Public Policy

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Wilber Baan.
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The Risks and Responsibilities of Tech Innovation

The introduction of Google’s breakthrough wearable computer, Google Glass, creates numerous possibilities for risky behavior on the part of Glass users. Should companies on the cutting be held responsible for their customers’ poor judgment in using new tech? There are legal and social precedents that say they should, but business and corporate responsibility expert Christine Bader suggests ways companies can combat this problem.

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No Free Market for Energy

The idea that energy is a “free-market good” is a myth that needs to be abandoned. Subsidies for energy exist for good reason. The authors argue that in order to wean ourselves off hydrocarbon dependence, U.S. and global policies that subsidize oil and gas production at higher rates than renewable energy production need to be changed to reduce the bias in favor of hydrocarbons.

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Five Steps to Digitally Transforming City Government

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Boston Mayor Tom Menino is almost radically tech averse, yet he’s led a revamp of a customer relationship management system that has transformed the way the city, its workers, and its citizens interact. Starting with its Citizens Connect app (initially for better pothole reporting), Boston has expanded its data interface to allow faster turnaround times for repair, and has even held a competition across departments to reward the quickest response to citizen requests.

Image courtesy of Flickr user mr_g_travels.
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The 2012 Olympic Games: Will Data Save the Day?

Data analysis is being used during the Olympic Games for everything from ensuring a smooth flow of commuter traffic to generating a multi-colored light show on the London Eye each night based on Twitter feed sentiments.

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A Future of Uncontrolled Decline?

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The planet’s focus today should be on resiliency rather than on sustainability, says Dennis Meadows, one of the original authors of the 1972 book Limits to Growth. That book was one of the first scholarly works to recognize that the world was approaching its sustainable limits.

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BBC Web Game Lets You Feel Full Force of Political Decisions

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The BBC’s free web-based game Climate Challenge lets you to take a shot at cutting down on green house gases while growing the economy, staying on budget, and keeping the public happy. Play it too aggressively and you’ll get voted out of office. You may even be told, “You were a deeply unpopular leader who cared nothing for the happiness of the population.”

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Is Wiki-Style Collaboration Among Nation States Doable?

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“The World Economic Forum is quickly morphing from a once-a-year talkathon into a year-round network of leaders and leading thinkers tackling global problems – from think tank to do tank.”

So says Don Tapscott, co-author of Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World (Portfolio Hardcover, September 2010).

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Cancun Climate Conference: Talking Points

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In the opening speech for the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, which started November 29 and runs through December 10, Mexican President Felipe Calderón cited last year’s hurricane in Mexico, this year’s floods in Pakistan, and fires in Russia as examples of natural disasters brought about by climate change

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Tax Cuts — or Tax Increases — for the Rich?

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U.S. President Barack Obama declared this week that he is in favor of letting tax cuts for the rich expire; those tax cuts were enacted under George W. Bush.

Letting all the Bush-era tax cuts (for both the wealthy and others) expire would aid the U.S.

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Mitigating Climate Risks: The Business Challenge

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Think about the challenges involved in combating climate change, and issues like international cooperation, public opinion, public policy and technological innovation may all come to mind. But there's another key topic that may not come to mind quite as readily -- and that's a business challenge.

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Shifting Paradigms in Innovation

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Traditionally, we have tended to think of businesses (or individuals who then start businesses) as the principal source of innovative new products or services in a market economy.  But, in a thought-provoking new working paper, Carliss Y.

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How This Financial Crisis Isn’t Different

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Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff gave a fascinating guest lecture at MIT earlier this week -- looking at commonalities in a number of financial crises. Rogoff, who recently coauthored a new book, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly with Carmen M.

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The Business of Sustainability: What It Means to Managers Now

How are sustainability pressures altering the competitive landscape, and how are businesses responding? The first annual Business of Sustainability Survey and interview project found that a strong consensus of managers believe sustainability is having and will continue to have a material impact on how companies think and act.

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Debating Offshoring’s Impact

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Too often, discussions of contemporary economic issues end up either overly simplified for popular consumption -- or too jargony and technical to be followed by anyone but economists. A new book, Offshoring of American Jobs: What Response from U.S.

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Asia, the U.S., and innovation

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There’s plenty of optimism to be heard about Asia’s innovation future — but less optimism about the U.S.’s ability to maintain its historical innovation leadership in the 21st century.

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Innovation news

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Two pieces of news:
1) Some companies are trying an approach to launching products that involves less up-front market research and more experimentation in the marketplace.
2) Innovation is on the agenda of the U.S.’s new CTO.

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