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This series tries to analyses the landscape of Governance,Technology and Society and identify the emerging trends which gives Govpreneurs a chance to make ruckus.

WordPress in Government – SWOT Analysis and Strategies –[video]

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

The past month has been very busy for me with Republic Day celebrations. But it was also special because i had a chance to present my ideas on WordPress in Government to a big group of WordPress movers and shakers who got together at WordCamp Baroda. It was a great experience to connect with WP guys and gals and discuss about the software the web loves. I also met Harsh Agrawal of ShoutMeLoud whose blog has been a great resource for me over the years.

WordPress can help you make a change, create an impact no matter wherever you are, whatever you do. It empowers you to make a change. In the Goverment sector there is a lot of unexplored potential for WordPress. I have been using WordPress personally for many years now. There were some new and interesting projects i did using wordpress. I have discussed my experiences of these projects in the talk.

Some ideas i have discussed are:

Innovation is putting technology or concept in the right context.

WordPress has helped me be a leader in my area of work.

Government is a creator and enabler of platforms.

WordPress is the best tool to start your digital presence.

Watch the video below:

Presentation on Slideshare

Make a Drone for Good and win One Million Dollars – UAE Govt

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

drone for good

Gone are the days when Drones were used for killing in conflict areas. Civilian applications for drones have come of age and the UAE Government offers USD 1 Mn to promising prototypes that may benefit humanity.

There is a also prize of one millon AED for UAE nationals in the national competition.

Here is the details.

The International competition is dedicated to rewarding the most promising prototypes of future services that may benefit humanity at large.

Submissions must be able to demonstrate a working prototype that could conceivably be developed into a working system within the next 1 to 3 years.

The goal of the international competition is to highlight the most advanced research into UAVs and drones and accelerate their application in humanitarian, development and public service applications.

Eligibility
  • The International competition is open to anyone in the world.
  • Individuals, teams, or companies are eligible.
  • An individual, team or company may submit up to three (3) separate entries.
  • Eligible participants from the National competition may also enter the International competition as well.
Criteria

Submissions must:

  • Be forward looking and use the most advanced civilian UAV technology available
  • Describe the human need
  • Describe the proposed solution for meeting that need
  • Describe how it will be done

Submissions can suggest new ways of improving an existing service using drones, or new kinds of services that could be practically and economically implemented through these technologies.

Submissions must also be:

  • Fully autonomous
  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Economical
Categories

Submissions to the International competition can address any human need, service improvement or public good. This could include:

  • Disaster relief
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Economic development
  • Public health
  • Education
  • Civil defense
  • Logistics
  • Environment
  • Etc.

Concepts need not be 100% ready to deploy today, but must push the boundaries of what may be possible in the coming 1 to 3 years.

This could include applications to disaster relief, humanitarian aid, or any number of government services or useful applications.

Timeline & Key Dates

The International competition has three phases:

  • Phase 1: Open Call – 11th of May to 1st of August, 2014
  • Phase 2: Semi-finals – 15th of August to 15th of November, 2014
  • Phase 3: Finals – 1st of December, 2015 to 1st of January, 2015
Phase 1: Open Call

Phase 1 begins on the 11th of May. The goal of Phase 1 is to come up with the best idea for improving human lives through drone-based services. Participants have until the 1st of May to complete their registration, create a 2 minute video describing their idea, and submit a video to the competition website. A long-list of semi-finalists will be announced by the 1st of August.

Phase 2: Semi-finals

Phase 2 begins on the 15th of August, with the announcement of the long-list of semi-finalists. The goal of Phase 2 is to describe a complete technical solution for your service idea. Semi-finalists will need to submit a detailed technical proposal describing how their service idea will be delivered. Full technical documentation must be upload to the competition website by the 15th of November, 2014.

Phase 3: Finals

The final round of the International competition begins on the 1st of December, 2014 with the announcement of the short-list of finalists. The goal of the Final Phase is to address concerns raised in Phase 2 and demonstrate the actual service. Finalists must prepare a short presentation outlining the technical, functional and economic aspects of their service, as well as perform a live demonstration in front of a panel of judges in Dubai on January 1st, 2015. The winner will be selected and announced one month later at the Government Summit in Dubai, February 8th, 2015.

Award
  • All semi-finalists of the International competition will receive $5,000 USD to develop and improve their prototype.
  • All finalists for the International competition will be flown to Dubai, UAE for the final presentation and award, with their accommodation and other expenses covered.
  • The 1st place winner of the International competition will receive $1 million USD.
How to Submit

To submit, participants must do the following:

Phase 1: Open Call
  • Step 1: Register on this website
  • Step 2: Upload a 1 to 2 minute video describing your service concept
    Your Video submission should:

    • Describe the service need
    • Describe the proposed solution for meeting that need
    • Describe how it will be done
    • Be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video-sharing website, set to private, and the link should be pasted into the submission form.
  • Step 3: Describe your service idea in 500 words or less
Phase 2: Semi-Finalists

A group of candidates from the open call will then be selected as semi-finalists. They will be selected based on the quality of their idea, the importance of their service, and the feasibility of their concept.

Semi-finalists will be invited to submit a detailed technical proposal that must include:

  • Detailed description of the service including:
    • 3 to 5 minute video
    • 2,000 to 5,000 word write-up describing the full service
  • A technical report detailing:
    • Plans & schematics of how it will work
    • Components used
    • Flight time, speed and range
    • Operating system
    • Take off and landing
    • Power source
    • Avionics, sensors / optics
    • Cargo system
    • Tracking / management system
    • Etc
  • Estimated cost
  • Safety, security and regularity issues raised
  • Other limitations of the service and proposed solutions

Semi-finalists will be judged by a dedicated Technical Committee from around the world, based on their assessment of the feasibility and technical aspects of the proposed service.

Phase 3: Finalists

A small group of finalists will then be selected from the semi-final proposals. Finalists will be flown to Dubai in January to give a live presentation and demonstration of their service in front of a panel of final judges. The winner will be chosen and announced one month later, on February 8th, 2015, at the Government Summit in Dubai.

In their presentation Finalists must:

  • Describe the service
  • Describe the need
  • Describe the technical system
  • Describe the feasibility of the approach
  • Address any technical concerns raised by the Technical Committee

Points will be awarded based on the importance of the service, the feasibility of the proposal, the strength of the presentation, and the results of the live demonstration. The winner will be selected by the Judging Panel and announced at the Government Summit 2015.

Want to be a change agent in India – Your New PM wants You

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

Reaching out to people particularly youth is no new thing PM designate Narendra Modi. He has proved his mettle in savvy usage of technology and social media to connect with Youth Voters msot of which were first time voters too. From conducting google hangouts to tweeting he has been there and dont that.

It is no wonder that he is building his next army of social change using the motivated crowd that want to be the change and make the change. The target now is “Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat”

You can sign up as a volunteer at this page.

ekbharat shreshth bharat

In gujarat there is a scheme called Shramdhan where any aam aadmi can sign up to work on projects and contribute upto 100 hours of social work to government. Its a new way of engaging citizens directly harnessing ideas and energy to government goals.

The focus of the next five years is going to be sanitation and cleanliness. In fact varanasi has already started shramdaan to clean up its areas. We can expect more such activities pan-india scale. Go ahead Sign Up and Be the Change that you want to see in India.

Here the Government – By the Crowd, For the Crowd and Of the Crowd.

Taking Broadband and WiFi to where it doesnt Go [Hint: Rural areas]

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

Big Telecom always runs behind big money. Telecom companies are not interested to provide voice or data services in rural areas due to various reasons. That is the reason the Government of India brought in the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to cross subsidise rural service providers to cover the losses they make.

Reliance Jio was the first company to get pan India license to roll out 4G services and they choose 5000 towns in India covering 90% of the urban population and some 215,000 villages. Jio acquired pan-India airwaves in the 2300 MHz band four years ago but is yet to roll out services.

Reliance Jio is expected to launch services soon well ahead of the May 2015 deadline under licence conditions. Reliance Jio is said to be planning for services like live TV (Jio Play), video-on-demand (Jio World), Cloud-based sync and storage (Jio Drive), and video calls over 4G network and other apps.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat Reliance jio rolled out 4G public wifi but doubts were raised about the actual speeds. The service was launched by the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi under the e-Nagar project. But the irony of the face is that with 150 KM (100 miles) of Ahmedbad even 2G connectivity is hard to come by. All free Wifi zones are highly urbanized areas or in restricted places like Airports and malls.

In India WiFi is available in all sorts of places except rural areas. The first step is always the urban area and rural areas receive step motherly treatment. The urban areas have multiple access options for internet, while the rural areas are left with no option. That is why in Mexico the Talea De Castro, a rural community set up its own mobile network.

It took the country 10 years to go from 10 million Internet users to 100 million Internet users. Now the country is adding five million new Internet users every month. India now has over 200 million Internet users. This year the number ofInternet users in India will surpass that of U.S. and it will be 500 million by 2018, most of it is likely to be urban users than rural users.

Hon. PM Narendra Modi spelt out a vision for Digital India from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2014 in his Independence Day speech. Digital India project’s main aim is to “transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy”.

Nine growth areas identified under Digital India are:

  1. Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India
  2. Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to every nook and corner of India
  3. Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public WiFis)
  4. eGovernance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less environment will be encouraged
  5. e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered
  6. Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information using the Internet as a medium)
  7. Electronics manufacturing
  8. IT for Jobs
  9. Early harvest program

Government of India spelt out a vision of providing fibre optic connectivity to 250,000 village by 2017. But the ambitious National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) is already facing trouble when companies like BSNL, Railtel and other backbone owners are reluctant to let out their excess capacity.

About a third of India’s 252 million internet users, and a fourth of mobile internet users, are in rural areas. But internet penetration in villages, at 8.6% compared to 37.4% in cities, has a long way to go, and this is the statistics Digital India hopes to change. Broadband in India is currently defined as a connection with a minimum download speed of 512 kilo bytes per second (kbps), and India’s broadband penetration is a lowly 2%. Broadband connected villages can transform the lives of people, connect them with livelihood opportunities and bridge the knowledge divide.

As per a World Bank report, a 10% increase in a country’s broadband connections leads to a 1.38% rise in its gross domestic product. This Rural-Urban divide and the Digital Divide has to be addressed quickly and with full force if we are to fully utilize the contribution of the Rural sector to the economy.

It is imperative to look into other options to make rural broadband and rural wifi as a profitable proposition in rural areas. There is a need to create new models of broadband access depending on local needs and resources. Left to the market forces the Broadband is not going to go all places that we want it to.

Drones for Good Award gets exciting entries from saving lives to crisis control

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

We had earlier written about Harnessing technology to improve the life of people, the UAE Drones for Good Award which had received huge response.

drone for good

 Thirty-nine contestants have made it to the semi-finals of the national, international and government levels at the UAE Drones for Good Award.

The entrants offer innovative solutions in the provision of services that benefit humanity, especially in areas such as disaster relief, public health, agriculture, environment, town planning, and logistics.

The successful entries to the semi-final stage have come from countries ranging from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Sudan to Australia, Germany, Canada, the US, UK, Spain, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and Singapore.

Drone for Organ transport, landmine detection

A team from Spain have designed a drone that can transport organs for transplant from donor centres to the receiver efficiently and in short periods of time, thus keeping the organ alive and reducing chances of rejection. All the logistics process involving the donation and transplantation is remodelled; coordinating the communication between hospitals and creating a digital database to collect and organise all the data, streamlining the process and reducing costs and possible document losses. Our project would go a step further in the medical system, saving more lives.

A project that makes landmine detection not only efficient but also safe was also from spain. There are over 70 countries that have landmines buried in their soil, creating new victims to these deadly weapons every year. Current methods of landmine detection are slow and dangerous so we developed a method to detect mines from the air that doesn’t put people at risk.

Towing flood victims to develivering packages

Tomasz Marek Muszynski from Poland has combined observation, communication and rescue capabilities in one system to develop a drone that can detect drowning people, ensure their safety through wireless audio-video transmission system, and even help tow them to the coast at a speed controlled by a lifeguard.

Clinton Burchat from Australia has come up with a project that eliminates the need for a large yard for drones to make package deliveries.

“Current drone delivery methods require you to have a large yard. The delivery is usually done either by landing the drone in your yard or by dropping the package down on a string. Both these solutions pose danger to the recipient, including people, pets and children. The idea of my proposal is to not only to make drone delivery accurate by the millimetre but also to make it safer at the same time,” said Clinton.

Florian Seibel and his team’s Quantum project combines the advantages of a helicopter with that of a fixed-wing plane to create a drone that can fly longer, further and safer. According to Florian, due to its high payload capacity and the ability to travel more than 500km, the Quantum drone can be deployed in a number of areas such as agriculture, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and logistic purposes.

A team from Singapore has submitted a project to develop an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a “built-in fail-safe” and “sense-and-avoid” functions, making it capable of delivering cargos efficiently and safely.

Mouza Ahmad Al Shemaili and his team, also from the UAE, have developed a multi-copter brand, Ultimate-UAV, which eliminates fog from the atmosphere in an eco-friendly way. “Our aim is to help drivers by reducing the dangers from low visibility on roads during foggy weather. In addition, the project will support civil aviation by helping avoid airport closures and flight delays, or flight manoeuvre above airports, which increases pollution,” said Mouza.

Khaled Abdelgawad from Saudi Arabia, whose project uses drones to map and track disaster zones to assist effective rapid response to crisis situation, said: “Our technology provides first responders with situational awareness, mapped damage, established target areas for disaster relief, effective communication with coordinated response plan, and aid in search and rescue efforts to identify survivors and recover the lost.”

The project submitted by Jussi Angesleva and his team from Germany uses drones to provide a bird’s-eye view of large architectural structures, which are difficult to appreciate at ground level. Explaining the way the drone project functions, Jussi said: “The flight path is predefined and autonomous, but the view that the audience gets is freely adjustable.”

Marco Urs Wuethrich from New Zealand has devised a drone that is capable of providing aerial support to coastguard rescue vessels searching for people or boats in distress situations.

The Flyability team from Switzerland has developed Gimball, a drone that can enter confined spaces and fly safely close to humans, proving to be very effective in rescue missions. “Our game-changing drone is capable of colliding with obstacles without losing its stability and, is protected by a rotating cage around, making it possible to fly very close to humans,” said Patrick Thevoz, one of the members of the Flayability team.

Alex Ramirez-Serrano from Canada has come up with a highly manoeuverable UAV that can help locate and rescue persons from buildings on fire, collapsed building, mines, or other urban and industrial entrapments.

While drones are feared as being threat to privacy and security, we are seeing UAVs with civil motive of helping make a difference to peoples lives. Govepreneurs can sense many a startup opportunity to create new projects or create a new market in this new Drone wave.

Superpublic – Innovation Space for Goverment Academia and Industry

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

superpublic logo

SUPERPUBLIC is an Innovation Lab and collaborative space in San francisco city where federal, state, and city government come together with academia and the private sector to address policy and regulatory issues.

SUPERPUBLIC is the USA’s first collaborative workspace and Innovation Lab to provide a neutral space where the private sector, the public sector, nonprofits, and academia can come together and work to solve urban problems.

SUPERPUBLIC’s founding team includes the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, City Innovate Foundation, and General Services Administration, and UC Berkeley.  Additional partners in this effort include the Center for Design Research at Stanford University and MIT Media Lab.

The goal of SUPERPUBLIC is to do work that benefits a network of 100 inclusive metros. This network consists of cities, state, regional, and federal government officials committed to work together to solve urban problems, share best practices, and build capacity to test, learn, and pilot emerging technologies.

Focus areas:

  • Digital Services in Government
  • Urban Mobility
  • Changing Models for Procurement

The Concept of Superpublic originated  from France  where innovation teams from several French regions and government agencies work together.

  • Superpublic is the first space ever entirely devoted to innovation in the public sector.
  • To reinvent the way in which public policy is designed and implemented, free zones where it’s possible and encouraged to think out of the box are needed – open and neutral resource spaces with the capacity to reunite outstanding capabilities in public innovation. That’s what Superpublic is all about.
  • Covering an area of 300 square meters, Superpublic is designed and equipped to conduct creative design workshops, develop prototypes for innovating projects, organize encounters, set up specialized training sessions and share resources and workspace in a collaborative approach.
  • A space for co-working
  • Superpublic welcomes, on a full-time basis, both public and private structures that devote their activity to public innovation.
  • Superpublic’s purpose is to allow all disciplines, capabilities and public and private structures involved in transforming public policy to meet with each other and to interact.

How civic intelligence can teach what it means to be a citizen

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

Douglas Schuler, Evergreen State College

Civic Intelligence converts the real value of peoples preferences and will into formal structure of democracy. It is the real energy that activates the democratic process. – Govpreneur

This political season, citizens will be determining who will represent them in the government. This, of course, includes deciding who will be the next president, but also who will serve in thousands of less prominent positions.

But is voting the only job of a citizen? And if there are others, what are they? Who decides who will do the other jobs – and how they should be done?

The concept of “civic intelligence” tries to address such questions.

I’ve been researching and teaching the concept of “civic intelligence” for over 15 years. Civic intelligence can help us understand how decisions in democratic societies are made now and, more importantly, how they could be made in the future.

For example, my students and I used civic intelligence as the focus for comparing colleges and universities. We wanted to see how well schools helped educate their students for civic engagement and social innovation and how well the schools themselves supported this work within the broader community.

My students also practiced civic intelligence, as the best way of learning it is through “real world” projects such as developing a community garden at a high school for incarcerated youth.

So what is civic intelligence? And why does it matter?

Understanding civic intelligence

Civic intelligence describes what happens when people work together to address problems efficiently and equitably. It’s a wide-ranging concept that shows how positive change happens. It can be applied anywhere – from the local to the global – and could take many forms.

For example, civic intelligence was seen in practice when representatives of the world’s governments created and unanimously approved a global action plan last year in Paris. While climate change remains an immense threat, this global cooperation involving years of dedicated debate and discussion produced a common framework for action for worldwide reduction of greenhouse gases.

Civic intelligence describes when people work together to address problems.
Takver, CC BY-SA

Another example is that of mayors around the world establishing networks such as the Global Parliament of Mayors to bring elected officials together on a regular basis to discuss issues facing cities, such as housing, transportation and air quality. One of these networks, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, was launched when representatives of the world’s 40 largest cities wanted to collaborate to address climate change.

Similarly, millions of researchers, teachers, artists, other individuals and NGOs worldwide are working to improve their cities and communities. These efforts are amazingly diverse.

In one such case, groups of church members and others from the community in Olympia, Washington, worked for several years with homeless people and families to develop affordable housing solutions. And in Brooklyn, a group of young people started an experimental School of the Future to develop their ideas on what schools could or should be.

What’s the history?

The term “civic intelligence” was first used in English in 1898 by an American clergyman Josiah Strong in his book “The Twentieth Century City” when he wrote of a “dawning social self-consciousness.”

Untold numbers of people have been thinking and practicing civic intelligence without using the term. A brief look at some notable efforts reveals some historic approaches to its broader vision. Let’s take a few:

Laurie Chipps, CC BY-ND
  • John Dewey, the prominent social scientist, educator and public intellectual, was absorbed for much of his long professional life with understanding how people pool their knowledge to address the issues facing them.
  • The American activist and reformer Jane Addams, who in 1889 cofounded the Hull House in Chicago, which housed recent immigrants from Europe, pioneered scores of civically intelligent efforts. These included free lectures on current events, Chicago’s first public playground and a wide range of cultural, political and community research activities.

Civic intelligence today

There are more contemporary approaches as well. These include:

  • Sociologist Xavier de Souza Briggs’ research on how people from around the world have integrated the efforts of civil society, grassroots organizations and government to create sustainable communities.
  • With a slightly different lens, researcher Jason Corburn has examined how “ordinary” people in economically underprivileged neighborhoods have used “Street Science” to understand and reduce disease and environmental degradation in their communities.
  • Elinor Ostrom, recently awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, has studied how groups of people from various times and places managed resources such as fishing grounds, woodlots and pastures by working together collectively to preserve the livelihoods’ sources for future generations.

Making use of civic intelligence

Civic intelligence is generally an attribute of groups. It’s a collective capability to think and work together.

Advocates and practitioners of civic intelligence (as well as many others) note that the risks of the 21st century, which include climate change, environmental destruction and overpopulation, are quantitatively and qualitatively unlike the risks of prior times. They hypothesize that these risks are unlikely to be addressed satisfactorily by government and other leaders without substantial citizen engagement.

Civic intelligence reminds us that citizens assume responsibility.
Gonzale, CC BY-NC

They argue that with or without formal invitations, the citizen must assume more responsibility for the state of the world, especially since in some cases the leaders themselves are part of the problem.

“Ordinary” people could bring many civic skills to the public sphere, such as innovation, compassion and heroism that are indispensable to the decision-making processes.

That is what brought about changes such as human rights, overturning slavery and the environmental movement. These were initiated not by businesses or governments, but by ordinary people.

Twenty-first century civics

The civics classes that are required in the public schools mostly focus on conventional political processes. They might teach about governance in a more conventional way, such as how many senators there are (100) or how long their terms are (six years). But self-governance needs more than that.

At a basic level, “governance” happens when neighborhood groups, nonprofit organizations or a few friends come together to help address a shared concern.

Their work can take many forms, including writing, developing websites, organizing events or demonstrations, petitioning, starting organizations and, even, performing tasks that are usually thought of as “jobs for the government.”

And sometimes “governance” could even mean breaking some rules, possibly leading to far-reaching reforms. For example, without civil disobedience, the U.S. might still be a British colony. And African-Americans might still be forced to ride in the back of the bus.

As a discipline, civic intelligence provides a broad focus that incorporates ideas and findings from many fields of study. It involves people from all walks of life, different cultures and circumstances.

A focus on civic intelligence could lead directly to social engagement. I believe understanding civic intelligence could help address the challenges we must face today and tomorrow.

The Conversation

Douglas Schuler, Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Evergreen State College

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
The Conversation