Our 2020 Communities of Practice

Portulans Institute Senior Fellows 

Our Senior Fellows are renowned experts who partner with the Portulans Institute (PI) to lead a specific project of interest within one of our Focus Areas. They are individuals from around the world invited to join PI’s community on a rolling basis. Their projects will produce novel contributions to an identified challenge and are sustained through collaborations with a community of practice formed by the Senior Fellow’s sector peers.

Portulans Institute Communities of Practice (PI-CoPs)

CoPs bring together experts from both the public and private sectors, who are involved in policy-making, research, or development of market solutions. Each CoP is led by a Senior Fellow.

CoPs develop cross-community knowledge and dialogue on how people, technology, and innovation contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth. Each CoP independently sets its own strategy to achieve its agreed objectives. The CoPs’ outputs may include publications, road maps, sets of best practices, for example.

Our current PI-CoPs include the following

Innovations contributing to the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

Leading Senior Fellow: Shane M. Kanady

Goal: To develop a CoP of leading disability network representatives and businesses with an affinity for diversity and inclusion as core elements of innovative firms, with the goal of outlining a framework to address pressing needs for research and data insights. A clear identification of need and opportunity will establish a project focused on increasing business innovation and competitiveness by including persons with disabilities. Through this work, PI will gain recognition as a leading source of research that addresses critically important economic and social issues and their impact on competitiveness. PI will achieve this status through original contributions to the field of research, leveraging its extensive capabilities with global indices and benchmarking studies. It is envisioned that this PI CoP will also take a proactive approach to increase awareness of the enabling power of inclusion, translating research into recommendations for actions and measurable outcomes among stakeholder groups.

Deliverables: An initial framing blog post, three CoP virtual meetings over a one-year period, short conclusion briefing paper, and concept of operations for future work.

Relevancy: There is a common narrative of social inclusion found in PI’s existing focus areas and flagship outputs (Indexes). The health of national economies depends on thriving industries that must innovate to capture the desire and buying power of the consumer base. Innovation is not achievable, or sustainable, without a skilled workforce. The workforce must have access to resources to adapt to changing labor market conditions, which is achieved through a combination of public policies, programs, and industry investment. However, the results of these activities fall short of reaching their potential when entire segments of the population are excluded from participation as creators, contributors, and consumers.

The 2018 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTC) demonstrates that “paying attention to demographic diversity nurtures a sustainable and innovative future and helps organizations to retain and develop talent” which must include persons with disabilities.   Additionally, the revised model of the Network Readiness Index (NRI) stressed PI’s recognition of the need for an increased focus on traditionally underrepresented populations, with specific reference to persons with disabilities. Much can be learned about how advancements can be made in the areas of technology competitiveness, innovation readiness, and people and global talent development by understanding the experience of the most marginalized populations. The proposed CoP will serve the purpose of addressing such questions and needs.

Context: It is universally recognized that persons with disabilities are among the most marginalized populations in the world. Persons with disabilities comprise approximately 15% of the global population, or nearly 1 billion people. The prevalence of the population continues to grow because of age-acquired disabilities and the consequences of natural and man-made disasters, including violent conflict. Globally, this population experiences persistent structural violence and marginalization due to social-identity based barriers that result in stigma, discrimination, and systematic exclusion. Such marginalization also represents a significant set of ‘missed opportunities’ for the world economy as a whole, as valuable talent is often overlooked, or underestimated.

Connection to PI Focus Areas:

  • It is estimated that global economies sacrifice up to 7% of GDP annually due to the exclusion of persons with disabilities.
  • Persons with disabilities have an estimated $1.2 trillion in disposable income worldwide, but are often not considered in the design of products and services.
  • The unemployment rate of persons with disabilities is as high as 80% in some countries, and is often double the rate of their non-disabled peers in more advanced economies.
  • In many respects, the COVID crisis has increased the marginalization of people with disabilities.

Through PI’s leadership, and this CoP, focusing on policy solutions specifically tailored for persons with disabilities will lead to a greater understanding of the critical connections between global economic health, innovation, and competitiveness across industries, in addition to a deeper understanding of the social and economic inclusion of other marginalized groups.

These efforts will lead to enhancements to the research, analysis, and applications found in the GII, GTCI, and NRI and provide the opportunity for a complementary project that informs progress on the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Data Governance for Innovation

Leading Senior Fellow: John Wilbanks

In this project, John Wilbanks will advise a PI CoP on data governance for innovation in open science contexts.

Goal: The goal is to provide the PI community with knowledge and resources that support new forms of innovation and scientific competitiveness, based on modern knowledge governance practices. This project will support discussions within PI’s core programmatic areas: innovation, technology readiness, and talent capacity building. Specifically, this Project will further the GII 2019’s recommendation on “supporting new data infrastructure and digital health strategies to focus on creating data infrastructure; and developing processes for efficient and safe data collection, management, and sharing.” (p.15)

Proposed Deliverables: Webinar, two CoP annual meetings, short conclusion briefing.

Relevancy: The GII 2019 found that while global economic growth appeared to be losing momentum relative to 2018, innovation was blossoming around the world. Accordingly, R&D expenditures were rising. The GII also portrayed a shift in the geography of innovation – from concentrated in high-income to growing in middle-income economies. Nonetheless, innovation expenditures remain concentrated in a few economies and regions. Open science can contribute to leaps in innovation, by – specifically through data governance – quickly making knowledge available, accessible, and replicable. This is even more relevant in times when the world faces a common threat: a pandemic. How people, companies, and countries manage individual and environmental data is a crucial element of how society will deal with the present challenge and future ones.

Context: We have access to more data than ever before. We have access to faster computing resources than ever before. But technology, by itself, will not find the answers we seek and will not create the solutions we need to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Governance is a broad term. In a general sense, governance is a system of making policy to encourage and prohibit behaviors, to monitor and enforce such policy, and to issue penalties or rewards, accordingly. Governance is embodied in laws or other rules that tell humans (or machines) what they cannot do, or encourage them to do things they might not do otherwise. It can also be hardwired into tools to prevent them from ever being able to do prohibited things or to only be able to do things that are encouraged.

Some aspects of governance are explicit: either codified into rules (written in natural language or computer code) or embodied in the very structure of the equipment. Other aspects of governance are implicit, existing as cultural norms, or tacit knowledge passed from person to person in practice. In the context of open science, what we mean by governance are the freedoms, constraints, and incentives that determine how two or more parties manage the ingress, storage, analysis, and egress of data, tools, methods, and knowledge amongst themselves and with others.