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Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency. It allows individuals to digitally generate currency through ‘mining’ — a process that leverages the individual’s computational power to solve algorithms (a short video summarizing ‘mining’ can be viewed here). ‘Miners’ are rewarded for their... Read More

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It is 1943 and two scientists are hard at work. One is Willem Kolff, the other is Robert Oppenheimer; one the father of artificial organs, the other the mastermind of the atomic bomb. Thousands of miles between Kolff’s research center in a small Medieval Dutch town and Oppenheimer’s top-secret laboratory in a hidden Los Alamos plateau, the... Read More

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Whenever talking about governments in China, it's quite easy for friends from western leading democracies to think of words like "undemocratic" or "totalitarian." Indeed, I cannot argue these tags are absolutely wrong. However, as a Chinese student having worked in local governance innovation, especially in the education arena, I witnessed the... Read More

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In 2015, the City of San José, CA joined a growing list of US cities implementing a Vision Zero initiative, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero through education, enforcement and engineering. During the same year, there were 60 traffic related fatalities in San Jose, the highest annual total in more than 20 years. With a population... Read More

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Data-driven policy. Managing for results. Evidence-based programming. We hear these phrases in the policy community constantly but what do they mean? And, when did this drive for evidence become so popular among social scientists and policymakers? The policy community uses all three phrases above to refer to data collection systems that allow... Read More

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When you think of human-centered design, you may not immediately think of the US federal government utilizing such a progressive approach, but it is starting to take hold. Human-centered design is the process of improving the delivery of services or a product by focusing on the needs of the customer. Problem-solving is therefore approached from... Read More

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How governments are partnering with Waze to share data and reduce traffic. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard and left damage and chaos in its wake. The response plan of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) included delivering fuel to lessen the widespread gas shortages, but they had no easy way to determine... Read More

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How well do you know your city? Your neighborhood? Even your block? When it comes to public information, it’s a simple question without a simple answer. Even with open data portals available in most major cities, it can be a challenge to find specific or relevant data in a sea of online lists, tables, and spreadsheets. Chicago’s new OpenGrid... Read More

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In January 2015, we piloted a new type of “Senior Fellowship” program, a six-month partnership where one alumni Fellow worked with the City to develop new approaches and tools to support deep and broad community engagement. During this project, the City of Boulder and Code for America partnered on “Housing Boulder,” the community engagement... Read More

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Given New York City’s status as one of the world’s great cities, I was surprised to learn how inequitable broadband access is across its five boroughs. Recent analysis by the city's Center for Economic Opportunity found that 22 percent of New York City households do not have Internet service at home, and more than one-third of households below... Read More

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In theory, data-driven government and performance management should be widespread in local government, given the abundance of technology available and the clear interest in running the most efficient and effective operations. In practice, it’s not, at least not here in Massachusetts. Public works provides a clear example. Elected officials and... Read More

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Growing up in Los Angeles, I gave little thought to the impact of government services in my life and in the lives of 9.8 million other residents across the nation’s largest county and second-largest city. My interest in public service led me through numerous consulting engagements with state and federal agencies, and national nonprofits and... Read More

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