In 2004, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the City of Oakland’s Information Technology Department (ITD) set out on an ambitious, long-term endeavor to revamp OPD’s approach to technology. The foundation of this effort was the creation of a shared vision for aligning technology, analytics, and data that would allow individual OPD officers to have cutting-edge technology and at the same time equip the department with an integrated system that provided a holistic view of OPD’s activities. OPD and ITD leaders anticipated that these reforms would contribute to—and be advanced by—the development of a culture in OPD and ITD that prized efficiency, responsiveness, and innovation. In other words, the goal of the initiative was to catapult OPD into the 21st century.
In 2013, the New South Wales (Australia) Police Force had to confront a vexing and concerning situation. Following a series of dramatic media reports, New South Wales residents had begun to perceive that public shootings had increased dramatically. In practice, government crime data demonstrated that shootings had not risen. Nonetheless, as Gavin Dengate, a Detective Superintendent in the New South Wales (NSW) Police Force, explained, this did little to change the fact that he and his colleagues had a serious problem. “The community still believed there was an increase,” Dengate elaborated, “because the media jumped onto the issue and did a lot of work blaming the government. And, obviously, when they blame government, they look at the police force as to what we were and weren’t doing.”
In September 2016, when James O’Neill became the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), he faced significant challenges. To begin with, he had to ensure that the agency was positioned to combat the many threats facing New York City, including terrorism, which, as O’Neill said, is something that is “always on [his] mind.” O’Neill was also making a significant personal transition. He had previously served as the Chief of Department, the highest-ranking uniformed officer in NYPD. As O’Neill said, he had thought that that position, which involved supervising 36,000 officers, had kept him “pretty busy”; however, he would now be taking on a new level of scrutiny and pressure as the public face of one of the most prominent law enforcement organizations in the world. Finally, NYPD was in the midst of a large and delicate organizational transformation.
In late 2014, when Jim McDonnell was elected as Sheriff of Los Angeles County, he realized that his agency faced an enormous challenge: how to combat sex trafficking. There was extensive evidence that this horrific crime had become widespread in the region. The National Human Trafficking Center’s hotline for reporting cases was receiving more calls from California than any other state in the country by far. What’s more, child sex trafficking had become an integral source of revenue for gangs in the Los Angeles area.
When Jeff Campbell dropped out of Stanford and joined a rock band at 20, he wasn't envisioning a future where he'd be managing a trillion dollars of cash flow as the CFO of American Express. Beyond simply identifying ways to improve the finances of a given organization, CFOs have to be able to interact with all of the parts of the business and create value. Campbell says the key to success is spending the right time in the right places.
As we move deeper into a digital world, health and human services leaders have more and more data at their fingertips. When this data can be shared across agencies in real-time and is structured in a user-friendly, objective, and informative way, it can play a critical role in seeding breakthrough innovations. In particular, health and human services leaders can identify new opportunities to improve the client experience, reduce costs, enable population health management, enhance care, provide greater equity, and focus on interventions for clients who touch multiple health and human services systems.
In 2011, Finland’s healthcare and social services leaders faced an extremely challenging set of circumstances. To begin with, there were a number of troubling trends—including the aging of the Finnish population and an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases—that portended a surge in demand for their services. At the same time, providers were dealing with increasingly complex cases—a difficulty that stemmed from the numerous clients and patients who had multiple conditions and were oscillating between the health and social services systems.
In late 2015, four leaders—William Hazel, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia; Dr. Craig Ramey, a professor at Virginia Tech; and Accenture’s Howard Hendrick and Gary Glickman—began dissecting a simple but critical question. “What,” Glickman recalled, “are we trying to do for kids?”
In 2011, officials from the State of Ohio performed a cost-benefit analysis of the state’s spending on health and human services, and the results were alarming. On the one hand, per capita healthcare spending in Ohio was higher than all but 17 other states. On the other hand, Ohio had one of the least healthy workforces in the country. As dismaying as this situation was, newly-elected Governor John Kasich also realized that the state’s limited return on its health and human services investment created a powerful case for change.
In late 2015, officials at two key agencies in California’s state government faced a decision that would have a significant impact on the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable residents. The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and the state’s Government Operations Agency (GovOps) were preparing to replace the Child Welfare Services case management system, and the Department of Social Services (DSS), part of CHHS, wanted to devise a new system that maximized efficiency and impact. Unfortunately, the initial Request for Proposals (RFP) was more than 1,500 pages long and used a monolithic “waterfall” approach that ran the risk of binding the state to an ineffective vendor.
Leadership for a Networked World’s applied research, student innovation challenge, and on-campus summit programs are an initiative of Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie, Innovation Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), part of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. TECH is a hub for students, faculty, alumni, and government and industry leaders to learn together, collaborate, and innovate. LNW accelerates these efforts by connecting leaders across sectors and developing cutting-edge thought leadership on innovation and organizational transformation.