Live Update: Walk the Talk

Live updates will be provided from today’s rotating sessions. Each new update will be from a completely different group of our guests discussing each room’s topics.

ROOM TOPIC: How can we build a collaborative environment for research and training using new tools?


3:53PM: In Newman Session 4, participants discussed the importance of collaborating with end-users in product design. In this case, involving students in the creation of GovLab’s new academic program would ensure the best possible results by capitalizing on students’ existing networks. They discussed the need to set high standards for intellectual rigor and dedication to a GovLab academic program. The importance of involving an International component was emphasized. Providing students and faculty with the opportunity to work on both domestic and International projects will be critical to developing a global mindset.

3:00PM: Which collaborations would be the most beneficial for students of the GovLab Academy? Questions ensue. Can you teach just enough computer science and statistics to engineer government? Can you teach engineers just enough government to what they’re engineering? By exposing Computer scientists to the political science department, we can create a new breed of student/citizen that’s better rounded, “it’s better for the overall efficiency of the world.”

2:23PM: Session 2 in the Neumann think-tank focused on the creation of the GovLab Academy, an interdisciplinary training in substance, process and commitment to values. Students would purposely be grouped with peers out of their discipline, and with whom they may not often have the privilege to associate, thus facilitating a wider transmission of ideas and a greater diversity in though processes.  Breaking the mold of traditional post-secondary education, students would then be asked to create applied technological solutions to everyday problems. These academics and future implementers would be encouraged to pilot out-of-the-box initiatives. These initiatives would be free from success-driven constraints, for from failure comes innovation and progress. The program would create a feedback loop of students and employers that, due to their relationship started in the GovLab academy, would be able to obtain real recommendations, serving real progress.

1:43PM: During the first meeting in the Neumann reception hall, experts discussed how to create technology to improve people’s lives. This interdisciplinary problem solving would help citizens engage their governments and, ideally, ameliorate societies at large.  Many questions bounced around the room, ranging from policy wording/framing to how to implement/deploy these programs. The experts explored in depth the inherent tension between advocacy and research network: how can one work objectively on something that’s emotionally charged?  Without resolution, the conversation then shifted to what would prove to be the most troublesome topic: problem/topic framing. A mayoral aid posed an example: when approached with a proposal, wording makes all the difference. There’s no incentive to run a city-wide ‘experiment,’ this wording invites sensationalism. Conversely, city-wide ‘pilots’ are frequently implemented.

One Response to “Live Update: Walk the Talk”

  1. Daniel Bevarly April 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    RE: 3:00 post: I recall a program at Ohio State U in the mid 90s when they paired graduate engineering students with the graphic arts students who were using the “new” Silicon Graphics computers for early high-end computer graphics. The engineering students needed to visualize their projects and the GA students were helping to render them using the SG units and their knowledge and experience to recommend design, form and coloring to render the engineering students’ ideas.

Leave a Reply