Youth discontent: Who’s next?

Last month I wrote about the impact of recession on youth, and in particular, the impact of a severe recession on youth participation in the labour market. Will they get crowded out in the short-term as older workers choose to stay in the workforce longer?

But such immediate questions aside, growing youth unemployment, or underemployment, may have far deeper societal repercussions.

The recent events in Greece where mobs of angry youths rioted in the streets is perhaps a telling example. Triggered by the shooting of a 15-year-old boy, an estimated 8,000 Greek youths joined what soon became an all-out attack against their role in the Greek state. Read the rest of this entry »


The dishwasher and the Internet

SITRA, the Finnish Innovation agency, is a Helsinki-based partner organization of ours that thinks about how new innovations, investment choices and models of governance can help promote the welfare of Finnish society and Finnish competitiveness.

They recently hosted nGenera Chairman Don Tapscott and Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang (both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with) for a conversation about the Future of the Public Sector. You can view all the videos from this event, and many others, here.

Don argues that the Net Generation and the Web 2.0 are ushering in a series of fundamental changes to the way governments operate; how they provide services and create policy; how they structure the workplace; and how they increasingly look to citizens to play a role in all of those areas.

Dr. Chang on the other hand takes a more cautious approach noting that the most visible and seemingly revolutionary ideas aren’t always the real change agents. He introduces an interesting question of whether Read the rest of this entry »

A city that thinks like the Web

Following up on Anthony’s post about last week’s City of Toronto Web 2.0/Gov 2.0 Summit I thought I’d share this fantastic presentation by Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, on how the City of Toronto “might think like the web.” In it he outlines how the structure and principles of participation that underpin Mozilla might be mimicked to create an open, transparent and participative municipal goverment.

He ends his presentation with three simple challenges to City Hall:

  1. “Open our data. transit. library catalogues. community centre schedules. maps. 311. expose it all so the people of Toronto can use it to make a better city. do it now.
  2. Crowdsource info gathering that helps the city. somebody would have up and running in a week if the Mayor promised to listen. encourage it.
  3. Ask for help creating a city that thinks like the web. copy Washington, DC’s contest strategy. launch it at BarCamp.”

The Mayor committed publicly to making many of these happen, which is great, but action will also need to come from the public… So who’s setting up Toronto’s version of FixMyStreet?