In a new op-ed for The Guardian, Network chair Beth Simone Noveck explores the potential impacts of leveraging technology to “match people to problems based on what they can do.” Invoking both the rise of match-based dating apps like Tinder and the use of prize-backed challenges to unlock dispersed expertise, Noveck advocates for more experimentation on government’s use of targeted matching based on skills and experience to the end of solving shared problems.
“In public institutions, especially, it is all too common for individual knowhow to be masked by vague titles like “manager” and “director”. Using software to give organizations insights about the aptitude of employees has the potential to improve effectiveness and efficiency for public good.
Already an accelerating practice in the private sector, where managers want granular evidence of hard skills not readily apparent from transcripts, this year the World Bank created its own expert network called SkillFinder to index the talents of its 27,000 employees, consultants and alumni. With the launch of SkillFinder, the bank is just beginning to explore how to use the tool to better organize its human capital to achieve the bank’s mission of eradicating poverty.
Giving people outside as well as inside institutions opportunities to share their knowledge could save time, financial resources and even lives. Take the example of PulsePoint, a smartphone app created by the fire department of San Ramon, California. Now used by 1400 communities across the United States, PulsePoint matches those with a specific skill, namely CPR training, with dramatic results.”