From "City Hall Shuffle" To Smart City Governance

NYC_311.jpgAs I’ve been researching my upcoming report on smart city governance, the topic of integrated customer call centers keeps cropping up.  What is 3-1-1, and what does it mean for city governance?

In the US, the telephone number 3-1-1 was reserved by the FCC for non-emergency calls in 2003, and cities and counties across the country have since implemented comprehensive call centers to facilitate the delivery of information and services, as well as encourage feedback from citizens.  Access has since extended beyond just the phone to include access through government websites, mobile phones, and even social media tools such as Twitter or applications such as SeeClickFix or Hey Gov.

As a means of background, 3-1-1 services are generally implemented at the local level – primarily at the city or county level – with examples of calls including requests for:

  • snow removal
  • dead animal removal
  • street light replacement
  • pot hole filling

Or the reporting of:

  • missed garbage collection
  • debris in roadways
  • noise complaints
  • parking issues
  • traffic light malfunctioning

Or basic inquiries about:

  • location and hours of libraries
  • registration for parks and recreation programs
  • animal services
  • building permit
  • property taxes
  • upcoming local events
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Sputnik Moments Drive Education Investment: Good News for Tech Vendors

“Winning the Future” was the theme of the recent US State of the Union address.  With the global economy and new education performance rankings as our “sputnik moment,” the president urged Congress to invest in the future – and in education.  As put it in the speech,

Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success.  But if we want to win the future -– if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas -– then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

So what exactly was the sputnik moment, or one of them?  In the recently released OECD Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings, the US didn’t do so well.  US students were average performers in reading (rank 14 in OECD) and science (rank 17) but well the below the OECD average in mathematics (rank 25).  The new top fliers in the PISA study are: Shanghai, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Finland, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.

According to the OECD report,

Education is the single most critical investment to raise the long-run growth potential of countries. In the global economy, the performance of education systems is the yardstick for success, particularly in light of the fundamental technological and demographic challenges that are re-shaping our economies.

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Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Inclusion... and Education helps get there from Davos 2011

If you haven’t read George’s notes from Davos 2011 yet, definitely take a look.  I too have been thinking about the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos  – but not attending… maybe someday…

Education has been top of mind for me lately with my upcoming report scheduled to launch this week (stay tuned).  So, as I looked through the notes and quotes from the meeting I was heartened to see that education was top of mind there as well.  Education and education reform certainly peppered the program, part of sessions on everything from new realities and inclusive growth, to women and society, national innovation, the net generation, cancer, regional development, cloud economics , entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and the ageing workforce.

Some of the questions addressed – and to which education and investment in education in particular was often a solution – included:

  • If structural change is a new reality, then what major adjustments should leaders prepare for, and how?
  • How can educating and empowering girls and women impact the acute challenges facing the world?
  • How are national innovation systems created and maintained?
  • In the digital era, how is the "net generation" workforce reshaping the future of business?
  • What innovations, if scaled or replicated, would enable the Middle East to achieve its geopolitical, economic and social aspirations for the future?
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