The rise of public sector innovation labs: experiments in design thinking for policy

Paper by Michael McGann, Emma Blomkamp and Jenny M. Lewis in Policy Sciences: “Governments are increasingly turning to public sector innovation (PSI) labs to take new approaches to policy and service design. This turn towards PSI labs, which has accelerated in more recent years, has been linked to a number of trends. These include growing interest in evidence-based policymaking and the […]

Bias in Online Classes: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Paper by Rachel Baker, Thomas Dee, Brent Evans and June John: “While online learning environments are increasingly common, relatively little is known about issues of equity in these settings. We test for the presence of race and gender biases among postsecondary students and instructors in online classes by measuring student and instructor responses to discussion […]

Making Better Use of Health Care Data

Benson S. Hsu, MD and Emily Griese in Harvard Business Review: “At Sanford Health, a $4.5 billion rural integrated health care system, we deliver care to over 2.5 million people in 300 communities across 250,000 square miles. In the process, we collect and store vast quantities of patient data – everything from admission, diagnostic, treatment and discharge data to […]

The world’s first blockchain-powered elections just happened in Sierra Leone

Yomi Kazeem in Quartz: “On Mar. 7, elections in Sierra Leone marked a global landmark: the world’s first ever blockchain-powered presidential elections…. In Sierra Leone’s Western District, the most populous in the country, votes cast were manually recorded by Agora, a Swiss foundation offering digital voting solutions, using a permissioned blockchain. The idea was simple: […]

How to Make A.I. That’s Good for People

Fei-Fei Li in the New York Times: “For a field that was not well known outside of academia a decade ago, artificial intelligence has grown dizzyingly fast. Tech companies from Silicon Valley to Beijing are betting everything on it, venture capitalists are pouring billions into research and development, and start-ups are being created on what […]

NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge: Strategy, results, and lessons learned

Jennifer L. Gustetic et al in Space Policy: “Beginning in 2012, NASA utilized a strategic process to identify broad societal questions, or grand challenges, that are well suited to the aerospace sector and align with national priorities. This effort generated NASA’s first grand challenge, the Asteroid Grand Challenge (AGC), a large-scale effort using multi-disciplinary collaborations […]

How tech used to track the flu could change the game for public health response

Cathie Anderson in the Sacramento Bee: “Tech entrepreneurs and academic researchers are tracking the spread of flu in real-time, collecting data from social media and internet-connected devices that show startling accuracy when compared against surveillance data that public health officials don’t report until a week or two later…. Smart devices and mobile apps have the potential […]