Policy Guide on Social Impact Measurement for the Social and Solidarity Economy

OECD Report: “As social and solidarity economy (SSE) entities are increasingly requested to demonstrate their positive contribution to society, social impact measurement can help them understand the additional, net value generated by their activities, in the pursuit of their mission and beyond. Policy plays an important role to facilitate a conducive environment to unlock the uptake of social impact measurement among SSE actors. Drawing on a mapping exercise and good practice examples from over 33 countries, this international policy guide navigates how policy makers can support social impact measurement for the social and solidarity economy by: (i) improving the policy framework, (ii) delivering guidance, (iii) building evidence and (iv) supporting capacity. Building on the earlier publication Social Impact Measurement for the Social and Solidarity Economy released in 2021 the guide is published under the framework of the OECD Global Action “Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems”, funded by the European Union’s Foreign Partnership Instrument…(More)”.

An agenda for advancing trusted data collaboration in cities

Report by Hannah Chafetz, Sampriti Saxena, Adrienne Schmoeker, Stefaan G. Verhulst, & Andrew J. Zahuranec: “… Joined by experts across several domains including smart cities, the law, and data ecosystem, this effort was focused on developing solutions that could improve the design of Data Sharing Agreements…we assessed what is needed to implement each aspect of our Contractual Wheel of Data Collaboration–a tool developed as a part of the Contracts for Data Collaborations initiative that seeks to capture the elements involved in data collaborations and Data Sharing Agreements.

In what follows, we provide key suggestions from this Action Lab…

  1. The Elements of Principled Negotiations: Those seeking to develop a Data Sharing Agreement often struggle to work with collaborators or agree to common ends. There is a need for a common resource that Data Stewards can use to initiate a principled negotiation process. To address this need, we would identify the principles to inform negotiations and the elements that could help achieve those principles. For example, participants voiced a need for fairness, transparency, and reciprocity principles. These principles could be supported by having a shared language or outlining the minimum legal documents required for each party. The final product would be a checklist or visualization of principles and their associated elements.
  2. Data Responsibility Principles by Design: …
  3. Readiness Matrix: 
  4. A Decision Provenance Approach for Data Collaboration: ..
  5. The Contractual Wheel of Data Collaboration 2.0
  6. A Repository of Legal Drafting Technologies:…(More)”.

Atlas of the Senseable City

Book by Antoine Picon and Carlo Ratti: “What have smart technologies taught us about cities? What lessons can we learn from today’s urbanites to make better places to live? Antoine Picon and Carlo Ratti argue that the answers are in the maps we make. For centuries, we have relied on maps to navigate the enormity of the city. Now, as the physical world combines with the digital world, we need a new generation of maps to navigate the city of tomorrow. Pervasive sensors allow anyone to visualize cities in entirely new ways—ebbs and flows of pollution, traffic, and internet connectivity.
This book explores how the growth of digital mapping, spurred by sensing technologies, is affecting cities and daily lives. It examines how new cartographic possibilities aid urban planners, technicians, politicians, and administrators; how digitally mapped cities could reveal ways to make cities smarter and more efficient; how monitoring urbanites has political and social repercussions; and how the proliferation of open-source maps and collaborative platforms can aid activists and vulnerable populations. With its beautiful, accessible presentation of cutting-edge research, this book makes it easy for readers to understand the stakes of the new information age—and appreciate the timeless power of the city….(More)”.

Leveraging alternative data to provide loans to the unbanked

Article by Keely Khoury: “Financial inclusion is integral to the achievement of seven of the 17 global SDGs, and the World Bank says in its 2021 report that between 2011 and 2021, “Great strides have been made toward financial inclusion.” However, despite a significant increase in the number of people accessing bank accounts, around 24 per cent of the global population remain unbanked.  

Particularly for minority groups such as immigrants, the ability to access formal financial services is made exponentially more difficult by their lack of permanent address, loss of employment, and gaps in tax records. For small business owners – many of whom provide an essential community service – a lack of formal accounting records, along with any previous time spent unbanked as individuals, contributes to a dearth of information traditionally used to evaluate risk for loans.  

To tackle this issue, US startup Uplinq provides lenders with a ‘credit-assessment-as-a-service’ solution that takes into account the entire business ecosystem, and therefore billions of data points that would not traditionally be examined by underwriters considering a traditional loan application. From supplier references and store traffic to community involvement and property improvements, Uplinq provides a holistic and accurate assessment of the “opportunities, challenges, and interests of each prospect” within “known confidence ranges.” By working with independently audited and fully regulatory-compliant data sets, Uplinq’s services are available worldwide.  

Other innovations that Springwise has spotted that are helping unbanked communities include a Spanish language-first bank, and a free digital learning platform to help underserved communities understand how to better manage their finances…(More)”.

The Synchronized Society: Time and Control From Broadcasting to the Internet

Book by Randall Patnode: “…traces the history of the synchronous broadcast experience of the twentieth century and the transition to the asynchronous media that dominate today. Broadcasting grew out of the latent desire by nineteenth-century industrialists, political thinkers, and social reformers to tame an unruly society by controlling how people used their time. The idea manifested itself in the form of the broadcast schedule, a managed flow of information and entertainment that required audiences to be in a particular place – usually the home – at a particular time and helped to create “water cooler” moments, as audiences reflected on their shared media texts. Audiences began disconnecting from the broadcast schedule at the end of the twentieth century, but promoters of social media and television services still kept audiences under control, replacing the schedule with surveillance of media use. Author Randall Patnode offers compelling new insights into the intermingled roles of broadcasting and industrial/post-industrial work and how Americans spend their time…(More)”.

Building Trust in AI: A Landscape Analysis of Government AI Programs

Paper by Susan Ariel Aaronson: “As countries around the world expand their use of artificial intelligence (AI), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has developed the most comprehensive website on AI policy, the OECD.AI Policy Observatory. Although the website covers public policies on AI, the author of this paper found that many governments failed to evaluate or report on their AI initiatives. This lack of reporting is a missed opportunity for policy makers to learn from their programs (the author found that less than one percent of the programs listed on the OECD.AI website had been evaluated). In addition, the author found discrepancies between what governments said they were doing on the OECD.AI website and what they reported on their own websites. In some cases, there was no evidence of government actions; in other cases, links to government sites did not work. Evaluations of AI policies are important because they help governments demonstrate how they are building trust in both AI and AI governance and that policy makers are accountable to their fellow citizens…(More)”.

A shift in paradigm? Collaborative public administration in the context of national digitalization strategies

Paper by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Enora Palaric, Maike Rackwitz, and Kai Wegrich: “Despite claims of a paradigmatic shift toward the increased role of networks and partnerships as a form of governance—driven and enabled by digital technologies—the relation of “Networked Governance” with the pre-existing paradigms of “Traditional Weberian Public Administration” and “New Public Management” remains relatively unexplored. This research aims at collecting systematic evidence on the dominant paradigms in digitalization reforms in Europe by comparing the doctrines employed in the initial and most recent digitalization strategies across eight European countries: Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom. We challenge the claim that Networked Governance is emerging as the dominant paradigm in the context of the digitalization of the public sector. The findings confirm earlier studies indicating that information and communication technologies tend to reinforce some traditional features of administration and the recentralization of power. Furthermore, we find evidence of the continued importance of key features of “New Public Management” in the digital era…(More)”.

To harness telecom data for good, there are six challenges to overcome

Blog by Anat Lewin and Sveta Milusheva: “The global use of mobile phones generates a vast amount of data. What good can be done with these data? During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw that aggregated data from mobile phones can tell us where groups of humans are going, how many of them are there, and how they are behaving as a cluster. When used effectively and responsibly, mobile phone data can be immensely helpful for development work and emergency response — particularly in resource-constrained countries.  For example, an African country that had, in recent years, experienced a cholera outbreak was ahead of the game. Since the legal and practical agreements were already in place to safely share aggregated mobile data, accessing newer information to support epidemiological modeling for COVID-19 was a straightforward exercise. The resulting datasets were used to produce insightful analyses that could better inform health, lockdown, and preventive policy measures in the country.

To better understand such challenges and opportunities, we led an effort to access and use anonymized, aggregated mobile phone data across 41 countries. During this process, we identified several recurring roadblocks and replicable successes, which we summarized in a paper along with our lessons learned. …(More)”.

Lisbon’s Citizens’ Council: Embedding Deliberation into Local Governance

Article by Mauricio Mejia: “Lisbon is joining cities like Paris, Bogota, and Milan in establishing new democratic institutions by convening Portugal’s first permanent Citizen Council. In April 2023, a new group of randomly selected citizens will deliberate on how to create a 15-minute city — one where citizens can easily access essential services such as education, health, commerce, culture, or green and leisure spaces.

Lisbon has taken the objective of reinforcing democracy seriously. Citizen participation is the first pillar of its Municipal Plan, intending to build “alternative mechanisms for democratic participation, capable of mobilising people’s knowledge.” To translate this into action, the City established its first Citizens’ Council, a decision-making body that is “representative of Lisbon’s population, while being impartial and independent from political parties.”

Lisbon’s Citizens’ Council is a microcosm of the city’s population

Anyone over 16 years of age who lives, studies, or works in Lisbon is eligible to become a member of the Citizens’ Council. For the first edition, the recruitment process consisted of two stages:

1. Voluntary enrolment to participate in the lottery. This process could be done online or at an in-person kiosk (Lojas Lisboa).

2. Random selection and stratification, using the following criteria: gender, age, academic qualifications, profession, area of residence, work or study, and level of political engagement.

Among the 2351 citizens enrolled, 50 citizens were randomly selected to form a microcosm of Lisbon’s population[i]:

Visual representation of the Council’s members by the gender, age and activity status criteria

Members were accompanied by an ecosystem of public servants, civil society stakeholders, academics, scientists, and experts to ensure deliberation was informed, facilitated, and objective. Participation in the Citizens’ Council was not remunerated, nor involved any financial incentives. However, members could request support to cover meals and transportation. The OECD suggests in its good practice principles for deliberative processes that participation should be encouraged through remuneration, coverage of expenses, and provision of childcare and eldercare…(More)”.

The Right To Be Free From Automation

Essay by Ziyaad Bhorat: “Is it possible to free ourselves from automation? The idea sounds fanciful, if not outright absurd. Industrial and technological development have reached a planetary level, and automation, as the general substitution or augmentation of human work with artificial tools capable of completing tasks on their own, is the bedrock of all the technologies designed to save, assist and connect us. 

From industrial lathes to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, automation is one of the most groundbreaking achievements in the history of humanity. As a consequence of the human ingenuity and imagination involved in automating our tools, the sky is quite literally no longer a limit. 

But in thinking about our relationship to automation in contemporary life, my unease has grown. And I’m not alone — America’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and the European Union’s GDPR both express skepticism of automated tools and systems: The “use of technology, data and automated systems in ways that threaten the rights of the American public”; the “right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing.” 

If we look a little deeper, we find this uneasy language in other places where people have been guarding three important abilities against automated technologies. Historically, we have found these abilities so important that we now include them in various contemporary rights frameworks: the right to work, the right to know and understand the source of the things we consume, and the right to make our own decisions. Whether we like it or not, therefore, communities and individuals are already asserting the importance of protecting people from the ubiquity of automated tools and systems.

Consider the case of one of South Africa’s largest retailers, Pick n Pay, which in 2016 tried to introduce self-checkout technology in its retail stores. In post-Apartheid South Africa, trade unions are immensely powerful and unemployment persistently high, so any retail firm that wants to introduce technology that might affect the demand for labor faces huge challenges. After the country’s largest union federation threatened to boycott the new Pick n Pay machines, the company scrapped its pilot. 

As the sociologist Christopher Andrews writes in “The Overworked Consumer,” self-checkout technology is by no means a universally good thing. Firms that introduce it need to deal with new forms of theft, maintenance and bottleneck, while customers end up doing more work themselves. These issues are in addition to the ill fortunes of displaced workers…(More)”.