The US Agency for International Development and the UK Department for International Development are among the major donors to a new development impact bond (DIB) that focuses on poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa. The DIB is a results-based financing model involving up-front capital for an intervention implemented by an NGO service provider. Investors are then paid based on measurable results by an outcome payor; in this case, the US and UK development agencies have created an outcomes fund that will pay the investors if the service provider meets its goals. This DIB will support Village Enterprise, an NGO that works to foster entrepreneurship and innovation to address poverty. There is thought to be only two other active DIBs worldwide.
Rhode Island recently completed its inaugural "Innovation League" program, a nine-month initiative in which 16 mid-level managers from agencies across the state spend one day a week together at the state Office of Innovation to search for mutually beneficial processes and new insights. Created in the mold of Google's 20 percent initiative, which gives employees 20 percent of their time to work on their own projects that will best benefit the company, the Innovation League seeks to help managers work across their various silos 4–5 days per month, engaging in conversations and coming up with cross-functional solutions to collective problems. Those managers then return to their agencies as ambassadors for new approaches. The first cohort was deemed such a success that more departments are sending their employees for the next round.
In a bid to make bus service more efficient and rider-friendly, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority has committed to institute systemwide “all-door” boarding by 2020. The move comes on the heels of a successful two-week pilot that allowed passengers to board through all three doors on one bus line if they did not need to pay cash. Faster trips not only ensure reliability and reduce delays, but also enable buses to run more frequently, spurring enthusiasm for increased bus ridership. Although prevalent in other countries, San Francisco is the only other major US city to have implemented all-door boarding across its system.
Hennepin County, Minnesota, has entered the third year of its “Infant Court” pilot, part of a larger initiative to ensure that parents of young children who are in the child protection system because of allegations of abuse and neglect are improving their parenting skills and the bond with their children. Resembling the county’s Drug Court and Veterans Court, the Infant Court brings together the courts, social workers, and clinicians on a holistic basis to handle cases, maintaining the continuity needed to ensure that all participants are working together to achieve the best outcome for babies. The Infant Court is part of a three-year, $1 million proactive “Infant Team” trial in the county. Observers note that investing in the earliest years of life to prevent abuse reduces the economic and social costs that mount when traumatized children end up in the foster care or juvenile court systems.
In the wake of the mass shooting from a Las Vegas hotel room, for which the shooter brought almost two dozen guns into his suite, the New York Police Department is training hotel staff how to spot gun cases and suspicious behavior by their guests. The NYPD Intelligence Bureau already routinely works with hotel housekeepers and security staff due to their unique positions to observe when a guest’s behavior raises an alarm.
The Dutch city of Tilburg wants to empower those with limited mobility, and increase their safety, by providing them with a smartphone app that alters crossing times at traffic lights. At a crossing, a sensor in the lights scans the pavement on either side of the junction. If it detects a person with limited mobility is waiting when the button is pressed, then the time for which the green light is illuminated is adjusted according to the user's level of mobility. The 10-person pilot, which is part of a larger urban planning project to make the city’s roads more pedestrian- and cycle-friendly, is due to be assessed this fall.