Changeable and fast-moving issues, which are increasingly common in the digital age, demand more flexibility and responsiveness from government as it crafts and implements policy. By borrowing and adapting the “Agile” project management methodology from the dynamic software and start-up worlds, policymakers can thrive in an uncertain environment, increase civic engagement, and improve... Read More
What do government programs reducing chronic malnutrition in Madagascar, boosting innovation in Asia, and increasing enrollment for food stamps in the United States have in common? While working at the World Bank Innovation Lab, I saw policymakers around the world searching for innovative solutions to complex problems affecting their constituencies, and how “design thinking” — a... Read More
Over the past 20 years, increasing momentum has been gathering behind the idea that governments need to apply scientific standards of proof to making decisions about policy. The drive towards evidence-based policymaking is a drive towards a rationalist dream: that hard evidence can remove partisan wrangling from the equation and, instead, turn policymaking into a scientific process,... Read More
Graduation season is approaching, and many students will soon be back in the public sector where they’ll have the opportunity to make meaningful change. I sat down with Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer Nick Sinai, former White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer, for a conversation about what it takes to create real innovation in the public sector.
Beginning in November 2017, some residents in Seoul have moved into a zero energy residential complex called “EZ HOUSE.” Built in Nowon District, this is the first zero energy building (ZEB) residential complex in South Korea that is at the scale of a small village. Tackling energy consumption in buildings will create significant long-term benefits such as lower environmental impacts,... Read More
Aadhaar, Sanskrit for “foundation” or “base,” is a 12-digit unique identity number that has taken India by storm. While Aadhaar is not the first of its kind — it follows other Indian identification schemes such as the Multipurpose National Identity Card and the Smartcard Programme in the state of Andhra Pradesh — it is certainly the most successful. And while Aadhaar has nonetheless... Read More
Financial technology, or fintech, has experienced phenomenal growth in the past few years. In the first half of 2017, global investment in fintech companies reached 293 transactions totaling $8.4 billion. The rise of fintech has given way to new opportunities and alternatives in areas that only a decade ago were monopolized by traditional banks and lenders. However, fintech also presents... Read More
Mexico faces significant challenges in education — one of these is to guarantee decent and good infrastructure in public schools. In the country, 10 percent of the schools lack electricity, in poor states the numbers increase up to 20 or 30 percent. To improve school infrastructure, the federal government launched the program Escuelas al 100 (Schools at 100) in 2014, as a component of the... Read More
For those of us watching from afar as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and most recently Maria tore through both urban and tropical landscapes, turning them into debris-filled rivers infested with balls of angry fire ants, social media quickly put a familiar face to the nightmare unfolding on our TV screens. In the age of Facebook status updates and live Instagram stories, the sight of a... Read More
While technology can be transformative and improve lives, it can also be very disruptive. Some technologies have the potential to change societal norms, norms that we have maintained for decades or even longer. Take the case of Uber, for example, which has completely disrupted the traditional taxi industry. Likewise, Airbnb has been giving the traditional hotel industry a run for its... Read More
The drive for evidence-based decision-making and the need for innovation in government have rapidly accelerated in recent years. Despite overlapping goals, it is not always clear how closely the two agendas are aligned. Is the creation of more and better evidence leading to more innovation? And fundamentally, is all this activity leading to better decision-making in government?