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Social Innovation in Cities: More Necessary and More Likely Than Ever. Stephen Goldsmith Daniel Paul Professor of Government Director, Innovations in American Government Program Harvard Kennedy School. Social Innovation .
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Daniel Paul Professor of Government
Director, Innovations in American Government Program
Harvard Kennedy School
Social innovation is the spark that brings government, business, nonprofit, and philanthropy together to help people in their everyday lives.
Social innovators (i.e. civic entrepreneurs ) are helping communities to rethink education, housing, health care, and other core safety net programs. They take risks on new or existing ideas to ignite policy change, drive results, and give people real choices. They cut through bureaucracy and eliminate ineffective programs. They demand more of themselves but also of the citizens they serve.
What can cities do to drive local innovation?
Government can’t solve complex horizontal problems with vertical solutions, nor by simply accomplishing bureaucratic activities better.
The role of government is being transformed from direct service provider to generator of public value.
We won’t get the results taxpayers deserve nor citizens require until we figure out how to better manage a government that does less itself and more through third parties.Government Is Changing
to transform existing social conditions in collectively desired directions
Articulate the goal of every activity in terms of the value being created for citizens. For example:
Improved public health, not better Medicaid;
Education for children, not just better public schools
Measure mobility, not new highway lanes or transit lines
Determine if the public good sought is a natural by-product of another, more fundamental good (better jobs create affordable housing as a by-product)
DC General Hospital
DC Health Care Networks, From One to Many
“they served homeless, but they didn’t solve homelessness”
*INDIANA NONPROFITS: IMPACT OF COMMUNITY AND POLICY CHANGES, Survey Report #3 June 2004, see http://www.indiana.edu/~nonprof/results/npsurvey/inscom.html
By highlighting common issues before they occur.
Question: What factors make a building most at risk for fires?
By providing insights that explain common incidents.
Question: Why are there frequent accidents at certain intersections? Which individuals best benefit from job training?
By monitoring areas for improvement.
Question: Which City inspectors are behind schedule?
By providing data-driven solutions to promote more effective business processes.
Question: What are the best routes for City vehicles to take?
Government pays back investor , with bonus
Program exceeds goal
Private investor funds initial years of a social program
Program meets goal
Government pays back investor
Program does not meet goal
Government pays nothing