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Stephen Goldsmith

Stephen Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He previously served as Deputy Mayor of New York and Mayor of Indianapolis, where he earned a reputation as one of the country's leaders in public-private partnerships, competition and privatization. Stephen was also the chief domestic policy advisor to the George W. Bush campaign in 2000, the Chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the district attorney for Marion County, Indiana from 1979 to 1990. He has written The Power of Social Innovation; Governing by Network: the New Shape of the Public Sector; Putting Faith in Neighborhoods: Making Cities Work through Grassroots Citizenship; The Twenty-First Century City: Resurrecting Urban America, and The Responsive City: Engaging Communities through Data-Smart Governance.

January 5, 2021

5 Ways COVID-19 Pushed Digital Services into the Spotlight

From fast-paced development and a focus on equity to GIS work and contact tracing, the pandemic showed that, despite challenges, digital services are crucial to making government work well today.

April 2, 2018

3 Consumer Technologies that Will Make a Difference in Cities

As more advanced consumer tech comes online, how can cities take advantage of it?

March 1, 2018

Beyond Duck-and-Cover

In an increasingly tech-centric world, emergency preparedness means including data in drills.

January 8, 2018

How Trusting Tech Can Improve Disaster Response

Using data from both government and volunteer sources is key to an effective disaster response strategy.

December 1, 2017

Effective Engagement Combines Innovation with Public Outreach

By pairing the personal with the technical, South Bend, Ind., got the most from its citizen engagement efforts.

October 1, 2017

Doing Away with Government Forms

Limiting the amount of paperwork residents have to fill out could make for easier, more efficient service.

September 1, 2017

Boosting Engagement by Gamifying Government

Nudging resident behavior through friendly competition can encourage participation in activities with social value, while simultaneously improving people's relationship with government.

August 22, 2017

Government Website Redesigns Are a Chance to Re-engineer Underlying Processes

Redesigning a government website should be about more than attractiveness and easy navigation.

July 3, 2017

6 Traits of Productive Hackathons

Civic tech competitions require much more than putting a bunch of developers in a room and letting them go to work.

June 1, 2017

3 Tips for Designing Municipal Tools with Employees in Mind

While many cities offer technical tools to municipal workers, many are not well suited to employees’ needs.

May 2, 2017

How Louisville Embedded Performance Management Into City Departments

By planning strategically and measuring critical operations, the city has improved service delivery.

April 26, 2017

Incentivizing Excellence in Boston Through Results-Driven Contracting

The city implemented a system to measure outcomes and enforce standards in its pavement procurement

April 20, 2017

How Government's Data Can Be Truly Useable

Forget spreadsheets. Visualization is what residents need to be able to drive action on issues.

April 19, 2017

How Kansas City, Mo.’s Data Inventory Led to Better Open Data

The city has developed a comprehensive inventory of every department's data

April 11, 2017

How Seattle Molded an Open Data Policy That Worked for its Residents

For Seattle, it was important to develop a policy that fit the needs of the community, particularly in the realm of privacy.

April 5, 2017

Strategic Goals Help South Bend, Ind., Achieve Accountability

The city has set publicly available, time-bound, and measurable goals to improve performance.

April 4, 2017

How Public-Private Partnerships Can Unlock the Value of an Airport

Can private company that specializes in airport management, with access to worldwide technology and best practices, produce more customer satisfaction, better airline relationships and more net revenue?

March 29, 2017

Certification Program Identifies Clear Indicators for Using Data Effectively

A look at successes of participating cities that highlight exemplars of selected criteria and showcase the range of accomplishments using data.

March 29, 2017

5 Steps to Recruit Tech Talent to Your City

Improving communications to job-seekers and creating a more tech-friendly city environment can go a long way toward appealing to the best of the IT world.

March 6, 2017

Analytics Tools Could Be the Key to Effective Message-Driven Nudging

Using Internet of Things ecosystems, cities can provide residents with real-time information so that they may make better-informed decisions.

February 28, 2017

Social Media’s Growing Utility for Government

Public agencies keep finding creative ways to leverage social media's power for service delivery.

February 23, 2017

How Illinois’ CIO Got Buy-In for the State’s Data Sharing Agreement

In a Q&A, Hardik Bhatt discusses what he learned from the successful completion of the state data sharing agreement.

January 12, 2017

Artificial Intelligence Will Help Create a More Responsive Government

Responsive government requires using the likes of Siri and Alexa to help answer questions and complete simple tasks and commands.

December 12, 2016

Successfully Staffing the Cloud

Innovation starts with revolutionizing the skill set of the IT office.

November 11, 2016

How the Digital Age Asks More of Government than Ever Before

When technologists meet with capable public servants, they not only engender new digital solutions to improve citizens’ lives, but also develop ways of operating government that are leaner, cheaper, and more responsive to civic demands.

November 9, 2016

The Power of Data and Predictive Analytics

To better understand and respond to citizens’ needs and allocate public resources more efficiently, governments must use predictive analytics to leverage data and develop innovative solutions to contemporary urban challenges.

October 20, 2016

Accessible Data Across the Enterprise the Basis for Organizational Wisdom

Common data formats and unified data services lay a foundation for organizational intelligence.

October 19, 2016

A Five-Point Plan to Cultivate Citizen Support for Tech Initiatives

The first (and most obvious) thread in cultivating citizen support is to incorporate the quality, quantify and usability of open data.

September 26, 2016

Data Sharing Should Be Government's Default — Here's Why

It enables more efficient and effective government. The obstacles are often more rooted in folklore than in law.

September 21, 2016

Stakeholders Must Support Initiatives for Tech’s Full Impact to Be Realized (Opinion)

Demonstrating how tech can augment rather than supplant city work can go a long way toward making workers more comfortable with new initiatives.

August 10, 2016

How Jackson, Miss., Used Data to Build a Better City

Mississippi's capital is showing that you don't have to be a Chicago or a New York to make good things happen.

July 26, 2016

Why Dissenting Viewpoints Are Good for Efficiency

Encouraging informed disagreement is the only way a public leader can learn whether an initiative might -- or might not -- succeed.

July 15, 2016

Using Data to Dramatically Enhance County Services, Accountability

County leaders should seek to deploy data for preempting and solving problems, changing accountability and enforcement, and improving customer service.

July 1, 2016

Next Generation of Public Employees Must Understand Data and Policy

Cities need to attract and cultivate a workforce of tech-minded employees who can fully leverage new technologies and data initiatives to promote change and create public value.

June 23, 2016

Using Data Analytics to Curb the Billions We're Wasting in Our Jails

By using data analytics to make decisions about pretrial detention, local governments could find substantial savings while making their communities safer.

June 15, 2016

Chicago’s CIO Addresses IoT Privacy Concerns Through Citizen Engagement

Brenna Berman discusses potential benefits and challenges with the Internet of Things.

June 8, 2016

5 Key Themes to Consider When Implementing Internet of Things Initiatives

Data collected from the Internet of Things must be integrated into existing strategies while keeping new challenges in mind.

May 19, 2016

Using Social Media as a Data-Smart Governance Tool

Cities are learning to mine this trove of information to predict the impact of future events and significantly improve operations.

April 21, 2016

Urban Visionaries Don’t Just Happen

Indianapolis' longtime mayor worked hard at crafting a big idea for his city, and it paid off handsomely.

April 7, 2016

Philadelphia's Streamlined Approach to Procurement Saw Quick Results

The city's FastFWD initiative used a business accelerator to connect interested entrepreneurs with eight city departments for collaborative thinking and development, which resulted in nine pilot projects and two full contracts.

April 5, 2016

How a Simple Data Query Made One D.C. Agency Smarter, More Efficient

Washington, D.C.’s Urban Forestry Administration set an example for cities everywhere about how powerful a new set of data can be when creatively leveraged.

March 21, 2016

4 Steps to Overcoming the Data Gap

Although there’s a void between how cities want to implement data-driven solutions and their ability to do so, there are some strategies that will narrow the disparity.

March 17, 2016

How L.A. Is Managing Mobility to Optimize Transportation

The city is at the forefront of the emerging concept of mobility management.

March 9, 2016

Using Technology to Enhance Civic Engagement

Civic engagement doesn’t happen by default. Technology can help government leaders reach community members.

February 22, 2016

How Proper Snow Removal Can Lead to Community Modernization

St. Paul, Minn., took an unusual path to improving a vital public service, one that holds promise for other city operations.

January 13, 2016

Standards Are Crucial to Successful Open Data Policies

Data standards create a common structure that facilitates information sharing, inter-organizational cooperation and the ability to build on past successes — all important ingredients to driving data-smart innovation.

December 21, 2015

Bloomberg Philanthropies Helps Propel Data-Driven Initiatives

The foundation is providing a useful roadmap for results-oriented governance.

December 4, 2015

How Data-Driven Management Improves City Government Efficiency

Houston's mayor has brought capable city personnel to the forefront of her leadership strategy, using data to efficiently enhance their skills and maximize their impact.

December 1, 2015

Innovation: What’s the Next Phase?

Why government managers need to know about machine learning.

September 30, 2015

New York City CTO Streamlines Tech Strategy

Minerva Tantoco aligns agency efforts with the citywide strategic vision.

September 17, 2015

Data-Driven Governance Goes Mainstream

What began as a niche innovation is creating a wider transformation of government culture.

September 9, 2015

Protecting Big Data

Seattle’s digital privacy initiative aims to keep innovation on track with new data safeguards.

August 21, 2015

Data Analytics Drives Cities to Re-Think How They Protect Health, Safety

Cities are moving toward a regulatory regime that, rather than striving to protect incumbents from competition, attempts to do a better job of protecting health and safety -- and at lower costs to taxpayers.

August 18, 2015

Local Government Leaders Strive to Innovate

Far more than the public realizes, innovators are making extraordinary efforts in communities across America.

July 24, 2015

Analytics with a Side of Discretion

To fully realize the benefits of advanced analytics, government needs to build “documented exceptions” into health inspections.

July 24, 2015

Denver’s Peak Academy Creates Change Agents in Government

The people who deliver services directly to the public know a lot. Denver is setting the pace for tapping that resource.

May 19, 2015

How Cloud-Based Mobility is Delivering Value to Small Cities

The combination of new cloud-accessible, easily implemented customer relationship management technology coupled with mobility enables meaningful results.

April 23, 2015

Bloomberg's $42 Million Bet on Cities and the Power of Data

A new Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative aims to help 100 cities govern more effectively.

April 23, 2015

6 Defining Traits of an Innovation Team Leader

The challenges of directing a city-government "i-team" demand additional characteristics unique to the innovation process.

April 1, 2015

Closing the Digital Divide with Payphones

An innovative solution will bring high-speed Wi-Fi to all New York City residents.

March 19, 2015

The Growing Evidence That P3s Are Delivering Value

Early signs are positive for the latest crop of big infrastructure public-private partnerships.

March 11, 2015

Why Benchmarking Matters

How other cities’ progress should factor into your transparency efforts.

January 12, 2015

5 Tips for Getting Started with Analytics in Government

These five elements can help you make the case for how mobile tools, data mining and cloud software can be combined to improve responsiveness.

December 16, 2014

Doubling Down on the Innovation-Team Model

Another 14 cities are about to build their own "i-teams." No longer an experimental approach, it's a proven route to cross-cutting accomplishments.

December 1, 2014

4 Trends to Watch in 2015

In the New Year, municipalities will face the challenge of ensuring that their data-driven approaches empower them to be responsive to citizens’ wants, needs and ideas.

October 27, 2014

Technology Takes on Hunger

Interactive Web tools and virtual platforms help city officials break down barriers to food access.

October 2, 2014

How Social Media Listening Can Improve Public Health

Citizen-generated data obtained by social media listening is becoming a valuable public health tool.

September 18, 2014

The Core Features of the Data-Powered City

Today's most innovative civic leaders are using technology to fulfill the promise of efficient and responsive local government.

September 9, 2014

Regulatory Reform with Data and Technology

Incorporating digital approaches throughout the regulatory process has shown higher-quality results, far lower transaction costs and fewer job-killing delays.

September 3, 2014

Austin Targets Youth Obesity With Neighborhood-Level Data

Neighborhood-level maps illuminate the conditions faced by families and children in the area, all while protecting personal information.

July 24, 2014

Culture Change at the Waterworks

By investing in customer service and innovation, D.C. Water has done far more than simply rebrand an essential public service.

July 21, 2014

Health Data Isn’t Just for Hospitals

How planners in Oregon and Kentucky use smartphones to collect valuable information.

June 19, 2014

How Indiana Is Supercharging Data for Efficiency

By making all of its data easily and quickly available across agencies, the state stands to save money and improve services.

May 28, 2014

Can Analytics Help Curb Violence?

Promising public safety initiatives are helping make city streets safer for all.

May 1, 2014

Leading Data-Driven Breakthroughs

Creativity and a willingness to take on risk can help unlock data’s value.

March 27, 2014

Data Helps Calculate the True Costs of Blight

A data-rich understanding of properties in distress informs a better plan of attack.

February 24, 2014

3 Ways to Optimize Urban Infrastructure

Descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics help cities do more with less.

February 7, 2014

Big Data Gives a Boost to Health and Human Services

Data mining and predictive analytics will make social service agencies more effective.

December 19, 2013 Lessons from a Fiasco

The botched rollout of the federal health exchange underlines the need for changes in how governments at all levels handle major technology projects.

December 4, 2013

5 Issues to Watch in Data and Technology

As governments are seeking to move toward more effective uses of data, here are five topics to watch in 2014.

November 25, 2013

Can Technology Prevent the Next Galveston?

Smartly deployed, useful and actionable information systems, informed by readily available data, can help alleviate the harmful effects of any disaster.

October 25, 2013

Paint a (Data-Driven) Picture

Visualizing information is the next step in making open data portals more useful to the public.

September 20, 2013

Data Analysis and the Promise of Speedy Government

Combining data with new analytics techniques can help governments react nimbly and purposefully.

September 19, 2013

Open Data’s Road to Better Transit

Utilizing public transit’s mass amount of data can benefit government and citizens alike.

August 26, 2013

Building the Social Town Hall

The four stages of social media and government in 140 characters or fewer.

August 22, 2013

Beyond Customer Service: Cities and the Promise of 311

These customer service systems are evolving into far more than a way to get a pothole filled or graffiti cleaned up.

July 29, 2013

Value Investing: The Case for Technology

Public entities nationwide are incorporating data and technology into their operations and producing new levels of efficiency, community engagement and public value.

July 9, 2013

How Some Cities Are Creating Permanent Pipelines of Innovation

Some cities are finding ways to create the urgency and political will to produce permanent pipelines of innovation.

June 20, 2013

How Louisville, Ky., Is Using a 'Stat' Program to Transform the Culture of Government

Louisville, Ky., is showing how a performance metrics initiative can transform a government's operational culture.

May 22, 2013

To Catch a Sniper

How data analytics are transforming police work and taking criminals off the streets.

March 16, 2011

Weighing the Value of Green Outcomes

"The goal of a clean environment is laudable. But public health benefits and costs have to be part of the equation." -- Stephen Goldsmith

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