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Towards local government that is data literate & 4IR ready




Posted: 26 September 2019

The partnership of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the University of California Berkeley (UCB) is certainly bearing fruits; unleashing local government leaders and bureaucrats that are data literate and Fourth Industrial Revolutionary ready.

This week, a group of selected South Africa’s Executive Mayors, Speakers, Municipal Managers, Chief Financial Officers as well as municipal administrative completed a 10 days Leadership Impact and Innovation Programme, an executive educative programme offered through the auspices of the university along with Silicon Valley ecosystems.

Apart from the extensive all week learning, the Leadership Impact and Innovation Programme cohort had a field visit at the Head Office of Facebook, situated in Menlo Park, California, United States, where they received a pleasant welcome in the form of a high rise digital banner inscribed with the SALGA and UCB logos.

The cohort was taken through Facebook’s international competition called The Hacker’s Cup, which is hosted and administered by Facebook as a means to identify top engineering talent for potential employment at Facebook. They were further introduced to Facebook’s HR Value Proposition which is a mission-focused leadership culture that operates according to employee’s strengths and supports employees in their lives outside of work. The proposition also matches an employee to an authentic boss specially designed for him/her, thus, gives employees space to take initiative and suggest innovative ideas even if such are outside of an employee’s scope of work.

The learning cohort’s field visits also included a meeting at the Oakland City Hall to meet City of Oakland Mayor, Ms Libby Schaaf. Moreover, reflective engagements continued with a series of Silicon Valley-based partners ranging from Google, Fybr, Elroy Air, Bluetown, Bisimoto Engineering, Nvidia, Uber, CivStart and Amazon. In between these interactions, the Managing Director in the Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S Department of State took the learning cohort through partnership opportunities related to economic growth, global finance, entrepreneurship and innovation that participants could leverage on for the benefit of their communities.

Interspersed between these engagements was a field visit to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), where the group got the benefit of a strategic perspective on how this agency envisages managing the future of mobility.  The City of San Francisco is a testing ground for driverless cars, a major policy goal where 80% of all trips are undertaken by sustainable modes in line with global carbon emission standards.

The Leadership Impact and Innovation Programme concluded the week with a graduation ceremony headed by Goldman School of Public Policy Dean, Prof. Henry Brady, members of the academic staff and support team, as well as the SALGA President Thembi Nkadimeng and SALGA CEO Xolile George.

The learning cohort gave insightful highlights about their experience throughout the two weeks, with many hailing it as a resounding success. Additionally, the cohort was given a business case as a mean for the continuation of the programme to widen its scope, reach and impact of beneficiation for South African municipal leaders.

The Leadership Impact and Innovation cohort are now referred to as the University of California Berkeley Alumni members. The programme‘s multi-faced approach to professional learning has indeed strengthened the South African local government by enhancing its capacity to deliver services and to have a much more practically understanding about the changing world driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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