Nudging technology adoption in government, a bot that summarizes documents, and how self-driving cars will reshape cities — This Week’s Top 10 Reads from a Chief Innovation Officer

Each week, I read over 100 articles so you don’t have to — Here are the top 10 you should read over the weekend and why they matter for government. Let’s dive in —

The Articles —

Out of over 100 articles, here are the top 10 that stood out this week:

🤝 In blockchain we trust http://bit.ly/2GHjQhP

🤯 Think Uber and Lyft Are Killing Transit? Think Again http://bit.ly/2rSpeoR

🔮 The Future of Organizational Management: Ecological Systems Thinking — http://bit.ly/2rRXArc

💡 The Art of Nudging Technology Adoption in Government http://bit.ly/2IJAq0C (H/T William Eggers)

🔒 Alphabet’s Project Shield expands DDoS protection to politics https://engt.co/2IKxBwf

🚷 There’s a War on Middle Management and Tesla Just Joined It http://bit.ly/2IY2Wf5

🙌 SummarizeBot — Get to Know More by Reading Less! http://bit.ly/2GaIlyI

🚀 Elon Musk’s Boring Company is ‘a few months’ from offering free rides beneath L.A. http://bit.ly/2KVzgxv

⚡️ Tesla’s ‘Other Business’ Is a Game-Changer http://bit.ly/2Ia207Z

🏙 Lots of Lobbies and Zero Zombies: How Self-Driving Cars Will Reshape Cities http://bit.ly/2Lls5P0

The Bottom Line —

Just in case you don’t have time to read each article, here are the key takeaways and why each one matters for government:

🤝 In blockchain we trust http://bit.ly/2GHjQhP

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was one of the best articles I’ve seen on the blockchain — and what it actually means for society today and tomorrow. Essentially, the author parallels the hype behind the the blockchain to that of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s.

The crypto bubble, like the dot-com bubble, is creating the infrastructure that will enable the technologies of the future to be built. But there’s also a key difference. This time, the money being raised isn’t underwriting physical infrastructure but social infrastructure. (MIT Technology Review)

The key takeaway here is that both of these hype-factories generated infrastructure that paved the way for major society-impacting disruptions. For government agencies, the blockchain will undeniably have a future impact — but it will be something that will be ushered in by the countless platform companies working to lower the barriers of using it.

🤯 Think Uber and Lyft Are Killing Transit? Think Again http://bit.ly/2rSpeoR

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This read unpacked an interesting study that found transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft actually are filling a need that traditional mass-transportation systems don’t currently have the capacity to handle.

Use of services like Uber and Lyft tended to spike on weekends and late in the evenings when transit service tends to be scaled back. Also, most users of ride-hailing apps don’t normally need to go very far. (Government Technology)

The takeaway here for government is that new technologies and business models will impact behavior in different ways — and sometimes completely contrary to what may seem like an obvious impact. It will become more important than ever for government agencies to let new business models operate in regulatory sandboxes, currently used primarily around FinTech companies, prior to imposing new regulations.

🔮 The Future of Organizational Management: Ecological Systems Thinking — http://bit.ly/2rRXArc

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Although this read was more designed for private-sector companies, I believe there are some applications that also related to the public sector. Most notably, thinking about the process of innovation (or work in general) as a system of systems.

So what’s the future of management thinking? Despite recent history, I have faith that a revolution in management thinking is coming soon. Looking at the broader trend lines, we are starting to see the innovation cycle as a whole system, to understand the normative behaviors that undergird this cycle, and to construct practical tools to measure and accelerate the curve as ideas grow into reality. a paradigm shift is fast approaching. It’s no longer enough to focus only on what’s easy to quantify — the traditional industrial approach. Managers and investors who know how to lead businesses as evolutionary processes — embedded in ecosystems — are most likely to succeed in the new paradigm. (Evonomics)

For government agencies, it’s all too easy to focus on defining roles and duties, but how often do we develop a human resource strategy built around the system — and not just the immediate needs of one area or another.

…A paradigm shift is fast approaching. It’s no longer enough to focus only on what’s easy to quantify — the traditional industrial approach. Managers and investors who know how to lead businesses as evolutionary processes — embedded in ecosystems — are most likely to succeed in the new paradigm. (Evonomics)
💡 The Art of Nudging Technology Adoption in Government http://bit.ly/2IJAq0C (H/T William Eggers)

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great read on an important issue with new technology adoption — behavior. The authors found that issues with new technology adoption are not always failures in technology but not thinking about the behavioral or people-aspects of its use. For government agencies, the authors found that incorporating elements for intrinsic motivation, choice architecture, and feedback and transparency can greatly enhance the adoption of a new technology. For agencies interested in diving deeper on designing for behavior, I recommend studying the Hook Model and reading Hooked: How To Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal.

🔒 Alphabet’s Project Shield expands DDoS protection to politics https://engt.co/2IKxBwf

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Elections and cybersecurity have been two words used far more commonly together over the past year. In addition to government websites, elected officials and political candidates are also increasingly more vulnerable to cyberattacks and often times lack the staff to mitigate the associated risks. As a result, Alphabet is expanding their Project Shield — a free denial of service mitigation tool — available to elected officials, political campaigns, political organizations, and all candidates running for office. For government agencies, this is a great resource to make your elected officials and candidates running for office aware of and I hope to see it expanded to all government agency website domains in the near future.

🚷 There’s a War on Middle Management and Tesla Just Joined It http://bit.ly/2IY2Wf5

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Across the country, there is organizational management trend of eliminating middle-level management structures to increase efficiency — and flatness. The newest company on the bandwagon — Tesla. The reasoning? Increasing communication and eliminating bottlenecks in the flow of information and decisions. Essentially, it’s a hack to make large organizations function more like startups. Unfortunately, this is not a silver bullet that can work magic everywhere and there are a number of challenges that can arise from a completely flattened organizational structure (i.e., too much interaction = not enough time to complete work), but it’s still a notable trend worth exploring. For government agencies, the key takeaway here isn’t to eliminate mid-level managers but to explore ways to streamline the flow of information and ideas in your agencies — the key challenge Musk is currently trying to solve at Tesla.

🙌 SummarizeBot — Get to Know More by Reading Less! http://bit.ly/2GaIlyI

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This isn’t a read, but rather a technology that I found this week. SummarizeBot will take any link or text and provide a summary through machine learning. You can even customize the length of the summary through a slider. When I first saw this tool I immediate thought there was a government play — because often times the length of government documents can present a major challenge for average citizens having the time or bandwidth to read or engage in the content. In fact, some elected officials struggle with also getting to the bottom-line of a legal document’s purpose. Although I’m not endorsing we forgo reading government laws and documents in their entirety, I am advocating that agencies find ways to make some of their data — in this case, ordinances and other long documents — more accessible and easier to understand. This is one tool that just might help provide that function.

🚀 Elon Musk’s Boring Company is ‘a few months’ from offering free rides beneath L.A. http://bit.ly/2KVzgxv

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Elon Musk’s Boring Company has officially completed their first 2.7-mile underground tunnel for transporting bicyclist and pedestrians under the traffic craziness of Los Angeles. This is part of Musk’s vision to build an Urban Loop System that enables cars and people to be autonomously transported underground from point-to-point. For government agencies, the application of Musk’s approach will be one to follow as transportation is a major focus of cities across the globe. I expect to see many studies conducted once operational for agencies to learn from.

⚡️ Tesla’s ‘Other Business’ Is a Game-Changer http://bit.ly/2Ia207Z

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great read that reiterated that the disruptive nature of Tesla doesn’t just stop with electric cars — but with its ability to also transform the electric grid. Tesla has already demonstrated how disruptive power storage can be in Australia and this was just an early example of what’s possible. For government agencies, the key takeaway here is that technology today isn’t limited by a single designed use-case, but can be a platform for other adjacent possibilities.

🏙 Lots of Lobbies and Zero Zombies: How Self-Driving Cars Will Reshape Cities http://bit.ly/2Lls5P0

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a fun and graphical read on how self-driving cars will reshape cities across the globe. From a zombie car tax to the rise of self-driving car nests (queuing areas) — it’s important for cities to begin to visualize and plan how technology will reshape not just behaviors, but the physical environment. For government agencies, we are entering an era where we’ll need to plan infrastructure to be adaptable — to be able to evolve and change based on the state of the city. For example, Sidewalk Labs a few years ago detailed a concept where parking spots could be shared (think Airbnb for a much smaller area) and ‘come online’ for other vehicles to use when you’re not home. Cities that seek to be smart won’t just overlay new technology infrastructure, they’ll find new ways to unlock and evolve what they already have.

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