The Next Wave

Using Digital Technology to Further Social and Political Innovation

The digital revolution is in full force but many public and private sector leaders are stymied: How can they maximize the full potential of digital technology? This hesitancy puts a brake on the transformational power of digital technology and means private companies and governmental bodies fall well behind other digital pioneers.

Darrell West focuses on the next wave of technologies and how they can further enhance U.S. social and political innovation. West champions exploiting technological advances to help organizations become faster, smarter, and more efficient. Consumers can deploy new digital technology to improve health care, gain access to education, learn from the news media, and check public sector performance. New storage platforms such as high-speed broadband, mobile communications, and cloud computing enable and improve both social and economic development. However, to gain these benefits, policymakers must recognize the legitimacy of public fears about technology and the privacy and security dangers posed by the Internet. Their goal must be to further innovation and investment while also protecting basic social and individual values.

West argues that digital technology innovation is consistent in many ways with personal and social values; people can deploy digital technology to improve participation and collaboration, and political leaders can work with the private sector to stimulate a flowering of innovation in a variety of policy areas.

Praise for the Book:

"The Next Wave covers a vast range of topics, from cloud computing in the public sector to broadband infrastructure policy to electronic health to digital media. Each of these topics is of wide interest, even when taken in isolation. West’s contribution is not only in surveying these topics, but more importantly in critically assessing policy and organizational barriers to the uses of technology for social and political change, and in proposing policy recommendations. [It] will be widely read, and it certainly has the potential to improve policy and, indeed, make government and society better."—Kevin Esterling, University of California–Riverside

"If you want to understand the next wave of digital technologies, then Darrell West’s book is a must-read. Darrell carefully outlines the five keys to effective innovation as well as describes the potential of new technologies. Read, learn, put it to use today and tomorrow."
—Ted Leonsis, Monumental Sports & Entertainment

"In the most compelling terms, Darrell West, one of the foremost experts on technology and government, demonstrates how technological innovation can transform the public, private, and social sectors, enabling organizations to save money and accelerate performance and individuals to improve our quality of life. As a keen social scientist with a sensitivity to the constraints of public officials, Darrell West provides a concrete road map for becoming more innovative and teaching ourselves and our institutions how to learn."—Beth Simone Noveck, New York University