What I'm Reading, August 31
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
This edition of "What I'm Reading" is about how cities, corporations, and government agencies can re-invent themselves, and serve their constituents better in the process, and how the world's richest man wants to go about re-inventing K-12 education.
“Tech Start-Ups Surprised to Find Pittsburgh’s Assets Add Up”
Although this article may be a bit of a shameless plug for Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University, it points out that the city is thriving in tech and innovation and in doing so is attracting recent college graduates at a record pace. Moreover, it is not only great schools, an art scene, sports and food; it is “all of the above.”
“How Citizen-Centered Design is Changing the Ways the Government Serves the People”
The concept of human-centered design comes from the work at Stanford's D-School and firms like IDEO. But even more traditional institutions like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are adopting this approach to problem solving that puts the customer at the center of the process. As a member of the MyVA Advisory Committee, I have seen the success of this approach up close but respect the author's disclaimer that governments and even institutions share a sacred covenant of sorts with their citizens so "failing fast forward" must be done with great sensitivity but done nonetheless.
“A Powerful Conversation on Schools, Poverty, and Race”
We are fast approaching a "New Frontier," so to speak, with the emergence of what Bill Gates calls in this article the "New Majority." Classrooms, cities, and communities are on course to be more brown and black than white, which is why Gates and his foundation are focusing on the success of people like Nate Bowling, Washington state's "Teacher of the Year." Bowling's passion is palpable and hopefully contagious and scalable across the United States.
“G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-Up”
Full disclosure: I previously worked at G.E. so I am a believer in CEO Jeff Immelt's ability to execute once management agrees on a strategy. But what is more interesting in this article is (a) the desire of old institutions to remake themselves and (b) the power of predictive analytics. Whether Netflix or G.E. Digital, the internet of things and Big Data are changing how we do things. Our incoming Honors Program students read The Internet of Us by Michael Patrick Lynch for this very reason and I enjoyed hosting them to discuss it. Perhaps Higher Ed can learn a lesson or two from both the article and book?