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  • June 11, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: Government innovation guide; Pete Buttigieg on data

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Top Stories

A public servant’s guide to government innovation: The world’s best resources. There are freely available innovation tools all over the web, but no one place to access them all — until now. In this guide, you’ll find the top innovators to follow on Twitter, frameworks to help you work creatively, a compendium of governments’ innovation strategies and more. (Apolitical)

Will Pete Buttigieg be the US’s first data-driven president? In this excerpt from his book, The Shortest Way Home, presidential hopeful ‘Mayor Pete’ explains why public servants must harness the power of data — but remember that it’s no substitute for good leadership. (Pete Buttigieg, presidential candidate & mayor of South Bend, Indiana)

How to beat bureaucracy: Six tips for working smarter within the system. In this 10-minute video, Brave New Work author Aaron Dignan explains how, by understanding the complex system that is government, we can work to boost transparency and decentralise power. (Apolitical)

Getting support for government innovation can be hard — but making sure it lasts is harder. When budgets are squeezed and political turnover is high, it’s often experimental projects that are first to go. From crafting sustainability plans to investing in storytelling, here are five ways to make your innovation stick. (Stephanie Wade, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation team)

India’s capital may give eight million women free transport. Proponents say giving women free access to Delhi’s bus and metro system will boost safety and labour participation. Critics call it pandering that ignores the institutional and systemic challenges to gender equality. (Apolitical)


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Governance and Citizen Engagement

How governments should prepare for the future: Three lessons from Singapore. The city-state has dedicated ‘futures units’ across agencies, from transport to urban planning. They use unconventional methods — such as games, stress-testing and storytelling — to help public servants build future-ready policy. (GovInsider)

Health and Safety

San Francisco may be the first major US city to end youth incarceration. It voted to close its youth detention facility by 2022 and replace it with rehabilitative alternatives. The decision follows the release of a report written by young, formerly incarcerated residents detailing their experience behind bars. (Next City)

Energy, Environment and Economic Opportunity

Finland pledged to go carbon-neutral by 2035. Its new left-leaning coalition government promised to build the world’s first fossil fuel-free, sustainable society that doesn’t rely on carbon credits. “People demanded faster climate action and that’s what they’re going to get,” one official said. (Climate Home News)

Singapore is growing gardens on top of buses. Over three months, the “Garden on the Move” pilot will test whether green roofs can lower the temperature inside buses, reduce the amount of fuel needed to power their air conditioning units and improve outdoor air quality. (CNN)


“[Data helps us] make smarter and fairer decisions, but only a person can sense when an unexplainable factor ought to come into play — when, for lack of a better expression, ‘something is up’… That’s been the job of elected officials all along” — Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

Gender Equality

Swedish fathers are allowed to take 30 days off work during their partner’s maternity leave. The 2012 law has led to a marked difference in mothers’ health: researchers found a 26% decrease in anti-anxiety prescriptions and a 14% reduction in hospitalisations since it was introduced. (The New York Times)

Mexico City unveiled new gender-neutral uniforms for public school students. “The era when girls had to wear a skirt and boys had to wear trousers has been left behind,” said the mayor. Four out of five trans people in Mexico City reported facing emotional distress as a teen. (Thomson Reuters)

Canada is partnering with NGOs and banks to invest $300 million in gender equality. The Equality Fund will serve as a funding platform for community groups tackling gender-based violence, bolstering economic security and advancing women’s leadership in the developing world. (The Globe and Mail)

And finally

The North Korean government is launching a whisky brand. Samilpo Whisky’s marketing says it contains essential amino acids that “prevent liver damage and reduce the negative side effects of alcohol abuse”. The branding? Conspicuously similar to Johnnie Walker’s. (BBC)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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