aspect, we conducted a systematic literature review and synthesised 97 articles to create a conceptual structuring of the topic. We identified the following categories: (a) evidence base for policymaking including timescale analysis, effective policymaking instruments as well as decision support and scenario planning; (b) policy responses including landscape and urban form, green and blue area ratio, albedo enhancement policies, transport modal split as well as public health and participation; (c) passive technologies including green building envelopes and development of cool surfaces; and (d) active technologies including sustainable transport as well as energy consumption, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and waste heat. Based on the findings, we present a framework to guide future research in analysing UHI policy and technology responses more effectively in conjunction with each other.

To access the article, click [LINK]

Value–Based Guiding Principles for Managing Cognitive Computing Systems in the Public Sector

Cognitive Computing Systems (CCSs) are increasing in prominence in the public sector. This paper develops a framework drawing on public value and information technology service management literature to guide the management of CCSs in the public sector. We draw on academic literature, gray literature, legislation and government reports, and examples on CCS initiatives in the public sector to develop insights for research and practice. We then outline the themes and present the insights in the form of guiding principles and specific (detailed) recommendations. These include guiding principles and recommendations for establishing legitimacy, understanding the required capabilities, executing capabilities, creating and measuring public value.

Journal: Public Performance & Management Review

Co-authors: Tendai MakasiAlireza Nili, and Mary Tate

To access the article, please click here.