Posts Tagged ‘innovators insights’

“New York City is using poetry to boost traffic safety. The city is installing 200 colorful 8-inch square signs featuring haiku about safety at cultural spots, schools, and high accident areas. In an age when many messages compete for attention, officials hope that ones such as

‘Oncoming cars rush
‘Each a 3 ton bullet
‘And you, flesh and bone’

“will encourage pedestrians to exercise caution.”

So writes the Innovators Insights listserv, linking to the CBS New York news story, where you will find some amused and amusing comments from New Yorkers.

“ ‘What we’ve learned that is that the more innovative the message and with a little bit of humor, or something a little off beat, is much more effective form of communication,’ Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.”

Reminds me of my October post on traffic mimes in Caracas. Remember? There’s something delightfully incongrous about traffic adminsitrators being the ones, out of all possible professions, to use mimes and haiku to further their work objectives.

But maybe I don’t know much about traffic administrators.

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I subscribe to a listserv out of Harvard called Innovators Insights. It culls public-policy articles from all over. When you sign up, you pick general topics you want to hear about. (I can explain more if you ask.)

Today I received a link to a story about a new program in California to help foster children who have to change schools a lot. It sounds like a reasonable idea although I imagine some people might object to being in databases.

“Sacramento County, California, is now employing a database for foster youth to ensure that they can transition to new schools with fewer problems. Foster Focus tracks students’ grades, credits, course schedules, residential history, educational plans, the identity of their social worker, and other data so that students are no longer placed in the wrong grade level or in classes they have already completed when they enroll in a new school. The county has also developed another database that compiles foster home addresses, making it easier for social workers to place students in residences near their schools. Agencies across the country are soliciting the county’s advice as they seek to replicate these databases.” Read more here.

In a related story, U.S. Congressman James Langevin (Rhode Island) has been working to pass a federal law to prevent identity theft of foster youth. It is a serious issue as their personal information passes through many hands. I wonder if a database like the one in California makes this less of a problem by having everything in one place.

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Not sure if, as a fan of detective mysteries, I should be disppointed or delighted about a new police database in Florida.

I learned about the database from an e-mail listserv I receive at the office. It’s called Innovators Insights. Sign up here to tell the Ash Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School what sorts of public policy topics interested you, and they will e-mail Innovators Insights to you weekly with short descriptions of relevant articles from around the nation — and links to the full story.

Here’s the Florida gumshoe story (to coin a phrase).

“In Cape Coral, Florida, the police department is employing a sophisticated shoe-print database that helps investigators quickly identify what type of shoe a suspect was wearing. While shoeprints are often important in identifying a perpetrator, the traditional process of manually casting a shoeprint and searching the Internet and catalogs for the matching type of shoe can be time-consuming when expedience is of the essence. By contrast, the software houses over 24,000 shoe types and allows information like side-shots of the shoes, their manufacturer, and their color schemes to be immediately forwarded to detectives. If investigators have a suspect’s shoe, they can also compare a digital image of its sole with a shoeprint from other crime scenes and look for a match. Cape Coral police have already used the technology to arrest one offender.”

Read all about it. And no matter how many exotic and unfamiliar shoes you buy in places around the world, you better behave yourself in Coral Gables.

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