The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on March 14, 2010

  • Terrific post by Andrea DiMaio (of the Gartner Blog Network) that’s a must-read for governments starting on public engagement strategies etc. In particular, final paragraphs are spot-on, given the propensity to use walled gardens (Facebook) or stand-alone portals for “engagement.”

    As I said earlier, when I was giving my sermon about the limited use of citizen-facing portals I had an army of vendors and consultants against me. They were cashing juicy contracts to develop one-stop-shop strategies, maturity assessments, rankings of all sort, and my dissenting voice was suggesting their clients to be more cautious, to do less rather than more.\n\nI have the sneaking suspicion that it is the same right now. Events and seminars, social media strategy toolkits, enterprise social software, more web sites, more storage (possibly in the cloud), you name it: the government 2.0 frenzy implies lots of opportunities for vendors of all sort. My dissenting voice is suggesting that listening on a consumer platform (such as Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter) may be more rewarding than deploying enterprise tools for collaboration and engagement; that piloting with internal (business) resources is more important than engaging social media consultants; that leveraging their employees’ personal networks may give faster results than building a captivating series of pages on Facebook.

    Of course the time for higher profile and more expensive ventures will come (and is already here for some agencies), but could we understand what the people we serve really need and want in the first place?
    Found via Use Your Best Resources to Engage Citizens – Your Employees by Candi Harrison.

    tags: governance, gov2.0, public_participation, andrea_dimaio, gartner

  • Great article that explains how Canada’s taxation system destroys innovation and grass-roots ownership, even under the new Budget 2010 revisions, which were touted by Finance Minister Flaherty as supportive of investment & innovation…

    As an illustration of the dire consequences of the proposed new changes in stock option taxation, we have had to halt the IPO process for a very successful Canadian technology company. Under the proposed new rules, if all 300+ employees exercised all of their vested options at once, post-IPO, the company would have an immediate withholding tax liability of about $20 million. This is a new, open-ended and completely uncontrollable contingent liability. If we happened to get “irrationally exuberant” technology markets again, the liability could be multiples of $20 million.

    tags: canada, taxation, innovation, economic_development, techvibes

  • On policing, police power, and street safety.
    Depending on police to solve all crime problems is equivalent to depending on emergency room doctors to be primary care doctors — it’s expensive, it’s not their job, creates a culture reliant on catastrophe to get any attention, and much better if we prevent the catastrophic stuff from happening in the first place.

    Crime prevention and public safety happens in many ways. “Safe streets” don’t just happen because people with guns, nightsticks, menacing stares, and power trips are always threatening to beat some teenagers into submission.

    I said that “public safety” as currently configured is a “male-centric” solution for a reason.

    If you take a step back, the friction you see between the police and gangs is essentially a bunch of older guys barking at young guys. Mayor Villaraigosa, Chief of Police Charlie Beck, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, less there’s something we don’t know about — all guys. Gangleaders, gang members — usually all guys too.

    I don’t notice too many women involved in these public safety conversations, unless they are UCLA Urban Planning Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris.

    Subject to more threats of attack, women, along with seniors, children, and the disabled would have a better idea of “safer streets” than males. Architect Doug Suisman once said that the best measure of a safety of a public space is to see how many females to males are in a certain area. The more females, the more successful.

    Creating safer streets means lowering the speed limits on streets. When cars exceed 20 mph, the pedestrians and cyclists become uneasy. It’s no wonder, because 85% of individuals will die if struck by a motorist cruising along at 40 mph.

    tags: policing, safety, street_life, streets, los_angeles, gender, cars, public_space

  • Vancouver Sun article by Jonathan Ross (civic affairs commentator at that looks at how Vancouver’s (unique-in-Canada) city charter has allowed staff bureaucracy to wield quite a bit of power behind the scenes, and (it appears) behind the backs of politicians. This is interesting insofar as I had assumed the net positives of Vancouver having a charter, namely that it has greater autonomy vis-a-vis the province. But if the political leadership isn’t able to stand up to staff (which stays the same for years and years, while civic elections bring in new politicians every 3 years), then it makes sense that an all-powerful bureaucracy can develop.

    On the other hand, Vancouver has benefited from its planning department’s vision…

    From the article, just one example of city staff overstepping its boundaries:
    City staff acted unilaterally without the approval of council and, according to the same administrative report, began to “operate beyond its existing budget approval in the spring of 2008.”

    tags: vancouver, bureaucracy, politics, leadership

  • A February 21/10 interview with the inventor of The Bloom Box, an alternative energy generation system.

    tags: bloom_box, fuel_cells, futurismo, eco, alternative_energy, energy, video

  • Collection of Rotman School of Management video presentations by Rotman professors and recent guest speakers, including Mihnea Moldoveanu, Gary Vaynerchuk, Claudia Kotchka, Dev Patnaik, Ajay Agrawal, and Gary Latham.

    tags: rotman, utoronto, business, video, reference

  • Handy reference list of what the big boys consider architecture to watch.

    tags: architecture, starchitecture, businessweek, reference, lists

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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