Governance, Cities, and Services
See below for detailed speech topics in this theme.
Rethinking Government and Democracy
Governments can become a stronger part of the social ecosystem that binds individuals, communities, and businesses—not by absorbing new responsibilities or building additional layers of bureaucracy, but through its willingness to open-up formerly closed processes and data to broader input and innovation.
In other words, government becomes a platform the creation of services and for social innovation. It provides resources, sets rules and mediates disputes, but allows citizens, non-profits and the private sector to share in the heavy lifting. This is leading to a change in the division of labor in society about how public value is created, and holds the promise of solving the debt crisis.
The Next Era in Global Problem Solving and Governance
Call them Global Solution Networks. Until now, little has been done to evaluate what makes these networks tick, how they succeed or fail, what impact they have and how they address the tough issues of legitimacy, accountability, representation and transparency. Tapscott shares some initial conclusions from a multi-million dollar study he is leading about how new patterns of connection can fulfill their enormous potential in fixing a broken world.
Collaborative Science and Healthcare
Now, courtesy of the digital revolution, there are tools that allow us to take more responsibility for our own health, and for patients to collaborate with their doctors and, equally important, other patients.
All of us, including newborns, should have our own online Personal Health Page. Just as Facebook keeps you updated on your friends’ activities, your Health Page would keep you up to date on issues affecting your health. You could have links to organizations such as Weight Watchers or a local diabetes support group. You could create a community or join medical “causes.” And low-cost or free applications could help you measure your own health, prediagnose a sick child or test for possible drug interactions.
By moving the heart of our health care system online, and making each of us more informed and involved in our health, we would get a lot more bang for our health care buck. Knowing what’s happening in your body motivates you to change your behavior. If you weigh yourself daily, for instance, you’ll be more successful at shedding pounds and keeping them off than if you weigh in weekly.
When we are better informed about our health, we make fewer trips to the emergency department, we don’t make unnecessary doctors’ appointments and we require fewer costly home-nurse visits.
Some early examples of this kind of thinking can already be seen online. Users of MedHelp.com, a popular online health community, are able to track more than 1,500 symptoms and treatments on a daily basis using iPhone apps that cover both general health conditions, such as weight loss and allergies, and very specific disorders, such as infertility and diabetes. If they want, patients can share this information on a continuing basis with their doctors or caregivers.
Doctors should do much more to encourage patients to take advantage of the resources available in online health care communities. A good example is PatientsLikeMe.com, a vibrant health care community whose members suffer from debilitating chronic conditions such as ALS, Parkinson’s and bipolar disorder. Members use the site to track the evolution and management of their diseases. But rather than keep all their data private, many members share it with the patient community and the medical research community.
This openness ultimately benefits everyone. Patients can learn what’s working and, in consultation with their doctors, adjust their own treatment plans. Drug companies can use anonymous patient data to evaluate new treatments and thus bring them to market more quickly. “People think we are a social networking site,” says PatientsLikeMe co-founder Ben Heywood. “But we’re an open medical framework. This is a large-scale research project.”
Of course, we need the buy-in of the biggest players – namely government and insurers – to help maximize these opportunities and help people from becoming needlessly sick.
Urban Intelligence: Achieving Smart Connected Cities
Don Tapscott discusses how cities can transform themselves around 10 axes: Economic Development; Public Safety; Open Government; Transportation and Managing Traffic congestion, Powering the City, Clean air and water, Human Services; Education; Government Operations; and Transforming Democracy.
Reinventing the Financial Services Industry
A digital response involving collaboration on a mass scale may be the best way to properly evaluate and assess the value and risk of new financial instruments as they are produced. New models based on openness, transparency and participation are already changing many parts of the industry from venture capital to mutual funds and even lending, so why not to apply the same thinking to the obscure mathematical models that value the risk and expected returns of the most complex instruments: expose them to the scrutiny of the thousands of experts who have the knowledge to vet the underlying assumptions?
Wikinomics can also be applied to virtually every other aspect of the industry. Venture Capital, the engine of entrepreneurship is stalled and this is a big problem for everyone as most new jobs come from new companies. But it turns out that networked talent outside the boundaries of venture investors can help break the logjam. Most banks are still loathe to lend money so in some parts of the world peers are taking the law into their own hands and initiating peer to peer lending schemes. But will existing institutions tie into these heaving new initiatives effectively, the way that say, IBM embraced Linux for revenue profit and competitive advantage?
Arguably, this is the perfect time for fresh and even radical thinking. When it comes to evaluating risk, this interconnected digital crowd comprises people who are financially sophisticated and can provide the fresh and innovative insight that will clarify the questionable dealings in the financial services business. A more open and collaborative approach would restore trust in banks, kick start venture capital, unfreeze the paralysis of lending markets and lay a foundation for a financial service industry that continues to underpin the growth and prosperity of the world’s economies.