• News
  • February 6, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: Data and coding guide for policymakers; policy quiz

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Top Stories

How to use data and coding in your work: A guide for policymakers. Data science and programming underpin the key technologies driving change in our societies, making it ever more important for public servants to learn them. Here’s how to get started. (James Smith and Padraig Alton, Apolitical)

Government innovation: What is it, and why do we need it? In this explainer, we break down what the trendy term really means, how you can harness it in your own work and why the best innovations aren’t necessarily flashy, tech-based — or even new. (Apolitical)

These are the nine policies your country needs to curb violence now. Community policing, smart urban design, positive parenting and trauma-sensitive prison reform — creative policies like these are drastically reducing violence all over the world. (Apolitical)

News quiz: How much do you really know about global policy? Find out whether you’re a policy wonk or a news newbie with our current events quiz, which tests whether you’re up-to-date with the latest news and trends in government. (Apolitical)


We will be in Dubai next week, where we’re partnering with the World Government Summit. If you’re going and want to meet, let us know.

Evolving Cities

Bari, Italy will pay residents to ride bikes. Starting this month, the city will fit up to 1,000 people’s bikes with GPS devices to measure how far they travel. Cyclists can earn $0.23 per kilometre, with a maximum monthly payout of $29. Paris and Milan have tried similar programs with mixed results. (CityLab)

Governance and Engagement

Canada convened a task force to fight fake news in the run-up to its national election. It will spend $5.3 million on public information campaigns and digital literacy programs designed to protect the 2019 vote from disinformation and foreign interference. (CTV News)

Education and Changing Jobs

Schools in England are adding mindfulness to their curriculum. Students in up to 370 schools will learn relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and other tools to help them control their emotions. It’s part of a study on how to improve youth mental health. (The New York Times)

Gender Equality

New York City has launched a unit to fight workplace harassment. It will look into claims, intervene to help victims and investigate companies where intimidation is found to be widespread. It will also offer free online sexual harassment training and education on gender identity and expression. (Smart Cities Dive)


“You can’t fully grasp public sector innovation looking through the same lens as you would the private sector” — Ole Bech Lykkebo, head of analysis at Denmark’s Centre for Offentlig Innovation

Technology Frontiers

Washington, DC is giving its poorest communities free tech support. DC’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer sends its own technicians to local libraries, where they help residents fix broken smartphones and computers. The goal is to help close the city’s digital divide. (CityLab)

Energy, Environment and Economic Opportunity

China is building 10 ‘waste-free’ cities. They will encourage green development, urban planning and lifestyles, with the goal of eliminating trash completely. The country is currently facing a waste backlog of 60-70 billion tonnes. (Reuters)

And finally

Japan’s next big innovation: flushable adult diapers. In the world’s most aged society, elderly care products are a huge business — and Japan’s ministry of land and infrastructure wants in on the action. It’s currently working on a diaper prototype, which it says will reduce caregivers’ workload. (Quartz)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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