(附中文) “[A]sk not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” — John F. Kennedy
“別問國家能為你做什麼；問你能為國家做什麼！” — 約翰．甘迺迪
To foster the social innovation from government, Mexico City has set up LabCDMX to source ideas, experiment and implement changes. For example, while around half of the population used the public transportation system, there was no comprehensive online transportation information system. To solve the problem, LabCDMX built an APP and launched a crowdsourcing event to gather data of bus routes.
While some classmates argued that private enterprises could have done same things with less cost and better performance, I think public entrepreneurship has several advantages:
- Scale to invest: governments have budget, systems and human resources to launch large scale changes.
- Access to data: governments have enormous database private enterprises usually don’t have access to though open source might help in the situation now
- Cross-industrial collaboration: governments have a good position to initiate communication across sectors, creating new ideas
In addition, in emerging markets, I doubt if the infrastructure, average education level and investment in entrepreneurship would be good enough to foster private-led innovation. Even in developed markets, friends worked for the U.S. government mentioned the obstacles that private enterprises were not interested in unprofitable projects even if they had huge impact.
Hence, in my opinion, public entrepreneurship is necessary and important, and how to recruit more talents joining governments and build a flexible mechanism would be the key to success.