Translating between the worlds of digital innovation and public service delivery

"I call all that policy." – Enterprise IT dude

The sophisticated enterprise tech crowd gets that public problems have unique considerations. But they think it's bucketable into something as simple as "policy" in order to relate it to the clear corporate structures like finance or legal and ignore how politics defines what policies get enacted, how policies acrete and evolve over time, and the fact that words on a piece of paper do not implement themselves. You need public managers and street level bureaucrats to actually implement policy! All of that is obvious and probably somewhat banal but there's a reason folks often say "you gotta spend time in government" to get what actually is going on.

"Internet of things" (Iot) or "Remote sensing"

Everyone in the stormwater world I've met calls devices that stream data "remote sensing." Internet of things got blank stares from all the stormwater professionals I've talked to, including many extremely talented engineers.  The terms mean essentially the same thing but there's a key cultural difference. The IoT crowd is much more likely to work in or around "tech" as an industry and think of stormwater as a "domain" or subject area whereas the "remote sensing" crowd works in water or another specific area and sees these technologies as part of their toolkit to manage for example stormwater. That cultural difference also reflects a different technology development mindset as remote sensing conjures up tools that are procured through an RFP whereas IoT often is hacked together rapidly using off the shelf components like a Rasberry Pi.

Print Friendly and PDF