In Chicago, that jumble is coming together to become one of the country’s strongest civic innovation centers, and it hasn’t been by accident. The Smart Chicago Collaborative (Smart Chicago), a small civic organization that’s dedicated to improving the lives of people through technology, is working at the center of Chicago’s civic innovation scene. Through its unique leadership, structure, and strategies, Smart Chicago has been able to develop and align key networks of people with policies and programs in order to produce results. The organization is a model for cities to capture civic innovation’s energy and use it in new ways to improve urban life.
"We are seeing technology-driven networks replacing bureacratically-driven hierarchies," says VC and futurist Fred Wilson, speaking on what to expect in the next ten years. Check out the 21 innovations below.
Last semester, as part of Tufts’ Water Diplomacy program, we discussed with MIT professor Larry Susskind a paper in which he advocated for “involving stakeholders before [important] decisions are made.”* In the ensuing discussion, I wrote down the following nouns that were used to describe the individuals who might participate in making these decisions, along with experts and policymakers: “the population,” “the public,” “publics,” “stakeholders,” “groups,” “interests,” “citizens,” “representatives,” “negotiators,” “people” and “everybody” (as in, “You have to get everybody at the table.”) These words may have overlapping referents, but they are not synonyms. They imply different strategies and different core values. To pick up a few:
As this great paper from Bruce Jenks and Bruce Jones nicely elaborates, The UN, and the “development system” more broadly is at a crossroads. The current business models were designed in a different age and need to change to adapt to the emerging post-2015 development agenda, but also to the reality that change is permanent and accelerating and so we need to be more agile to keep up and stay relevant and effective.
Power isn’t about knowledge – it’s about doubt. The questions that people ask themselves – and ask of each other – are more influential on power relationships than what people actually know.
In politically sensitive situations, it can be useful to actively not-know about certain things. By not-knowing, and making it clear that things are not your business – you can frame yourself as a neutral player without vested interests. From that position it’s easier to work around conflicts and manoeuvre the conflicts themselves to get ahead of your rivals.