Towards an effective framework for building smart cities: Lessons from Seoul and San Francisco


New paper by JH Lee, MG Hancock, MC Hu in Technological Forecasting and Social Change: “This study aims to shed light on the process of building an effective smart city by integrating various practical perspectives with a consideration of smart city characteristics taken from the literature. We developed a framework for conducting case studies examining how smart cities were being implemented in San Francisco and Seoul Metropolitan City. The study’s empirical results suggest that effective, sustainable smart cities emerge as a result of dynamic processes in which public and private sector actors coordinate their activities and resources on an open innovation platform. The different yet complementary linkages formed by these actors must further be aligned with respect to their developmental stage and embedded cultural and social capabilities. Our findings point to eight ‘stylized facts’, based on both quantitative and qualitative empirical results that underlie the facilitation of an effective smart city. In elaborating these facts, the paper offers useful insights to managers seeking to improve the delivery of smart city developmental projects.”
 

Towards an information systems perspective and research agenda on crowdsourcing for innovation


New paper by A Majchrzak and A Malhotra in The Journal of Strategic Information Systems: “Recent years have seen an increasing emphasis on open innovation by firms to keep pace with the growing intricacy of products and services and the ever changing needs of the markets. Much has been written about open innovation and its manifestation in the form of crowdsourcing. Unfortunately, most management research has taken the information system (IS) as a given. In this essay we contend that IS is not just an enabler but rather can be a shaper that optimizes open innovation in general and crowdsourcing in particular. This essay is intended to frame crowdsourcing for innovation in a manner that makes more apparent the issues that require research from an IS perspective. In doing so, we delineate the contributions that the IS field can make to the field of crowdsourcing.

  • Reviews participation architectures supporting current crowdsourcing, finding them inadequate for innovation development by the crowd.

  • Identifies 3 tensions for explaining why a participation architecture for crowdsourced innovation is difficult.

  • Identifies affordances for the participation architectures that may help to manage the tension.

  • Uses the tensions and possible affordances to identify research questions for IS scholars.”

Best Practices for Government Crowdsourcing Programs


Anton Root: “Crowdsourcing helps communities connect and organize, so it makes sense that governments are increasingly making use of crowd-powered technologies and processes.
Just recently, for instance, we wrote about the Malaysian government’s initiative to crowdsource the national budget. Closer to home, we’ve seen government agencies from U.S. AID to NASA make use of the crowd.
Daren Brabham, professor at the University of Southern California, recently published a report titled “Using Crowdsourcing In Government” that introduces readers to the basics of crowdsourcing, highlights effective use cases, and establishes best practices when it comes to governments opening up to the crowd. Below, we take a look at a few of the suggestions Brabham makes to those considering crowdsourcing.
Brabham splits up his ten best practices into three phases: planning, implementation, and post-implementation. The first suggestion in the planning phase he makes may be the most critical of all: “Clearly define the problem and solution parameters.” If the community isn’t absolutely clear on what the problem is, the ideas and solutions that users submit will be equally vague and largely useless.
This applies not only to government agencies, but also to SMEs and large enterprises making use of crowdsourcing. At Massolution NYC 2013, for instance, we heard again and again the importance of meticulously defining a problem. And open innovation platform InnoCentive’s CEO Andy Zynga stressed the big role his company plays in helping organizations do away with the “curse of knowledge.”
Brabham also has advice for projects in their implementation phase, the key bit being: “Launch a promotional plan and a plan to grow and sustain the community.” Simply put, crowdsourcing cannot work without a crowd, so it’s important to build up the community before launching a campaign. It does take some balance, however, as a community that’s too large by the time a campaign launches can turn off newcomers who “may not feel welcome or may be unsure how to become initiated into the group or taken seriously.”
Brabham’s key advice for the post-implementation phase is: “Assess the project from many angles.” The author suggests tracking website traffic patterns, asking users to volunteer information about themselves when registering, and doing original research through surveys and interviews. The results of follow-up research can help to better understand the responses submitted, and also make it easier to show the successes of the crowdsourcing campaign. This is especially important for organizations partaking in ongoing crowdsourcing efforts.”

Introducing Socrata’s Open Data Magazine: Open Innovation


“Socrata is dedicated to telling the story of open data as it evolves, which is why we have launched a quarterly magazine, “Open Innovation.”
As innovators push the open data movement forward, they are transforming government and public engagement at every level. With thousands of innovators all over the world – each with their own successes, advice, and ideas – there is a tremendous amount of story for us to tell.
The new magazine features articles, advice, infographics, and more dedicated exclusively to the open data movement. The first issue, Fall 2013, will cover topics such as:

  • What is a Chief Data Officer?
  • Who should be on your open data team?
  • How do you publish your first open data set?

It will also include four Socrata case studies and opinion pieces from some of the industry’s leading innovators…
The magazine is currently free to download or read online through the Socrata website. It is optimized for viewing on tablets and smart phones, with plans in the works to make the magazine available through the Kindle Fire and iTunes magazine stores.
Check out the first issue of Open Innovation at www.socrata.com/magazine.”

Data is Inert — It’s What You Do With It That Counts


Kevin Merritt, CEO and Founder, Socrata, in NextGov: “In its infancy, the open data movement was mostly about offering catalogs of government data online that concerned citizens and civic activists could download. But now, a wide variety of external stakeholders are using open data to deliver new applications and services. At the same time, governments themselves are harnessing open data to drive better decision-making.
In a relatively short period of time, open data has evolved from serving as fodder for data publishing to fuel for open innovation.
One of the keys to making this transformation truly work, however, is our ability to re-instrument or re-tool underlying business systems and processes so managers can receive open data in consumable forms on a regular, continuous basis in real-time….”

A Videogame That Recruits Players to Map the Brain


Wired: “I’m no neuroscientist, and yet, here I am at my computer attempting to reconstruct a neural circuit of a mouse’s retina. It’s not quite as difficult and definitely not as boring as it sounds. In fact, it’s actually pretty fun, which is a good thing considering I’m playing a videogame.
Called EyeWire, the browser-based game asks players to map the connections between retinal neurons by coloring in 3-D slices of the brain. Much like any other game out there, being good at EyeWire earns you points, but the difference is that the data you produce during gameplay doesn’t just get you on a leader board—it’s actually used by scientists to build a better picture of the human brain.
Created by neuroscientist Sebastian Seung’s lab at MIT, EyeWire basically gamifies the professional research Seung and his collaborators do on a daily basis. Seung is studying the connectome, the hyper-complex tangle of connections among neurons in the brain.”

The Power of Hackathons


Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: “The Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program is proud to announce the release of The Power of Hackathons: A Roadmap for Sustainable Open Innovation. Hackathons are collaborative events that have long been part of programmer culture, where people gather in person, online or both to work together on a problem. This could involve creating an application, improving an existing one or testing a platform.
In recent years, government agencies at multiple levels have started holding hackathon events of their own. For this brief, author Zachary Bastian interviewed agency staff, hackathon planners and hackathon participants to better understand how these events can be structured. The fundamental lesson was that a hackathon is not a panacea, but instead should be part of a broader open data and innovation centric strategy.
The full brief can be found here”

Open Data Is Re-Defining Government in the 21st Century


Kevin Merritt, the founder and CEO of Socrata, in Next Gov: ….a new movement, spurred by digital and social activism, is taking root to renovate and redefine the public sector.
This movement is based on democratizing the vast treasure trove of data that governments have accumulated over the years, transparently releasing it so citizens and companies can drive meaningful change and solve problems that government, on its own, cannot solve…. This emerging digital collaboration between the public sector and scores of entrepreneurs across the nation has the potential to profoundly transform the role of government….
As a software entrepreneur, I see open data as the transformation of governments from monolithic service providers to open innovation platforms, fueled by data. This shift may hold the answers to some age-old problems in government, like chronic inefficiency and a citizen experience that’s out of step with the modern consumer era.
“This is the right way to frame the question of Government 2.0,” explains O’Reilly, a leading open data advocate. “How does government become an open platform that allows people inside and outside government to innovate? How do you design a system in which all of the outcomes aren’t specified beforehand, but, instead, evolve through interactions between government and its citizens, as a service provider enabling its user community?”
The answers to these questions are still taking shape; but one thing we do know is that the strategic use of data is clearly re-defining government’s role in the 21st century.

Better Cities Competition


oi-logoAnnouncement: Do you want to make our cities of the future better? Want to help improve quality of life in your home, your work and your public life? Have an idea how? Capture it in a short video and be in with a chance to win one of our amazing prizes!
As a part of Open Innovation 2.0: Sustainable Economy & Society collaboration  Intel Labs Europe, Dublin City Council, Trinity College Dublin and European Commission Open Innovation and Strategy Policy Group are delighted to announce that the 2013 Better Cities competition is now open.
The theme of the competition is how to make our cities more socially and economically sustainable, through use of open data and information technology.  Particular focus should be given to how citizens can engage and contribute to the innovation process.