• News
  • May 8, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: Agile government guide; support for innovators

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Top Stories

Agile working: A guide for government. Agile, a product management tool borrowed from the tech sector, promises to ‘de-risk’ public sector innovation. Here’s how it can help civil servants respond to problems more quickly and collaborate with other departments — and citizens — more easily. (Apolitical)

Saving the unicorns: How to make government less lonely for trailblazers. Innovating means constantly pushing up against the boundaries of bureaucracy, which can be draining. Convening ‘support meetings’ for change-makers is one way to help them thrive. (Miki Stricker-Talbot, the City of Edmonton)

Want to know the secret to getting the best out of your team? In a 10-minute video, organisational psychology expert Adam Grant reveals lessons from business that every public sector leader should know — including how to fight groupthink and hire the best people. Watch now.

Ten years on: What’s next for behavioural insights? There are now over 200 nudge units across governments, from Rio’s City Hall to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health. The next step is for these units to begin sharing evidence and experience, so they can better learn from successes and mistakes. (Faisal Naru, the OECD)

The health sector’s gender pay gap is a problem for everyone. Women make up 70% of the world’s health workers, yet men occupy three-quarters of senior roles. To close the gap, governments need to invest in better data-gathering and put strong parental leave and flexible work policies in place. (Apolitical)


Want to be a great storyteller? Join us for a free online workshop that will equip you with the tools to frame contested narratives — using migration, one of today’s most complex policy areas, as a case study. Save Your Spot.

Evolving Cities

After neo-Nazis killed a teenager, a Swedish city launched a pioneering anti-racism program. The Kungälv model teaches students how to deal with their anger, using workshops and visits to Holocaust sites. It’s been replicated in more than 60 schools, where 800 teenagers undergo the program yearly. (The Guardian)

Los Angeles County has overhauled its voting system, offering a model for the rest of the US. It replaced ageing, malfunctioning and vulnerable machines with open-source technology that has sophisticated protections against hacking. It will also let voters cast ballots over 11 days, instead of 13 hours. (NBC News)

Laser beams and flickering lights warn ‘smartphone zombies’ in Islan, South Korea to pay attention. Multicoloured lights flash across zebra crossings whenever a vehicle approaches a pedestrian. South Korea has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate, and one of the worst road fatality rates. (Reuters)

Health and Ageing

Germany may fine anti-vaxx parents $2,800. A new proposed law, due to come into effect in 2022, would make vaccination mandatory for children in schools and nurseries, as well as teachers and medical staff. Parents will need to provide evidence of their kids’ vaccinations. (CNN)


“We need to be willing to experiment, to fail forward, and seek solutions to wicked problems. We unfortunately can’t do that if people who epitomise this knowledge keep leaving government” — Miki Stricker-Talbot, intrapreneur at the City of Edmonton

Technology Frontiers

New York City has made it easy for citizens to find out which public benefits they’re eligible for. A public API pulls information to let residents know which of more than 30 social service benefits — at state, local and federal levels — they quality for. It also helps them prepare applications. (Govtech)

Gender Equality

France has handed out 447 fines for street harassment in the past eight months. The “outrages sexistes law”, passed in 2018, issues on-the-spot fines of up to $840 for anything from groping to wolf-whistling. France’s equality minister said the deterrent “will grow in power”. (BBC)

And finally

A Philippine town banned gossip. Spreading rumours will earn residents a $4 fine and litter-picking duty in the town of Binalonan, where hearsay about scandals, affairs, bankruptcies and divorces has grown so severe that the council has had to step in. The ban has already curbed disputes, said the mayor. (The Guardian)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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