The Public-Purpose Technology Holiday Library
Books, articles, and podcasts for an inspiring holiday season
Public-purpose technology rose to prominence as a topic of public conversation in 2021. This holiday season, we’ve put together a library of books, articles, podcasts and on technology that addresses big public needs, and the policy, economic, and social conditions around it. These pieces have either informed our thinking at StateUp this year, or we’ve been lucky enough to work on them directly.
Happy festive reading!
Books We’ve Read and Written:
Searching for a New Kenya: Politics and Social Media on the Streets of Mombasa: Dr. Stephanie Diepeveen, StateUp Expert Affiliate, delves into the roles of social media and trust-building in democracy in her new book.
The pandemic has made clearer than ever how data can and should be used for the public good. StateUp Advisor Sam Gilbert explores how individuals, governments, companies, and societies can move forward in Good Data: An Optimist's Guide to Our Digital Future.
In The Great Post Office Scandal, Nick Wallis exposes a multimillion pound IT disaster which put innocent people in jail.
In Exponential, Azeem Azhar explores the “exponential gap” between technology acceleration and our companies, workplaces, and democracies, which risk getting “left behind”.
How Should a Government Be? The New Levers of State Power: Prof. Jaideep Prabhu of Cambridge Judge Business School reveals how governments can be more entrepreneurial through a series of deeply researched case studies. Hear Jaideep and StateUp Founder Dr. Tanya Filer discuss the new levers of state power at the Cambridge Alumni Festival here.
Scale: The Universal Laws of Life and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies: Physicist Geoffrey West explores the patterns in complex systems, from biology to cities. As complex systems thinking becomes increasingly important to understanding the relationship between our critical infrastructure, from the built environment to healthcare systems, this book, first published in 2017, feels more timely than ever.
In Cogs and Monsters, Cambridge economist Prof. Diane Coyle explores how economics needs to change to keep pace with the twenty-first century and the digital economy.
David Golumbia's short book The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism explores the political thought underlying bitcoin, the digital currency promoted as holding the promise to revolutionize everything from online commerce to the nation-state.
The StateUp view: Riley Kaminer on Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism by Mariana Mazzucato:
“In Mission Economy, Mazzucato offers a fresh perspective on the power of the state to supercharge innovation in the tech sector and beyond. It is an inspiring read for those who believe in the role of governments to build a more inclusive and sustainable future.”
Podcasts and videos from StateUp and people we admire:
StateUp Principal Riley Kaminer co-hosted the Access Partnership-StateUp DX Talks series on digital transformation, featuring leading experts and practitioners on digital government and society, from Cambridge to Estonia.
Form Ventures’ Founding Partner Leo Ringer and Trust Ventures Founder and General Partner Sal Churi discuss the relationship between innovation and government policy on this episode of The Vaizey View.
Tanya Filer discusses how 'digital minilateralism' could help revive international cooperation in episode 1 of the new official Digital Nations podcast series, drawing on her research on digital governance and the future of the international system with Dr. Antonio Weiss at the University of Cambridge, and on their new Brookings article.
Earlier this year, Theo Blackwell MBE (London’s Chief Digital Officer), Shai-Lee Spigelman (Israel’s Director General for Science and Innovation) and HE Mohammad Bin Taliah (Chief of Government Services, UAE) discussed the future of public services in this StateUp-GX Talks webinar.
This eight-part video series from the Institute for New Economic Thinking is a tour de force in which economist and investor Bill Janeway investigates the relationship between venture capital and technological innovation, and the interdependent roles of entrepreneurial firms, the mission-driven State and financial speculation in the overall innovation system.
The StateUp view: Tanya Filer on Gali Bloch Liran’s podcast The Human Founder
“In The Human Founder, Gali Bloch Liran and her guests share the emotional, psychological, and intellectual dimensions of scaling a startup. They are among the most honest conversations I’ve heard in any founder-focused podcast series. As public-purpose tech companies scale, their founders, teams, and investors will draw strength from these dialogues.”
Articles and reports that have inspired us, or we’ve worked on:
'The Future of Technology and Disaster Response': TechCrunch's four-part series by Danny Crichton starts with an analysis of the dangers of current public sector sales’ cycles when it comes to emergency response.
StateUp Expert Affiliate Dr. Rehema Msulwa discusses new infrastructure as long-termism, and argues that the UK is lagging behind, for the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.
“Predicting Voting Outcomes in Presence of Communities”. As co-author Dr. Paolo Turrini, a StateUp Expert Affiliate, describes, “Using a combination of theory and computer simulation we study metrics to predict how opinions spread and show the effects of this in well-connected communities. The belief (following a 2020 Nature study by Stewart et al. ) was that well-connected communities didn't matter much for prediction purposes. We demonstrate that they do.”
A new, research-rich, Institute for Global Change report sets out a model of internet internationalism that reassesses states’ core interests and identifies novel coalitions that combine security guarantees with commitments towards an open internet.
In States Regenerate we argue that governments must engage their collective public procurement power—at least £7.8 trillion annually according to the World Bank (2018)—to decarbonise their own organisations and operations. Experts from Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, the UK Geospatial Commission and more weigh in, providing practical, evidence-based approaches.
The StateUp view: Paolo Turrini on The online competition between pro- and anti-vaccination views | Nature
“The article shows how minority opinions can become majority opinions if ‘strategically’ connected. In particular, it shows that this is happening on Facebook now, with anti-vax groups being better connected to local schools/boards, in general to the ‘undecided’ community. It's also very interesting from a methodological point of view. Using public Facebook data, we are now able to gain a good picture of large social networks.”
Any inspiring books, articles, or podcasts you’d like to share? Tell us what you think about this post here.