News & Updates

People > Data

In a recent article, DJ Patil former chief data scientist for the US Government said, “Data helps us understand problems and find solutions, but we should never forget that it’s about people first.” This line struck me as central to mission we are undertaking in the innovation program here at Wake County. Let me breakdown some of the things that have been churning through my head these past few months. I just want to say that I am fortunate to…

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Motivating change

In my last post, I shared an interesting document from WWII, the Simple Sabotage Field Guide. In that post, I focused on the advice that is given for business disruption.  However, there is also an interesting section on motivating saboteurs, aptly called “Motivating the Saboteur,” that I think can be helpful when thinking about innovation in our organizations. This section clearly speaks to the need to treat people like humans and understand that they have intrinsic motivations that are critical.…

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Local “Brigades” are leading the civic tech movement

There is one point that is worth debating when civic tech people get together and that is whether civic tech flows from local to national or national to local. I feel fairly strongly that everything starts local and goes from there.  Code for America does offer those of us in civic tech a framework and an umbrella to gather under, but the work is done locally. The reason I mention it is that there is a national advisory council of…

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Print your next home

While I know that 3D printing is one of the top disruptive technologies, I’ve struggled to understand its practical applications outside of huge manufacturing companies.  Until…this! 3D printing is making its mark in the housing industry. Believe it or not, there are a few companies exploring building fully autonomous smart homes in a single day using 3D printers.  These homes are modular, off grid and run completely on solar energy. https://3dprint.com/170515/passivdom-3d-printed-house/ This is a truly innovative use for 3D printing…

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Business Sabotage

While researching Agile principles, I came across an interesting historical document.  I wish that I remembered who originally shared it so that I could give them a hat tip since it is one of my favorite examples of how confused our view of work has gotten.  To understand its significance, it is important to give you a brief history lesson.  During World II, the predecessor to the CIA, the OSS, developed a manual to help Allied sympathizers in Axis countries disrupt the…

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Telling Stories with Data

Hans Rosling recently passed away. Rosling was a Swedish physician, statistician and speaker famous for his work with world health and developmental issues. He is probably best known for for a TED Talk he gave called “The best stats you’ve ever seen” In the talk we witness Rosling talking on the developing world and their health outcomes over time. At least that is topic of his talk. Arguably, the most interesting aspect of the talk is how he presents the…

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Many ask – What do we mean by INNOVATION???

There are many ways to interpret innovation.  I often times get the question…What do you mean by Innovation Initiative?? I must admit that it is hard to explain because it looks different depending on what we are exploring and it is also about thinking differently.  Well, I found this really good video that talks about the many faces of innovation.  It even has a cameo of our own Jim Hartmann and David Ellis!  Take a look, I hope you will find…

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New Pew Study on Policies Encouraging Broadband Adoption

Released on April 10, a new Pew study dives deep into the nation’s thoughts on how we should set policies and programs to promote and facilitate broadband adoption. Here are a couple highlights that I found particularly intriguing: “A substantial majority of the public (70%) believes local governments should be able to build their own broadband networks if existing services in the area are either too expensive or not good enough…” Unfortunately, the survey did not delve into the definitions…

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Civic Tech for March 2017

Members of Wake County’s innovation group helped plan and lead two meetups in March around Civic Tech. Both were well attended and innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that is alive the Wake County. The first event was the planning kickoff event for NC OpenPass, the umbrella term for the civic tech events in North Carolina. It was held at Google Fiber’s new space in downtown Raleigh. On the Agenda: • Update on NC Open Pass and partnership with NC Datapalooza •…

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User Design in government innovation

The article below from Wired in 2014 was one of the first articles that got me interested in innovation and it is still one of my favorites.  It showed me how wholesale changes to something as seemingly mundane as parking signs can be made using design principles. Even the simplest topics benefit from getting the input of the customers! I think that there might be something for us to learn in this example when it comes to technology and government.…

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