USC Price School of Public Policy

Sacramento panel focuses on human factors of innovation

June 27, 2014


From Price staff reports

The USC Price School of Public Policy in Sacramento hosted a panel discussion June 24 on “Human Systems and Technology: Leadership and Innovation in Today’s Technological World” in partnership with the Asian Pacific State Employees Association (APSEA).

In his opening remarks, Paul Danczyk, USC Price’s director of executive education in Sacramento, explained how this session adds to the leadership conversation that is becoming the national blueprint in transforming public organizations.

Moderated by Rebecca Christensen, APSEA board member and founder of Ora, Inc., the panel included: Shell Culp, chief information officer of Stewards of Change Institute; Robert Schmidt, agency chief information officer of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; James Waterman, enterprise region manager at Google, Inc.; and Jeff Uyeda, chief deputy director of the California Office of Technology.

Among the panel’s notable insights, Culp discussed “confoundations” that can hinder the incorporation of technological practices in governance settings. Culp also noted how innovation takes time, reminding the audience that movements start with a single person and others will join.

Schmidt suggested that innovation has two components – customer needs and technology – and that innovation can start with small successes. He identified a number of innovative apps that CDFA created to assist with things such as identifying insect pests and cattle brands, and finding public weigh stations for trucks.

Waterman encouraged participants to look at challenges through today’s technologies and also encouraged them to take action by testing and applying new systems. And to facilitate discussion and reflection, Uyeda spoke about the continuous need for face-to-face interactions and to find ways that spark creativity and curiosity — sometimes independent of smart phones, tablets and computers.

Nearly 80 senior public executives, managers, and students attended the event. The program was the second installment of a three-part “Conversations in Leadership” series that will lead up to the Nov. 13 symposium in Sacramento. For more information on this event series, visit