What We're Reading and Following This Week
Panelists of "What Makes Evaluating Complexity Different?" answer your questions
We eagerly participated and blogged about FSG’s March webinar on evaluating complexity and are thrilled to see that FSG is launching a series of videos in which panelists Cris Kutzli, Mona Jhawar, Hallie Preskill, and Srik Gopal will discuss unanswered questions from the webinar. "We received so many great questions during the event that we couldn’t answer them all during the live Q&A...Here, we continue the conversation in a two-part Google Hangout series with the webinar panelists. In the video below, FSG’s Hallie Preskill and Srik Gopal discuss what it means to take a “complexity lens” during evaluation. Next week, Cris Kutzli and Srik Gopal will discuss keeping an “ear to the ground” while evaluating complex initiatives. Please share any additional questions on evaluating complexity in the comments below!"
Somerville enlists "Secret Residents" to monitor city services
We love this interesting enlistment by the public sector of a practice common in the private sector.
Bill to promote social impact bonds has support in high places
We’re following the progress of social impact bond legislation that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado are working to advance. The bill would appropriate $300 million for state and local social impact bonds over 10 years. Catch up on the bill’s progress by reading this recent piece from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Time to upgrade from the Walkman in education
We enjoyed this recent opinion piece in The Hill from Deborah Smolover, Executive Director of America Forward and Managing Partner of New Profit, and Shirley Sagawa, Senior Policy Adviser for America Forward. Regarding the importance of partnerships, they write, “Encourage school districts that receive funds to engage external partners that offer effective, evidence-based programs. Working alone, most schools do not have the capacity to provide students, teachers, and parents the effective supports and critical resources they need. High quality external partners can bring a fresh perspective and complementary supports to deliver results for learners.”
New MBA program masters the link between government & technology
California College of the Arts in San Francisco recently announced the launch of a new, one-of-a-kind MBA in Civic Innovation that will combine training and education in design, innovation, leadership, and technology. “Delivery of government services is stuck in the horse and buggy era,” Brian Purchia, a communications and policy strategist told California Forward. “Meanwhile Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Google are all based here in California but many of these folks don't know of an opportunity to build a company focused on government software. We have the best and brightest all over California and this MBA will provide training for them."
The future of civic technology
In this Brookings piece (which also was cross-posted on our blog), Hollie Russon Gilman, Civic Innovation Fellow at the New America Foundation, writes, "There are many conversations concerning ‘civic technology,’ or ‘civic tech’ and the opportunities for leveraging digital tools to benefit the public...There is debate about its precise definition including who is even involved in civic tech. For instance, does it include governments seeking to modernize their systems or people sharing resources better? Is it about efficacy or effectiveness? Should the emphasis be on people or politics? Perhaps a definition can be expansive enough to include a variety of actors and activities."
Bloomberg kicks off $42 million "What Works Cities" innovation effort
In case you missed the big news from Bloomberg Philanthropies last week, here’s coverage from Route Fifty: "Bloomberg Philanthropies on Monday unveiled a $42 million initiative to help 100 mid-sized cities use data and evidence to inform policy decisions, improve services and engage the public. Working with partner organizations over three years, the What Works Cities Initiative will seek to assist cities with efforts related to areas such as open data, program evaluation, and data-driven budgeting.”
We now publish a weekly briefing on our blog each Friday to capture the new intersector collaborations surfacing across the United States and new, fascinating research and commentary emerging that provides insight into the intersector – the space where collaboration among government, business, and non-profit sectors enables leaders to share expertise, resources, and authority to address society’s most pressing problems.