Why the World Needs More Tech-Savvy Positive #ChangeAgents

By Melanie Wine, a freelance content creator

In our rapidly changing world (partly due to Internet technologies and globalization), individuals are gaining the ability to do things that were not tenable fifty years ago when they were of limited availability to nation-states and large corporations. Simultaneously, the lines between activities done solely by the public sector versus private sector are blurring. 

As Executive Director for the People-Centered Internet coalition, Dr. Bray came from various public service roles in turbulent environments, to include IT Chief for the Centers for Disease Control’s Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program during the 9/11 and 2001 anthrax event, helping “think differently” on military and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan in 2009, Executive Director for a bipartisan National Commission in 2012-2013, and four years as CIO at the FCC during some challenging times for IT modernization. 

David believes “If you imagine public service as a triangle, living in a representative democracy means that it involves all of us at the top point. At the other two points of the triangle’s base are (1) private-public partnerships in support of social endeavors (beyond just individual corporate interests) and (2) government professionals brokering these efforts with the public.”

In the private sector, startups are favored because they don’t have the burden of legacy infrastructure and can use venture capital funding to “fail fast, fail often”, until they find a profitable model that leads to an initial public offering of stock. 

“In contrast”, says Dr. Bray, “public service and what government professionals can reasonably do is burdened with legacy organizations, existing infrastructure and legal restrictions“. 

If government professionals were to adopt a “fail fast, fail often” model, there wouldn’t be a source of venture capital funding in hopes of an IPO. The government must be fiducially accountable for the best use of taxpayer funds as we all try to adapt to constant advances in technology.

Therefore technology-focused experimentation can and should be driven by government professionals, but also by members of the public directly and private-public partnerships. All these groups collectively represent #ChangeAgents – positive individuals willing to think differently and demonstrate innovative ways of delivering better results for communities.

From PCI’s perspective, David hopes that society will soon recognize the need to use the internet constructively by working with businesses, civic organizations, and innovators around the world.

“Right now, it feels like there are many pressures prompting different groups to lose trust in institutions. Some of this has to do with the increased ability for anyone to share anything on the internet – both facts and misinformation. There is so much information clamoring for our attention. If we focus on encouraging positive #ChangeAgents across sectors, I am hopeful that we each find opportunities to help transform how social institutions bring different individuals together to work, play, learn, and co-exist.”

David is particularly excited for the upcoming People-Centered Internet event on December 10, 2018 when a combination of in-person and virtual celebrants will recognize that now 50% of humans on the planet now have access to the Internet – and discuss the unfinished work of the Internet to include greater digital inclusion, addressing technical and cyber-related challenges, and solving society-related issues associated with ripple effects of Internet adoption. The December 10th event will also celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. 

Stay tuned for additional details in how you can become involved in this PCI event soon. 

Wyoming, April 25

Handout written by Melanie Wine – winemel6007@gmail.com

Cited in Keynote address by Mei Lin Fung mlf@alum.mit.edu

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