On February 23rd representatives from ESADE travelled to Washington DC to present their latest research findings on open government and open innovation at the Sustainable Development Forum 2012, an event organised by the World Bank.
Jonathan Wareham, ESADE’s Vice-Dean of Research and Director of the Institute for Innovation and Knowledge Management (IIK), was the keynote speaker at the session entitled “Open Innovation in Public Services Across Sectors”. Wareham presented the latest work by ESADE researchers on smart cities and open data, and discussed the research challenges that remain to be addressed regarding the social significance of new technologies.
Esteve Almirall, ESADE professor in the Department of Information Systems Management, presented new research findings on these subjects from Open Cities, a collaborative European project led by Almirall which promotes open innovation with the aim of developing new public services for citizens. He also highlighted the major goals of Commons for Europe, another of ESADE’s major open innovation projects also led by Almirall, which brings together web experts, technology industry leaders and representatives of a number of European cities to develop new types of public services.
The World Bank is currently collaborating with ESADE through both the Open Cities and Commons for Europe projects to promote ideas that arise from their research to apply it to developing countries. In particular, the World Bank is interested in creating a “Code for the World”, where cities would share their individual expertise with the rest of the world and together would build tools to facilitate broader citizen participation. Moldavia, Lebanon, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt are some of the Countries where the results of Open Cities and Commons for Europe will be applied. In the framework of these projects, several workshops will be organized by the World Bank in collaboration with ESADE, being the first one foreseen in Tunisia by the end of April 2012.
During his visit in Washington, Wareham also met with the NGO Worldreader’s ICT & Education group to discuss the latest technological advances that would facilitate their plans to make subsidized e-readers available in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Wareham is a member of Worldreader’s board of directors, and is actively supporting the organisation to ensure the sustainability of its project.
Worldreader.org is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to put libraries within reach of all the families on the planet with electronic book technology. The NGO has launched a number of pilot studies in schools in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. The NGO was founded in 2009 by David Risher, a member of ESADE’s International Advisory Board and Colin McElwee, ex-director of Corporate Marketing at ESADE.
During his visit, Wareham also attended a meeting in Washington with representatives of the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organisation. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research in order to provide innovative recommendations to foster economic and social welfare. The Brookings Institution showed great interest in the research projects carried out by ESADE, and both institutions agreed to host a joint workshop at ESADE’s Barcelona Campus before the end of 2012.