KEY INNOVATIONS IN PUBLIC POLICYAN OVERVIEW FOR WORKFORCE LEADERSNew technologies are helping to connect governments and c...
er to test new approaches or grow those that are working.                                                              The...
Among foundations and philanthropists, Dr. Judith Ro-               Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) is a global networkdi...
corroborate these observations about the workplace.52          In the last three years, many gamers and game devel-       ...
What follows is a list of examples of games and gaming                                     Other Resources:even community-...
problems: Iceland is crowdsourcing the drafting of its new       constitution56                                           ...
Explore an existing community platform. LikeMinded.                                      mographic group or industry secto...
areas of concern, we can see how the city is respond-       professionals working in the public sector. A few years       ...
Key Innovations in Public Policy:A special insert from the WEADERSHIP GUIDE (2011)Authors: Kristin Wolff (@kristinwolff) a...
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Key Innovations in Public Policy


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This is a special insert, part of the complete WEADERSHIP GUIDE, developed for leaders in the field of policy concerned with jobs, work, learning, and economic development - often called workforce. The complete guide is also available here or at

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Key Innovations in Public Policy

  1. 1. KEY INNOVATIONS IN PUBLIC POLICYAN OVERVIEW FOR WORKFORCE LEADERSNew technologies are helping to connect governments and change agents from across sectors,and putting new frontiers within reach of traditional institutions. In this section, we provide an over-view of four such frontiers: social innovation, online gaming for the public good, crowdsourcing(and crowdfunding), and Gov2.0.A. SOCIAL INNOVATION nologies, and to problem-solving more generally, areSocial innovation at its core is the successful implementa-tion of new ideas that meet social needs.46 Social innova-tion is not new. Over time, social innovators have devel- Social innovation itself has a long history. However, theoped all kinds of services, tools, and products we now take professional networks, methodologies, and institutions de-for granted: voted to promoting social innovation at scale are only just emerging. From schools of social innovation and entrepre- Public drinking fountains were invented by a plumber (Halsey Taylor) who’s father died of a water borne-dis- ease and a sanitary inspector (Luther Haws) who ob- there is a groundswell of interest in non-traditional ap- served school children sharing a tin cup and thought he proaches to solving our most intractable social problems. Unemployment Insurance, launched during the Great The Promise of Social Innovation Depression, helped stabilize families and communities for Workforce Leaders Social innovation is not the domain of one particular sector of society. It is practiced in the public and private sectors, Microcredit, made famous by Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, is an approach to and volunteer networks. Frequently, groups and individuals alleviating poverty in which small sums of money are from more than one of these sectors collaborate to realize loaned to poor people to make investments (in busi- successful social innovations. Workforce leaders regularly nesses, community infrastructure, education, etc.) that support cross-sector convening and collaboration for edu- improve their socioeconomic opportunities and quality cators, workforce professionals, and economic develop- of life. Kiva now offers this opportunity to aspiring entre- ers. Applying the same set of skills to different groups at preneurs in the US. different scales could create new possibilities for solving important problems that workforce leaders are already Linux and Wikipedia are among the best known exam- working on. ples of social innovation in the Internet age, but open- source approaches to the creation of tools and tech- policy that is among the top concerns for elected leaders and the public. This has certainly been true over the past two years47 during which a large majority of Americans ex- pressed more concern about jobs and the economy than46 - tion. See Geoff Mulgan. “Social Innovation: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How any other public policy issue. This kind of public awareness It Can Be Accelerated.” Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Working Paper. 2007. Notably, there are other terms, social entrepreneurship and social enterprise makes it very likely that people in many communities are among them, that are close cousins of social innovation. We emphasize social inno- already working on solutions and could be brought togeth- vation here for two reasons: 1) the phrase focuses on the process (social innovation), not the actor (social entrepreneur) or type of organization (enterprise), and we feel strongly that social innovation can be practiced by any actor or type of organization 47 On May 16, 2011, Gallup reported that Americans concerns about jobs and the economy had reached a two-year high, with 3 in 4 naming the economy as the num- ber one issue the country faces, and more than one in three naming “jobs” as their social or community needs. americans-economic-concerns-reach-two-year-high.aspx 52 WEADERSHIP: The Guide
  2. 2. er to test new approaches or grow those that are working. These 48 Workforce leaders need not have all the answers to what offer opportunities for workforce leaders to solicit new are clearly complex economic problems in their communi- ideas or help grow or improve nascent efforts that already ties. Their partners and neighbors can help. show promise. Further, many workforce leaders have invested time and Although few workforce leaders claim a social innova- effort exploring, learning, and practicing innovation, both to better understand the challenges their business partners interested in the subject and want to learn more. face and to better position themselves as practitioners of innovation. Social innovation builds on this knowledge, but - Social Innovation Resources force leaders who are solving community problems. It may The Open Book of Social Innovation, (NESTA and the Young also help place them in a favorable position as increas- Foundation, 2010) offers 527 methods, examples, insights, - include social and environmental goals, as so many are tion from initial inspiration to systemic change. Available in beginning to do. book form, it can also be downloaded as a PDF from the Finally, many communities are establishing social in- Young Foundation’s website colleges and universities or social innovation incubators 48 Ashoka offers a social entrepreneurship education resource guide that lists colleges and university courses relating to social entrepreneurship - es/social-entrepreneurship-education-resource-handbook/ Springboard Innovation in Portland, Oregon is launching Hatch, a community innovation lab to enable citizen merce-focused business accelerators partnering with entrepreneurs to launch eco-social enterprises http://blog.springboardinnovation. org/2011/05/may-update-on-hatch/ and Toronto’s Center for Social Innovation is - nies 53WEADERSHIP: The Guide
  3. 3. Among foundations and philanthropists, Dr. Judith Ro- Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) is a global networkdin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation is at the fore- that connects social innovators from government, aca- demia, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and else-investor. Here is her interview with Rahim Kanani on the where so they can share ideas and resources that advanceevolution and promise of the approach both policy and practice.49 Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic LinkedIn offers dozens of groups comprising membersGovernance and Innovation recently launched the Project that share an interest in social innovation, including oneon Social Innovation. The project’s website offers social organized around the Stanford Social Innovation and resources, and supports their ability to connectwith one another using social media B. ONLINE GAMING FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD We found few gamers (or aspiring gamers) among the workforce leaders we interviewed. However many lead- ers expressed interest in gaming as an approach to skill development and curiosity about how the lessons of Mas-and identifying effective practices. Although the organi- sive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) might transfer to - community-wide policy making and engagement. Gamingment, its materials may be of interest to workforce leaders holds promise for workforce leaders, not just for teachingand are available here Social innovation is an exciting and rapidly expanding for workers enrolled in workforce programs, but also as a platform for leadership development and for simulating theopportunity to work together to rebuild, redress, reinvent, kind of work that workforce leaders do.and reimagine our way to more prosperous communities. First, the numbers:50 there are 183 million active gamers (people who say they play regularly) in the US.Books About Social Innovation Seven in ten heads-of-households play computer andA search of Amazon for books listed under “social inno- video games, nearly all (97%) youth play.during the past three years. Here are three to get started. Forty percent of gamers are women.1. The Power of Social Innovation, Stephen Goldsmith, One in four gamers is over the age of 50. by Gigi Georges and Tim Glynn Burke (2010), focuses on examples in which the public sector plays a key In 2009, 61% of surveyed (corporate) CEOs, CFOs role. and other senior executives reported taking daily game breaks.51 Gaming is a $68 billion industry.2. Social Innovation, Inc., by Jason Saul (2011), focuses Jane McGonigal in Reality is Broken, argues that people on private sector actors doing well by doing good. - wards that are too little present in real life: satisfying work3. The New Pioneers, by Tania Ellis (2010), emphasizes the global aspect of social problem-solving and the role of NGOs. something larger than themselves. A number of job satis- faction and other talent management surveys and papersOther Ways to Tap into Social Innovation NetworksAn active community of social innovators uses Twitter to 49 Kristin Wolff, the primary author of this document, is a current member of the SIX - Advisory Board. 50 Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Jane McGonigal. Penguin Press, 2011. Pps. 3-11. 51 Reinecke, Leonard. “Games at Work: The Recreational Use of Computer Games Dur- ing Work Hours.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, August 2009,the conversation. 12(4): 461-65. 54 WEADERSHIP: The Guide
  4. 4. corroborate these observations about the workplace.52 In the last three years, many gamers and game devel- opers have turned their attention to a particular genre of games designed to achieve positive social ends in the real world. Called “social impact games”, “games for good”, or “serious games”, these games focus on building the kinds of skills that are critical for social change in the real world: taking a long view while also managing actions in the mo- change in one part of a complex system on many other different times and growing the successful ones into sig- In addition to skill building, games offer a number of complex environments: They are compelling and low-risk ways of engaging the public in policy-making. Public agencies and govern- ments at all levels are experimenting with budgeting, citizen engagement, and all manner of crowdsourcing ideas or resources.53 They can engage people at various scales independent of geographic location. Games are one way to support the development of global networks workforce leaders say they need relatively inexpensively. They can help leaders develop scenarios relevant in the real world. Games, in effect, are simulations. Simu- lations can be cumbersome and expensive in the real world, but are far less so in the virtual one. They can inform how workforce leaders in particular think about program design for learning and work prep- aration in their local real-world communities. As one indicator of the importance of games and gam- ing technologies to governments and policy makers, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Develop- ment (OECD) is studying the potential of immersive online platforms like MMOGs and Second Life on collaboration and learning.54 52 See for example, the Deloitte Talent Edge 2020 Survey Series com/view/en_US/us/Services/additional-services/talent-human-capital-hr/Talent- Library/talent-edge-2020/index.htm and Stephen Denning’s post “What Economists Don’t See: The Real Jobs Crisis is that Most Jobs Suck, December 31, 2010 see-the-real-jobs-crisis.html 53 See also “Crowdsourcing” section of this document, p.53 54 OECD (2011), “Virtual Worlds: Immersive Online Platforms for Collaboration, Creativ- ity and Learning”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 184, OECD Publishing. 55WEADERSHIP: The Guide
  5. 5. What follows is a list of examples of games and gaming Other Resources:even community-minded businesses are using to advance Games for Change Festival 2011 (event site):the public interest. Budgeting post “Saving the World One Game at aAmerican Public Media’s Budget Hero Game (federal) Time” (includes links to a toolkit for organizations in- terested in building their own social interest games):North Carolina’s Balance the Budget Challenge (state) (State)City of Santa Cruz (CA) 2009 Participatory Budgeting National Public Radio Story on Public Interest Gaming:Process (local) Engagement On The Media (Public Radio)Find the Future was an augmented reality55 overnight scav- hunt hosted by the New York Public Library to cel- and “The Future of Gaming” its 100th birthday. The product is a collaborativelydeveloped book based on the theme 100 ways to changethe future inspired by 100 intriguing works of the past. “Game design isn’t just a technological craft. It’s aGame site About the Game century way of working together to accomplish real change.” Jane McGonigal, Reality is BrokenScenario PlanningWorld Without Oil was a simulation game involving 1,900players from all 50 US states and 12 countries around theworld in which players imagined that there was no more C. CROWDSOURCING (& CROWDFUNDING)oil. For 32 days, they submitted blog entries, videos, and Although the concept of crowdsourcing is not new, tech-without oil. Many players reported that the experience was opened up new possibilities for accessing our collectivelife changing for them –and that it altered their behavior in imagination and knowledge to address common problems.the real world. Our understanding of crowdsourcing’s potential is evolv- World Without Oil website (includes videos, summary ing as citizens, organizations and governments experimentdocuments): with its many applications. Spent is an online role-playing game that challenges Crowdsourcing is a distributed model of problem-solv-players to live for one month on $1,000 while avoiding ing and production. When a project or task normally as-homelessness. Developed by Urban Ministries of North signed to an individual or group of colleagues is insteadCarolina and McKinney Advertising, over a million people “outsourced” to a large group of users or potential users,from all over the world have played it. it is crowdsourced. Wikipedia is the product crowdsourc- Here and Now produced a public radio story about ing. So is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)Games for Good, featuring Spent project. You probably use a version crowdsourcing in your Spent (game site) members of your extended social networks in planning a trip, for example. Social technologies encourage this kind of collabora- - ple consult product reviews offered by complete strangers before they make purchases. They use tools like Yelp to55 “Augmented reality” refers to the experience an object or environment in the real share information about local restaurants and other com- world whose components are enhanced by the instant availability of data (usually via mobile device) that increases the users’ understanding of the object or experience of munity amenities. They customize platforms like Ushahidi the environment. Using a mobile device to read a QR code on a public art installation that takes the observer to information about that art installation is an example of augmented reality. Increasingly, government agencies, civic leaders, foun- 56 WEADERSHIP: The Guide
  6. 6. problems: Iceland is crowdsourcing the drafting of its new constitution56 - nocentive to test, spread, and scale innovative approaches more people, including those who do not participate in tra- ditional ways. Starbucks asked people to submit their ideas for better Here are three ways workforce leaders can crowdsource products and services, and over 100,000 did. new ideas today: Increasingly, consulting “the crowd” is a critical means Search LinkedIn groups for conversations about the is- of your organization’s industry, location, or size. sues you care most about. You might search by issue to identify a large number of ideas from across the coun- try (and beyond), or you might search by geographic How Do People Use Crowdsourcing to Advance the Public Good? community. gathering intelligence from existing social media, to Search for examples of tools and launching a customized platform that supports contribu- approaches to crowdsourcing or experts relevant to tions, ranking, voting, and social networking. your interests and needs. is a use- ful gateway to platforms and guides about how to use Workforce leaders consulting with their communities them well, practitioners of crowdsourcing across sec- tors and geographies, and a myriad of other resources 56 that can accelerate your learning curve. featured here The story has been covered extensively by tech industry and Gvo2.0 journalists 57WEADERSHIP: The Guide
  7. 7. Explore an existing community platform. LikeMinded. mographic group or industry sector. They might fund the org, for example, is a new project of Craigslist Founda- project or contact the project’s owner for a follow-up con- tion and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s versation. Technology for Engagement Initiative. While currently Third, these platforms invest groups of people in the in beta, you can view ideas and projects submitted to success of the project. Project investors will often help date. Already, there are many solutions relevant to job promote the project, support implementation, or other- creation, unemployment, and skills training. wise connect with project organizers and other investors -Crowdfunding ing community support for initiatives also offers lessons forA close cousin of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding is a col- workforce leaders.laborative funding model in which a network or community Finally, many workforce leaders are searching for waysof people pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to to promote job creation. While crowdfunding platforms dosupport projects initiated by other people or organizations. not typically result in traditional jobs, they do connect peo- Dozens of platforms are springing up to support crowd- ple to paid work. For aspiring business owners or people seeking “gigs”61 rather than traditional jobs, crowdfundingpractice, or for a variety of causes.57 Total resources in- can offer an opportunity to test an idea, build a network,vested in this way are tiny compared to more traditional and access funding to support community projects orinvestments or philanthropy, but the number of donors/ launch new businesses. Workforce programs can facilitateinvestors is growing quickly. For example, Kickstarter, the this, and also learn from it.most popular platform had secured $35 million in pledges Engaging “the crowd” is not a panacea for address-by December 2010,58 but by April 2011, “backers” were ing the critical and complex challenges workforce leaderspledging $7 million dollars per month.59 confront. However, it can play an important role in help- ing leaders experiment with new ideas, enhance their net- works, and demonstrate value to the broader community.Why Does Crowdfunding Matter?Workforce leaders are unlikely to turn to crowdfunding asa mechanism for supporting core programs, but there are D. “GOV2.0”a number of reasons these new tools might be attractive Gov2.0, a phrase coined by Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media)to them. refers to government making use of Web2.0 technologies: First, they provide lessons about how to generate sup- social media, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, and theport from “the public” for small projects that workforce smart application of open data in the world. Importantly,leaders may want to pursue. Successfully funded projects the point of Gov2.0 is not just technology-savvy govern-or initiatives documented on various platforms may pro- ment or even open government, it’s better government.vide valuable insights: What level of funding is appropriateto request in this way? How do you communicate the goals the broader marketplace, it’s better communities betterof your initiative in a compelling way? Which platforms are world.more effective for what kind of initiatives?60 There is no more compelling explanation of the potential Second, they offer a source of new ideas and poten- of Gov2.0 than Tim O’Reilly’s talk from the 2010 Gov2.0 Summit, “Government as a Platform for Greatness.” It isnew approach to training or placement for a particular de- here: And for a more international look, Ovi Gormley’s 2009 documentary UsNow, featuring Don Tapscott, Clay Shirky57 - ing from those supporting donations to facilitating peer-to-peer lending and other thought leaders in this space, remains remark- ably current. View it here: “Is Crowdfunding Working? Here is What We Know,” Robert Andrews (February Early Gov2.0 initiatives tended to emerge out of Mayor’s 2011) what-we-know-/283959 Kickstarter’s post documenting progress on the company’s second birthday, Aril 28, 61 Gigs” is a colloquial expression typically referring musical performances or short- 2011 term jobs. Here, we use it refer to forms of work that are non-traditional full-time jobs. Gigs may comprise part-time jobs, contract work, or volunteer activities people60 This PowerPoint presentation, developed for the 2011 Revisioning Value Social do because they are seeking to learn, network, earn money, or generate personal Innovation Conference provides an overview and may be a good resource for those satisfaction. An increasing number of websites cater to people seeking to do “gigs” new to crowdfunding or “microjobs.” See “The Future of Work” on The Next Web 58 WEADERSHIP: The Guide
  8. 8. areas of concern, we can see how the city is respond- professionals working in the public sector. A few years ing to citizens.” The city is partnering with the workforce into the Gov2.0 era, we see evidence of deeper and more board to identify critical next steps. frequent connections between developers who want to do important things with open data and policy makers Related Links: who are knowledgeable about community problems that Give A Minute need solving. Enhancing Workforce Leadership Post Workforce leaders are experimenting with Gov2.0 ap- proaches, but there is much more to be done to if we are to use the data we’re collecting to inform solutions to our 3. Education Hackathon, Portland, OR. Organized by most intractable problems. In that spirit, we offer three ex- Cyborg Anthropologist and Geoloqi cofounder Amber amples of progress. Case, the Education Hackathon grew out of a broader CivicApps initiative designed to engage technologists 1. Code for America - in making government data more useful to communi- nects technologists with government agencies to solve ties. But this event (May 2011) provides an example of community problems, has teamed up with the Depart- workforce solutions coming from unexpected places. Mayor Sam Adams’ Education Strategies Director, Kali initiative designed to connect returning veterans and their families to the jobs, educational opportunities, and activities and jobs’ as a key educational challenge support networks that will help them thrive. Code for technology might help address. Eight hours later, the America fellows are working with agency staff, as well winning team had built a mobile app that addressed as returning veterans and community based organiza- tions serving them, to link the most relevant informa- of asset mapping in the process. The code is open tion, services, and supports together in a single eas- source. If you’d like a similar tool in your city, you can ily navigable platform. In addition, the platform will link get started here returning vets to each other and to other vets in their Related Links: as veterans reenter civilian life. Recap of Event Winning App Code for America White House Both Mayor Sam Adams and Education Strategies Director Kali Ladd cite the Education Hackathon in our 2. Give A Minute. Based on a concept developed by interviews with each of them. CEOs for Cities, Give a Minute is a technology platform designed to engage citizens in improving their commu- Mayor Sam Adams on Leadership, Complexity, and nities by “crowdsourcing” their ideas in an open, pub- Engaging People lic way. The City of Memphis is using the platform to engage people around skills. It asks: “Hey Memphis, Kali Ladd on Collaborative Leadership and Doing Work what skills would you love to develop professionally or that Matters put to use?” The site lets users know that four people Wharton, Jr., and another is Doug Scarboro, Executive of Memphis. To date, citizens have contributed 128 re- sponses. Skills offered or desired range from child-care to graphic design to biofuel conversion. Requests for small business assistance and information about train- ing programs are also prevalent. We asked Dough Scar- boro what he hoped would happen as a result of the experiment. He responded, “In the future, this could help us develop our budget. Plus, by measuring the key 59WEADERSHIP: The Guide
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  10. 10. Key Innovations in Public Policy:A special insert from the WEADERSHIP GUIDE (2011)Authors: Kristin Wolff (@kristinwolff) and Vinz Koller (@kollerv)Social Policy Research Associates (@Social_Policy)SPRA.com Complete Guide is available for download and other special inserts available for download at: