Episode #225 of the Tim Ferriss Show had me in tears on the way to work this morning. Tim interviews John Crowley, a father who quit his job to start a bio-tech company after two of his kids were diagnosed with a rare disease. Go have a listen and reflect on life a bit.
- Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
- Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
- Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
- Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it
The Changing Relationship Between Tech and Government. The a16z Podcast from Andreessen Horowitz.
Agile Government Leadership has a great interview with Ben Kallos, New York City Council Member. He’s got quite an interest in technology and process reform, and it shows:
Most people think of government as slow and bureaucratic, but that isn’t a required feature. In fact, it is a bug, mostly tied to old models that were successful in the industrial era. The predominant governing model was the “waterfall method,” an approach that allows for ample input at the beginning of a project, but little—if any—during implementation or once the project is complete. Government must adapt from this industrial model to what it more closely resembles: an information and services based model that allows for continuous feedback along the way.
“My intention is that all code developed using taxpayer dollars within GSA should be in the taxpayer’s domain [open source].”
Sonny Hashmi, Chief Information Officer at the General Services Administration, in an interview with ExecutiveGov.
Last week I had the pleasure to attend the Alliance for Innovation’s Transforming Local Government conference. It was enlightening and inspiring to be around other public servants that have done such great, innovative work. Sadly I can’t point you to videos of the conference presenters, but you can watch the Alliance’s YouTube channel that contains submissions for their Innovation Awards. Also, some of the best information can be found under the hashtag #tlg2014.
I took a lot away from the Conference, but I think the greatest example of a change initiative came from the city of Durham, North Carolina. Their presenters included a GIS Analyst and Zoning Inspector (usually you see finance director and city manager types). They successfully changed their organizational culture by involving employees every step of the way, and really by letting the employees lead. Very impressive.
Working in local government, I hear lots of people ask how they can become the next Silicon Valley. How can they become a haven for tech startups. Read the magazines or the blogs and this is a common sentiment. And this is a really difficult question, because it usually requires a cultural change.
Wired magazine recently had an article about what Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is doing in Las Vegas. If you want to encourage startups to locate to your jurisdiction, go have a read.
From After Years at War, the Army Adapts to Garrison Life, New York Times (emphasis mine):
Captain Archuleta, 30, is the face of today’s Army, the kind of young officer who had experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan far beyond his rank. President of his 2006 class at West Point, he deployed a year later as a platoon leader to Babil Province, south of Baghdad. One day, his battery commander approached him with an unusual offer.
“He said, ‘I’m having trouble with the town council,'” Captain Archuleta recalled. “‘I know you are a wonky poli-sci kind of guy. I’m at a standstill. Can you contribute to this?‘”
Captain Archuleta joined a team of military representatives to the town council of Al Haq, where he helped oversee public services — water, roads, electricity — assisted in reconciliation talks with tribal elders and worked as a payroll officer to Iraqi security forces.
I was perusing the Times this morning and ran across this article. The discussion of the value of political science degrees (poli-sci UGA ’08!) gave me quite a bit of joy. I’m really proud that the Army recognized Captain Archuleta and has selected him to teach governance at West Point.