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How startups are helping to fix Brazil's bureaucracy

Lab Notes - September edition

The September edition of Lab Notes brings together inspiring articles, toolkits, reports and other content for public sector and social innovators around the world, including how Brazilian startups are turning bureaucracy into opportunity; evidence into the effects of car-pooling on congestion; and whether we should even bother with a user-centered digital government ...

This month's key lab picks

1. From buying a flat to filing taxes, a new class of startups are helping Brazilians cut through the country’s notorious bureaucracy. Read more in this Motherboard article.

2. Many in Jakarta thought that the city’s controversial mandatory car-sharing policy was making congestion worse. Following its reversal, it appears they were wrong, and the finding may have implications for similar policies in other cities. Read about the research in The Guardian.

3. Despite growing awareness of its importance, governments still struggle to translate evidence into practice. Academics from the Harvard Kennedy School have pinpointed three major barriers for evidence-based development policymaking. Read more in The Washington Post.

4. Tom Steinberg's latest post for Civic Hall argues that advocates of user-centered digital government are in danger of looking superficial without thinking more rigorously about the values that underpin it.

5. Abuja is fast becoming the next hub for startups in Nigeria. Check out the city’s recently launched Civic Innovation Lab, which aims to provide engagement between the tech community, social innovators and the government. Read more about it on Techpoint.

6. Open data practitioners and civil society face significant challenges in countries where governments are reluctant to release open datasets. Open & Shut, a new blog from Small Media, explores how open data is being used to improve development, democracy and public service delivery in closed societies.

7. How can we have the benefits of bureaucracy and innovation at the same time? This post from Colin Talbot summarises ‘Parallel Learning Structures’ as a guide for government innovation teams.

8. Governments are still struggling to get to grips with artificial intelligence in public services. Hila Mehr at the Harvard Ash Center gives six tips for how policymakers can navigate AI successfully.

9. The City of Peoria, USA is reaching out to the tech community to help solve local challenges. Listen to a radio excerpt and read a piece from Peoria Public Radio about the city’s recent hackathon to develop an app to help users navigate the road closures and lane changes using public data.

10. The Open Data Institute has mapped global approaches to regulation in the peer-to-peer accommodation sector, and has begun researching user needs to understand how data might help improve on existing approaches. Read about the work on its blog.

11. This article in The Lens argues that there has been a basic flaw in the local response to the Texas floods, and that American public officials would do well to learn from the Dutch approach to protecting their cities.

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Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Researcher, Government Innovation

Theo is a Researcher in the Policy and Research team

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Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Senior Researcher

Matt is a senior researcher working on the collaborative economy and digital social innovation.

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