News & Updates

Meaningful Learning

A learning mindset is one of the most crucial characteristics of an innovator.  This is an interesting take on three different approaches to learning: https://fee.org/articles/meaningful-learning-is-just-in-time-not-just-in-case/ Learning in order to avoid pain (average) Learning in order to gain credit/status/praise/recognition (elite) Learning in order to solve a problem (ascendant) Ascendant learners seek meaningful, practical and challenging learning.  This type of learning can be frustrating, exhausting, taxing….even painful.  And that’s exactly why it’s the least common.  The reward is timely solutions that directly address the…

0
Read More

What Is Considered ‘Smart’ Government in the Digital Age?

At yesterday’s NC Digital Government Summit, I had the opportunity to sit down with colleagues from the Town of Cary, the City of Raleigh and the State of North Carolina. In the panel, we discussed what “smart” really means for our communities, our state and government in general. It was a frank discussion on the pitfalls and opportunities presented by the tsunami of “smart” technologies and the value of the concepts behind them. I found it particularly insightful to hear…

0
Read More

Soft Skills

I found this article a few months ago and reread it often to reinforce what I already know, but what the professional world makes me doubt…that interpersonal skills are invaluable: https://fee.org/articles/interpersonal-skills-are-anything-but-soft/ We’ve all engaged in job searches where the only requirements mentioned are onerous lists of learnable, tangible skills.  For example, a typical list for my role, business analyst might look like this: Analyze, define, and document requirements for data, workflow and business processes Develop a strong understanding of the…

0
Read More

It’s fall in the Triangle and that means one thing…Civic Tech

When someone asks you “What does fall mean to you?” people will talk about fall foliage, football or kids going back to school. However to a group of citizens here in the triangle, it is civic tech season. In the fall the civic tech movement holds most of its events. This past Saturday the season was kicked off with Civic Spark day held in Durham. Civic Spark day is part of NC OpenPass, which is the collective name of the…

0
Read More

WRAL Stops by CREATEspace

Although we’re still working on our marketing efforts for CREATEspace and #WakeInnovates, Adam Owens from WRAL stopped by last week for a tour and a talk. The result was a great story that succinctly explains what we are doing up here on the 12th floor!

0
Read More

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…

0
Read More

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.…

0
Read More

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…

0
Read More

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…

0
Read More

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…

0
Read More