Understanding Smart Data Disclosure Policy Success: The Case of Green Button


New Paper by Djoko Sigit Sayogo and Theresa Pardo: “Open data policies are expected to promote innovations that stimulate social, political and economic change. In pursuit of innovation potential, open datahas expanded to wider environment involving government, business and citizens. The US government recently launched such collaboration through a smart data policy supporting energy efficiency called Green Button. This paper explores the implementation of Green Button and identifies motivations and success factors facilitating successful collaboration between public and private organizations to support smart disclosure policy. Analyzing qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with experts involved in Green Button initiation and implementation, this paper presents some key findings. The success of Green Button can be attributed to the interaction between internal and external factors. The external factors consist of both market and non-market drivers: economic factors, technology related factors, regulatory contexts and policy incentives, and some factors that stimulate imitative behavior among the adopters. The external factors create the necessary institutional environment for the Green Button implementation. On the other hand, the acceptance and adoption of Green Button itself is influenced by the fit of Green Button capability to the strategic mission of energy and utility companies in providing energy efficiency programs. We also identify the different roles of government during the different stages of Green Button implementation.”
[Recipient of Best Management/Policy Paper Award, dgo2013]

ICANN Strategy Panels Launched


ICANN PressRelease: “During today’s opening ceremony of ICANN 47 in Durban, South Africa, President and CEO Fadi Chehadé announced the creation of five new ICANN Strategy Panels that will serve as an integral part of a framework for cross-community dialogue on strategic matters. The ICANN Strategy Panels will convene subject matter experts, thought leaders and industry practitioners to support development of ICANN‘s strategic and operational plans, in coordination with many other global players, and will be comprised of up to seven members including the chair for an anticipated one-year timeframe…
In its fourteen-year history, ICANN has grown to reflect a changing landscape of continued innovation, interconnectedness, and unprecedented growth in the DNS ecosystem, one that transcends groups and borders to serve the public interest. Yet, the Internet is at a critical inflection point as billions of new people are expected to join the global network in the next few years and as the nature of its usage matures dramatically. With this in mind, the ICANN Strategy Panels are expected to help catalyze transformation and advance ICANN‘s role in the context of a dynamic, increasingly complex global environment.”
See also Learning by Doing: The GovLab’s Living Labs

Why we should welcome a G8 Open Data Charter


Martin Tisné, Director of Policy at Omidyar Network, in The Telegraph: “Trust in government has rarely been at a lower ebb. Citizens in developed and developing countries alike feel increasingly disconnected from the political process and their political leaders. They complain of having too little influence over decisions, too little access to government information and too little control over their own data.

In such an environment, suspicion and anger can erupt as we have seen across the world, most recently in Istanbul’s Taksim square.
At the same time, governments are operating in very challenging circumstances. They have to meet rising expectations from their citizens with, thanks to the impact of the global financial crisis, often severely reduced revenues. They also face a whole range of pressures which will make bridging this gap ever more difficult. There has never been a greater need for open and honest dialogue.
There is no single answer to these concerns. But it is clear that opening up government data must be a major element of the answer. Open data has enormous potential to drive economic growth and spread prosperity. It improves accountability, strengthens governance, builds trust and drives innovation in both the private sector and the delivery of key public services.
There are already many examples from around the world that these benefits are already being delivered. In the UK, Mastodon C, a start-up incubated by the Open Data Institute, used open data on prescriptions by GPs to show that the NHS could have saved over £200 million by prescribing generic drugs instead of their more expensive patented equivalents.

In India, the technology platform I Paid A Bribe enables citizens to publicly log whenever they have been shaken down for a bribe. In Mexico, Compara Tu Escuela (Check Your School) empowers parents by providing them directly with information on school performance.
We all benefit as citizens and consumers, as economies and societies, if we get this right. It is why the expected decision by the G8 countries to adopt an Open Data Charter at the G8 summit in Lough Erne is so important.”

Is Cybertopianism Really Such a Bad Thing?


in Slate: “As the historian and technology scholar Langdon Winner suggests, “The arrival of any new technology that has significant power and practical potential always brings with it a wave of visionary enthusiasm that anticipates the rise of a utopian social order.” Technologies that connect individuals to one another—like the airplane, the telegraph, and the radio—appear particularly powerful at helping us imagine a smaller, more connected world. Seen through this lens, the Internet’s underlying architecture—it is no more and no less than a network that connects networks—and the sheer amount written about it in the past decade guaranteed that the network would be placed at the center of visions for a world made better through connection. These visions are so abundant that they’ve even spawned a neologism: “cyberutopianism.”

The term “cyberutopian” tends to be used only in the context of critique. Calling someone a cyberutopian implies that he or she has an unrealistic and naïvely overinflated sense of what technology makes possible and an insufficient understanding of the forces that govern societies. Curiously, the commonly used term for an opposite stance, a belief that Internet technologies are weakening society, coarsening discourse, and hastening conflict is described with a less weighted term: “cyberskepticism.” Whether or not either of these terms adequately serves us in this debate, we should consider cyberutopianism’s appeal, and its merits….

If we reject the notion that technology makes certain changes inevitable, but accept that the aspirations of the “cyberutopians” are worthy ones, we are left with a challenge: How do we rewire the tools we’ve built to maximize our impact on an interconnected world? Accepting the shortcomings of the systems we’ve built as inevitable and unchangeable is lazy. As Benjamin Disraeli observed in Vivian Grey, “Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.” And, as Rheingold suggests, believing that people can use technology to build a world that’s more just, fair, and inclusive isn’t merely defensible. It’s practically a moral imperative.


Excerpted from Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection by Ethan Zuckerman.

Smart Citizen Kit enables crowdsourced environmental monitoring


Emma Hutchings at PSFK: “The Smart Citizen Kit is a crowdsourced environmental monitoring platform. By scattering devices around the world, the creators hope to build a global network of sensors that report local environmental conditions like CO and NO2 levels, light, noise, temperature and humidity.
Organized by the Fab Lab at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, a team of scientists, architects, and engineers are paving the way to humanize environmental monitoring. The open-source platform consists of arduino-compatible hardware, data visualization web API and a mobile app. Users are invited to take part in the interactive global environmental database, visualizing their data and comparing it with others around the world.”
Smart Citizen Kit Calls For Environmental Monitoring

Don’t Reengineer. Reimagine.


Jeff Schumacher, Simon MacGibbon, and Sean Collins in Strategy + Business: “What does it mean to become digital? Companies in all industries are building online businesses, enabling new customer experiences, experimenting with “big data,” and seeking advantage in a digitally enabled business environment. They have tried reengineering their practices; they have set up new technological platforms for customer engagement and back-office efficiency. But these efforts have not yet had the impact that they should. Instead of reengineering, they need reimagining. They need to conceive of their business freshly, in line with the capabilities that digital and business technologies can give them, connecting to customers in ways that have not been possible before….
The third principle of digitization involves taking the long view, even as you build for today. You can no longer succeed with a digital strategy based only on today’s technology and competitive environment. Nor is it enough to merely ideate about future developments. Companies must take actions now that prepare them for the disruptive opportunities and evolving platforms of the next few years. What technologies might be available then? How will customers be using digital in their lives? Where will your industry be, for example, in terms of responsive use of data, digital fabrication (parts and devices made on the fly), cloud-based interoperability, or new forms of supply chain coordination? Do you have the capabilities now to make use of those technologies in creating new customer experiences? And what new capabilities will you need once those technologies become reality?…
The fourth principle recognizes that becoming digital isn’t just a matter of rearranging the lines and boxes on your org chart. It involves fostering a startup’s way of working through new structures and teams, and changing your incentives, rules, and decision rights accordingly. Just as important as these formal mechanisms are their informal counterparts—the personal networks, communities of interest, information flows, and behavioral norms—that link the people in your company who can imagine and build new digital capabilities.”

The Internet as Politicizing Instrument


New Issue of Transformations (Editorial): “This issue of Transformations presents essays responding to Marcus Breen’s recent book Uprising: The Internet’s Unintended Consequences. Breen asks whether the Internet can become a politicising instrument for the new online proletariat – the individualised users isolated by the monitor screen. He asks “if the proletariat can use the Internet, is it freed from the moral and social constraints of the past that were imposed by conventional media and its regulation of the public space?” (32) This question raises further issues. Does this freedom translate into an emancipatory politics where the proletariat is able to pursue its own ends, or does it simply reproduce the power relation between the user-subject and the Internet and those who control and manage it. The articles in this issue respond in various ways to these questions.
Marcus Breen’s own article “The Internet and Privatism: Reconstructing the Monitor Space” makes a case for privatism – the restriction of subjective life to isolated or privatised experience, especially in relation to the computer monitor – as the new modality of meaning making in the Internet era. Using approaches associated with cultural and media studies, the paper traces the way the Internet has influenced the shift in the culture towards values associated with the confluence of ideas around the private, best described by privatism.
Fidele Vlavo’s article investigates the central discourses that have constructed the internet as a democratic and public environment removed from state and corporate control. The aim is to call attention to the issues that have limited the development of the internet as a tool for socio-political empowerment. The paper first retraces the early discursive constructions that insist on representing the internet as a decentralised and open structure. It also questions the role played by the digerati (or cyber elite) in the formulation of contradictory demands for public interests, self-governance, and entrepreneurial rights. Finally, it examines the emergence of two early virtual communities and their attempts to facilitate free speech and self-regulation. In the context of activists advocating freedom of expression and government institutions re-organizing legislation to control the Internet, the examination of these discourses provides a useful starting point for the (re)assessment of the potential of direct online mobilization.
Emit Snake-Being’s article examines the limits of the Internet as a politicising instrument by showing how Internet users are subject to the controls of the search engine algorithm, managed by elite groups whose purpose is to reproduce themselves in terms of neo-liberal capitalism. Invoking recent political events in the Middle East and in London in which a wired proletariat sought to resist and overturn political authorities through Internet communication, Snake-Beings argues that such events are compromised by the fact that they owe their possibility to Internet providers and their commercial imperatives. Snake-Being’s article, as well as most of the other articles in this issue, offers a timely reminder not only of the possibilities, but of the limits of the Internet as a politicising instrument for progressive, emancipatory politics.
Frances Shaw’s paper concerns the way in which the logic of surveillance operates in contested sites in cities where live coverage of demonstrations against capitalism leads to confrontation between demonstrators and police. Through a detailed account of the “Occupy Sydney” demonstration in 2011, Shaw shows how both demonstrators and police engaged in tactics of surveillance and resistance to counter each other’s power and authority. In an age of instant communication and global surveillance, freedom of movement and freedom from surveillance in public spaces is drawn into the logics of power mediated by mobile ‘phones and computer based communication technology.
Karyl Ketchum’s paper offers detailed analysis of two Internet sites to show how the proletarianisation of the Internet is gendered in terms of male interests. Picking up on Breen’s argument that Internet proletarianisation leads to an open system that “supports both anything and anyone,” she argues that, in the domain of online pornography, this new-found freedom turns out to be “the power of computer analytics to harness and hone the shifting meanings of white Western Enlightenment masculinities in new globalising postcolonial contexts, economies and geopolitical struggles.” Furthermore, Ketchum shows how this default to male interests was also at work in American reporting of the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. The YouTube video posted by a young Egyptian woman, Asmaa Mahfouz, which sparked the revolution in Egypt that eventually overthrew the Mubarak government, was not given due coverage by the Western media, so that “women like Mahfouz all but disappear from Western accounts of the Arab Spring.”
Liden and Giritli Nygren’s paper addresses the challenges to the theories of the political sphere posed by a digital society. It is suggested that this is most evident at the intersection between understandings of technology, performativities, and politics that combines empirical closeness with abstract understandings of socio-political and cultural contexts. The paper exemplifies this by reporting on a study of online citizen dialogue in the making, in this case concerning school planning in a Swedish municipality. Applying these theoretical perspectives to this case provides some key findings. The technological design is regarded as restricting the potential dialogue, as is outlined in different themes where the participants enact varying positions—taxpayers, citizen consumers, or local residents. The political analysis stresses a dialogue that lacks both polemic and public perspectives, and rather is characterized by the expression of different special interests. Together, these perspectives can provide the foundation for the development of applying theories in a digital society.
The Internet and Privatism: Reconstructing the Monitor Space (Marcus Breen)
The Digital Hysterias of Decentralisation, Entrepreneurship and Open Community (Fidele Vlavo)
From Ideology to Algorithm: the Opaque Politics of the Internet (Emit Snake-Beings)
“Walls of Seeing”: Protest Surveillance, Embodied Boundaries, and Counter-Surveillance at Occupy Sydney (Frances Shaw)
Gendered Uprisings: Desire, Revolution, and the Internet’s “Unintended Consequences”(Karyl E. Ketchum)
Analysing the Intersections between Technology, Performativity, and Politics: the Case of Local Citizen Dialogue (Gustav Lidén and Katarina Giritli Nygren)”

Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy


New Report by McKinsey Global Institute: “Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, cuts through the noise and identifies 12 technologies that could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years. The report also looks at exactly how these technologies could change our world, as well as their benefits and challenges, and offers guidelines to help leaders from businesses and other institutions respond.
We estimate that, together, applications of the 12 technologies discussed in the report could have a potential economic impact between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year in 2025. This estimate is neither predictive nor comprehensive. It is based on an in-depth analysis of key potential applications and the value they could create in a number of ways, including the consumer surplus that arises from better products, lower prices, a cleaner environment, and better health….
Policy makers can use advanced technology to address their own operational challenges (for example, by deploying the Internet of Things to improve infrastructure management). The nature of work will continue to change, and that will require strong education and retraining programs. To address challenges that the new technologies themselves will bring, policy makers can use some of those very technologies—for example, by creating new educational and training systems with the mobile Internet, which can also help address an ever-increasing productivity imperative to deliver public services more efficiently and effectively. To develop a more nuanced and useful view of technology’s impact, governments may also want to consider new metrics that capture more than GDP effects. This approach can help policy makers balance the need to encourage growth with their responsibility to look out for the public welfare as new technologies reshape economies and lives.”
 

"ambient accountability"


New blog by dieter zinnbauer: “what is ambient accountability?
big words for a simple idea: how to systematically use the built environment and physical space to help people right at the place and time when they need it most to:

  1. understand their rights and entitlements (the what is supposed to happen)
  2. monitor the performance of public officials and service providers (the what is actually happening)
  3. figure out who is responsible and offer easy ways to take action if things go wrong and 1) does not match up with 2)

Ambient accountability is a very elastic concept. It ranges from the very simple (stickers, placards, billboards) to the artistic nifty (murals, projections) and the very futuristic (urban screens, augmented reality). It can include the official advisory, the NGO poster, as well as the bottom-up urban intervention…
For more see blog entries with a quick overview, and the historical backdrop and this working paper with lots of visual examples and a more in-depth account of why ambient accountability has a lot of potential to complement the existing anti-corruption repertoire and at the same time offer a interesting area of application for all those urban computing or open government initiatives.”

New Book: New Technology, Organizational Change and Governance


Book Description (Edited By Emmanuelle Avril and Christine Zumello): “The advent of globalisation and the continued development of new information technology has created an environment in which the one certainty for organisations is that they cannot cling to archaic, centralised and hierarchical models. The increased fluidity and speed of the global environment call for horizontal networked structures, where decisions are achieved through collaborative mechanisms, rather than pyramidal models. New processes have been emerging, in particular the practices of deliberative and participatory governance, with increased stakeholder and citizen inclusion and participation, greater use and reliance on networks of organisations, and efforts to resolve conflict through dialogue. New forms of organizations, networks, coalitions and partnerships, as well as the promises of open sourcing and the collaborative horizontal model point towards a new governance apparatus in which relationship-based patterns can project and protect a human dimension in this digital world. This book will prove invaluable to all those who are interested in participatory governance and organisational change.”