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  • April 17, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: eBay for government; 31 future of work trends

Our weekly rundown of global policy

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Costa Rica is harnessing citizen engagement to fight climate change. Grassroots organising has both popularised environmental policies and driven decision-makers to rally behind them. Today, some 98% of the country’s energy comes from renewable sources. (Apolitical)

eBay for government? Ukraine’s online store has sales in the billions. A transparent auction system sells everything from failed banks’ million-dollar credit portfolios to public agencies’ old computers. It’s helping to rebuild trust in government — and reinjecting much-needed funds into its coffers. (Sophie Brown, Open Contracting Partnership)

What is the policy cycle, and how can you use it? The framework is employed by policymakers around the world — but is the system really useful in the messy reality of policymaking? After this free 10-minute course, you’ll be able to decide for yourself.

Digital transformation is needed across all government work — here’s how to do it. Bureaucrats are struggling to execute spotty visions of e-government, leaving citizens with sub-par services. To build effective digital systems, we need to open up the entire public service delivery process. (Aare Laponin, E-government Services Development)

From brain boosts to blockchain: 31 trends for the future of work. We may not be able to see into the future — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Strategic foresight can illuminate the changing nature of work, the problems it will bring and how they can be solved. (Jessica Thornton & Heather Russek, The Brookfield Institute)


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Evolving Cities

Uganda is transforming a refugee camp into a permanent city. The government has spent millions making schools, health clinics and other infrastructure permanent. The idea is to build a liveable city for the quarter of a million refugees staying in Bidi Bidi, which is twice the size of Paris. (National Geographic)

London installed short story vending machines for busy commuters. At the touch of a button, readers can choose between one-, three- and five-minute stories across a range of genres, including sci-fi, romance, crime and children’s literature. (Smithsonian)

Safety and Justice

Ecuador legalised gangs, and its murder rate plummeted. Instead of targeting citizens suspected of being members, the government allowed gangs to rebrand themselves as cultural associations. Homicides fell from 15 for every 100,000 people to five for every 100,000. (Vox)

Gender Equality

Postal service-style tracking numbers are helping US rape victims get justice. Rape evidence kits often get lost in the system. Now, 23 states will help survivors track their kits as they move from police to crime lab, the same way they would a package in the mail. (The Atlantic)


“Costa Rica is small and we want to be different — because if you’re not different, you’re irrelevant. We have to punch above our weight” — Monica Araya, founder of Costa Rica Limpia

Technology Frontiers

The UK is using AI assistants to fight loneliness among the elderly. Its national health service will test whether technology like Amazon’s Alexa can make early diagnoses, detect emotion and act as a lifestyle coach for isolated people. If successful, the AI could play a key role in disease prevention. (Govinsider)

Education and Changing Jobs

Agriculture classes are getting city kids into farming. The US agriculture industry has more jobs than it can currently fill. Now, high schools in Illinois, Milwaukee and Iowa are integrating classes on crops and farm animals into their curriculums, exposing students to careers they may not have otherwise considered. (Citylab)

And finally

A secret society is fixing up Rome. The Gap organisation (an acronym that translates to ‘group of artisan emergency services’) is clandestinely — and illegally — patching up potholes and painting pedestrian crossings. Their goal: ‘Make repairs where bureaucracy fails’. (The Guardian)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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