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  • May 22, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: 100 teams teaching public servants future skills

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Top Stories

Mapped: 100 teams teaching public servants the skills of the future. Government employees need to be innovative, data-driven and digital-focused to tackle today’s wicked problems. In the world’s first Government Learning Directory, we highlight teams around the world devoted to helping civil servants excel. (Apolitical)

Christian Bason: Governments aren’t investing in good leadership, at their own risk. They recognise professional and analytic capabilities, rather than the interpersonal and strategic traits characteristic of visionary leaders. Government needs to reward those traits, and find ways to help others learn them. (Christian Bason, Danish Design Centre)

Want to learn from one of the most ambitious digital revolutions in the world? In this 10-minute Leadership Lab, Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer, shares five tips to help you launch your own digital transformation — or simply modernise your department. (Apolitical)

Falling trust in government is threatening democracy — so Canada is going ‘open by default’. By making information and data available to all citizens, the country is giving citizens the tools they need to hold government agencies to account and participate in policymaking. (Joyce Murray, Treasury Board of Canada)

Parental leave policy: How to make dads take time for their kids. When they do, children make developmental gains and both partners benefit in and out of the workplace. Here’s how a ‘use it or lose it’ approach has boosted paternal leave in Sweden, Norway and Quebec. (Apolitical)


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Evolving Cities

The more beautiful a city is, the better it is at attracting jobs and new residents. That’s according to a new study, which examines the connection between urban amenities — such as parks, historic spaces, coastlines, mountains and bodies of water — and economic growth. (CityLab)

Chicago may have uncovered the secret to quelling local opposition to public housing. It won over resistant community groups by installing public libraries in the housing projects, which have swiftly attracted students, retirees, toddlers and job-seekers. (The New York Times)

Energy, Environment and Economic Opportunity

These 15 cities are doing the most to combat climate change. In many countries, it’s cities — not national governments — leading the fight to slash pollution: Reykjavik, for example, is already running on 100% renewables. Boston, London and Sydney top the list of cities leading the charge. (Bloomberg)

China built a facial recognition app for pandas. It will draw from more than 120,000 pictures and 10,000 videos of giant pandas to identify the animals. The technology will help researchers analyse data on giant pandas, which are a vulnerable species, both in captivity and in the wild. (The Washington Post)


“Good leadership includes a powerful mixture of strong interpersonal skills, high individual integrity and huge strategic bandwidth. These are not abilities anyone is born with; these are abilities that can be learned, honed and developed” — Christian Bason, CEO of the Danish Design Centre

Governance and Citizen Engagement

Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. The legislature approved the bill on Friday in a landmark decision for gay rights, which have lagged in the rest of the region. Taiwan is the twenty-eighth country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry. (Reuters)

Finland is winning the war on fake news — and other countries have a lot to learn. All students learn to examine claims found on social media, identify bias in ‘clickbait’ articles and understand how misinformation preys on emotions. They even practice writing their own fake news stories. (CNN)

And finally

Jacinda Ardern returned a $5 bribe from the dragon lobby. An 11-year-old aspiring dragon trainer wrote to New Zealand’s prime minister, hoping to persuade her to fund research on the mythical creatures. Ardern’s response included a subscript: “P.S. I’ll still keep an eye out for those dragons. Do they wear suits?” (NPR)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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