Global Tech Government Techonomy Events

How to Meet the World’s Grand Challenges

The best opportunities will come from creating the greatest impact on the biggest realms of human activity, like healthcare, food, water, energy, and education. How can businesses rise to the occasion and focus on the things that really matter? How can they best partner with governments and NGOs to implement the solutions? At the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Larry Brilliant of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Pfizer's Geno Germano, Leila Janah of the Sama Group, and Ericsson's Rima Qureshi discuss applying tech tools to global challenges in a session moderated by The Economist's Matthew Bishop.   More

Government

Can Government Get a Better Grip on Tech?

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"I'm very worried," says Neelie Kroes, who has served as a vice president of the European Commission since 2010. "The changes in technology nowadays are so fast that we have to change our mindset. This is my biggest frustration in the commission. It takes so much time for governments to know what is at stake. We can't consult ten times about issues like we did in former times." Kroes's concerns are widely shared, especially in the United States. Says Steve Case, who spends as much time as any major tech leader working with leaders of both parties in Washington: "The pace of innovation continues to accelerate and outstrip the ability of governments to react."   More

Government

How Democracy Works Is Innovating Government from the Outside In

Voting at a town hall meeting in Calais, Vermont (image via Shutterstock)

A federal election is one of the most logistically challenging business models you can imagine: it’s a business that’s open only one day a year, staffed almost entirely by temps (practically volunteers) with limited advance training. Would-be customers have to sign up days or weeks in advance, but everything is still first-come, first-serve. Oh, and there’s zero margin for error. No wonder the election administrator’s prayer is “Lord, let this election not be close.”   More

Government Techonomy Events

Establishing a Firm Foundation

What has philanthropy achieved in Detroit and America’s cities, and where will it go next? Join the heads of the Case and Kresge Foundations for a conversation on the role of foundations in the revival of urban life. How do they see their role in bolstering partnerships and collaboration in the communities they serve? How do they enable a new notion of civics, and civic leaders driven by the use of tech for social good? In this session from Techonomy Detroit 2014, Nolan Finley of The Detroit News interviews Jean Case of The Case Foundation and Rip Rapson of The Kresge Foundation about how the non-profit sector can drive partnerships for change.   More

Government Jobs Techonomy Events

Why Institutions Need to Wake Up to a New American Dream

(From left) David Kirkpatrick, Carol Goss, Danae Ringelmann, Elizabeth Shuler, and Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow says we’re on the cusp of a change “comparable to 1880 or 1890 when the economy was about to fundamentally transform. This should be a really bright era.” Yet Gallup polls show that Americans are more pessimistic about the future than ever. And even a Techonomy panel discussion offered a less-than-optimistic view of the future for the middle class.   More

Analytics & Data Cities Government

How Open Data Is Transforming City Life

(Image via Shutterstock)

Start a business. Manage your power use. Find cheap rents, or avoid crime-ridden neighborhoods. Cities and their citizens worldwide are discovering the power of “open data”—public data and information available from government and other sources that can help solve civic problems and create new business opportunities. By opening up data about transportation, education, health care, and more, municipal governments are helping app developers, civil society organizations, and others to find innovative ways to tackle urban problems.   More

E-Commerce Government

Can Uber Reroute Germany to a Shareable Future?

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In "The Zero Marginal Cost Society," economic theorist and writer Jeremy Rifkin coins the term Collaborative Commons to describe the "digitalized space where providers and users share goods and services" in the emerging "shareable economy." It's no surprise then that Rifkin casts as shortsighted the German court system's decision this week to ban in that country the low-cost UberPop service from Uber, the global carsharing service. In response to a lawsuit filed by Taxi Deutschland in Frankfurt, the court ruled that Uber lacked legal permits to pick up passengers.   More

E-Commerce Government

Governments and Sharing: Lessons from the UK’s Beyond Jobs Project

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What can governments do to boost the sharing economy? What would be their incentive to do so? Where are the commercial opportunities if public policy were to fully embrace sharing transactions? I have spent 20 years writing, consulting, and overseeing publicly funded projects based on these questions. The answers in brief: governments are potentially the biggest buyers of fragmented labor, its regulators, setters of tax/welfare codes, administrators of databases of record, and ideally will serve as marketing machines for economic initiatives.   More

Global Tech Government

Paranoia Muddies Media’s View of Bitcoin’s Potential

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European financial regulators just took a positive step to engage directly with the disruptive effects of the growing cryptocurrency ecosystem, but you might not have realized that. The European Banking Authority (EBA) watchdog agency issued a report on Friday, July 11, titled “Opinion on ‘virtual currencies’.” It then received a great deal of media attention – most of it negative.   More

E-Commerce Government

Can a Sharing Platform for Artists Point to a More Equitable Society?

What do you do if you’re an artist in need of supplies, but you happen to be broke? Creative people have been pooling and exchanging resources for generations. Now, the emerging Internet-enabled sharing economy makes it easier than ever to swap, say, legal advice for lumber. That’s the kind of transaction that OurGoods, a new resource-sharing platform for artists, actually facilitates. OurGoods also serves “designers, technologists, makers, farmers, and activists,” said co-founder and activist Caroline Woolard when we talked to her at the recent Sharing Economy Summit at NYU’s Stern School of Business. “Artists have a lot of skills and also education, but don’t necessarily have money to pay each other to get their work done,” said Woolard. But OurGoods doesn’t just aim for one-off online bartering. Its greater goal is to build what Woolard calls “cross-class trust networks” that “enable a kind of trust-building that leads to social justice.”   More

Government

Salesforce.com’s Michael Lazerow on the Transparency Revolution

We are in the midst of "a trust revolution," says Michael Lazerow, "where everything is transparent." This revolution in transparency is redefining the rules of business, government, and beyond, as all of us are being forced to act more responsibly and with greater authenticity. Lazerow, CMO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and founder of Buddy Media (purchased by Salesforce in 2012), talked with Techonomy at the recent DLDnyc conference. He explained how tech fuels transparency in an age where everything is interconnected.   More

Global Tech Government

Beijing Hits Microsoft with Windows 8 Ban

Microsoft's Beijing headquarters. (Image via Shutterstock)

When it comes to the risks and rewards of doing business in China, software giant Microsoft can write a lengthy book on the subject after years of ups and downs in the market. Just months after the company marked a modest advance with Beijing’s lifting of a decade-old ban on gaming consoles, the central government has now formally banned the installation of Microsoft’s flagship Windows 8 operating system (OS) on all government computers. It’s clear from the media reports that this ban was unexpected, though Microsoft has certainly learned to expect this kind of sudden and unexplained move after two decades in the market.   More

Government Healthcare

How Technology Can Transform Our Healthcare Labyrinth

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Why has our rat-maze approach to coordinating care continued largely unchanged for more than 60 years? For all but the simplest of healthcare needs, we all find ourselves at some point trying to navigate a maze of health care facilities, doctors, pharmacies, insurance companies, and government programs, with all the associated conversations, paperwork, forms, bills, and files they all require. According to the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. healthcare system wastes more than $765 billion each year—about 30 percent of our healthcare spending. If we eliminated this waste, over 10 years we could reduce nearly 50 percent of our national debt.   More

Government

Pentagon to Destroy $1 Billion Worth of Ammunition Because Data Doesn’t Talk

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While the Defense Department prepares to rid itself of roughly $1.2 billion worth of bullets and missiles, it has come to the attention of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and members of Congress that some of those munitions might actually still be usable by troops. The problem? According to a GAO report first discussed by USA Today, “the Defense Department’s inventory systems can’t share data effectively.” Not only is data not shared effectively, but simple communication between branches of the military is sometimes so discombobulated that near-Rube-Goldberg measures must sometimes be enacted: email requests from one branch that are emailed to another must sometimes be printed out and then re-entered manually before those requests can even be considered, let alone be implemented.   More

Government

U.S. Intelligence Community Supports Sharper Satellite Images

DigitalGlobe offers a range of high-resolution satellite images.

In the increasingly competitive business of satellite imaging, Colorado-based DigitalGlobe is getting a welcome boost from some powerful friends. U.S. government agencies, particularly those in the intelligence sector, have traditionally worried that allowing private companies such as DigitalGlobe to sell increasingly high-resolution images could undermine one of the government’s key strategic advantages on the geopolitical scene. However, in light of advances made by non-U.S. satellite imaging companies, the intelligence community is now supporting DigitalGlobe’s push to make those higher resolution images publicly available on the open market. Why? Market share and global competitiveness.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government Jobs

Techonomic Top 5: Federal Inefficiency, Chromosome Breakthrough, Virtual Employers, and More

Andrew Hessel (l) with Stewart Brand and Eri Gentry at Techonomy 2013 in Tucson, Ariz.

Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention.   More

Global Tech Government

Can We Hold Back Data-Secessionism?

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German Chancellor Merkel has called for a "European data network" that would prevent Europe-to-Europe information from passing through the U.S., and the EU has joined with Brazil to build a new undersea fiber optic cable that would be out of the control of U.S. telecoms companies. Up until now, however, Net infrastructure outside of countries like China has sent data packets on routes based on efficiency, not on national origins. Now a former German Defense Minister in Merkel's own government has come out against the mindset that leads to these parochial policies that would "balkanize" the Internet. In an article for Techonomy, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg argues against what he calls "data secessionism."   More

Global Tech Government Opinion

European Legislators Face “Data Secessionism”

The key players in the public and private sector are now working to protect their interests in a world that is shifting from government to “Googlement”—driven by the unprecedented ability of companies to gather, store, and evaluate vast amounts of personal data. Adding to the challenge will be unabated progress on more invasive technologies such as biometrics, household robotics, smart homes, and connected cars, coupled with widespread adoption of cloud computing. Even overconfident U.S. tech titans must concede that Europe is in the pole position to shape this process and that the Old Continent’s success or failure will reverberate around the world.   More

Government

The Inefficiency Bunker

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It's housed 230 feet underground in an old mine in rural Pennsylvania. The official government paperwork it processes follows a long and winding procedure that takes more than three months to complete. And despite all of today's advanced computing technology, its operations rely on physical paper records and manual data entry. This is the Office of Personnel Management, which The Washington Post calls "one of the weirdest workplaces in the U.S. government." It is the department that processes the retirement papers of government employees. From the time the office receives a retiree's papers to the time it issues a retirement check, the process takes about 61 days. That's not a day less than it took back in 1977.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Energy & Green Tech Government

Techonomic Top 5: Reanimating the Woolly Mammoth, Facebook Drones, and more

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The passenger pigeon became extinct in 1914, though not long before it flew in flocks that could number in the billions (yes, with a "b"). But a group of scientists has teamed up with tech visionary Stewart Brand in spearheading an effort to bring the species back to life. The so-called de-extinction project could reanimate long-lost species like the woolly mammoth and even mitigate environmental threats like melting permafrost, according to some.   More