Reforming from the Inside? History, Practices and Politics of Government Innovation Teams

3 Mar 2016
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type
Special Event

Andrew Schrock
Data and Design Research Fellow for the City of Los Angeles; Technology and Innovation Commissioner for Long Beach; Woodbury University Faculty

Innovation teams promise to help local and federal governments tackle “wicked problems” such as crime, health, and housing. Despite their bold promises, scholars have yet to address what they portend for democratic reform. In response, this presentation situates their model of data-driven innovation by describing their history and shared practices. Contrary to critiques of the Silicon Valley origins of “civic tech” as a whole, the idea of innovation teams emerged from local government in the United States and institutional reform efforts in the UK. I suggest their model of data-driven innovation is a form of radical pragmatism involving data, forms, and human communication to shift institutional processes and policies. On one hand, they follow a familiar iterative approach to previous eras of liberal democratic reform. On the other, they troublingly operate outside of electoral politics and the public eye. I suggest that in-house innovation teams simultaneously reflect shifting norms of civic engagement and styles of government management. They provoke difficult but important conversations how we might rebuild government institutions after years of austerity measures.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies

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