How About Data Driven Legislation?

Pivotal breakaway technologies have in the past benefited from a blindsided legislative process that permitted them to scale to the point that they were big enough to cause a push back from legislators if they were either terminated or stifled in any way.

This has led to a largely correct notion that innovation moves faster than legislation.

Legislators are however better placed to change this notion and prevent the collective citizen face palm moments that have dotted the release of a number of gazette notices over the past two years (in Kenya) and continue to do so.

Legislators and their advisers can use raw historical data which they can mine for insights and extrapolated for short to medium term planning where fresh data is lacking. Working in consultation with industry players backed by technical and techie minds, new tools for collation, aggregation and analysis of data can also be created.

The end game here is to increase the collective intelligence of those charged with drafting laws to ensure accountable but most importantly defensible leadership where a concerned citizenry can be walked through the process and the supporting data that led to certain conclusions affecting their lives presented.

Let's look at some examples.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA)

While the intentions of the National Transport and Safety Authority are noble, many have asked the justification of the speed limits imposed within the wider city precincts.

I have observed and can conclude that over ninety percent of vehicular traffic violates the law. This begs the question, is the problem with the law or with the people?

The County Government

Parking fees in the city of Nairobi were increased with the entry of the new county government.

Granted there are more cars on the road and space must be proactively managed, but what informed the number? Was there any process that looked to balance optimization on returns with minimal strain on motorists?

Teachers Unions and the Ministry of Education

The teachers unions have in the past paralyzed learning, pushing for better terms, causes that I am sympathetic to. However, at the core of the issue, I believe we must move toward performance based compensation.

KPI’s are used in the private sector and they should be fully adopted in the public sector. In the case of teachers, we cannot apply blanket benefits while there are many issues at play and we all know that talent is never equal.

With a base pay per grade and the rest a factor of several analyzed data points for example class attendance, performance over time by different student cohorts in the subjects taught, area of deployment etc we can appease everyone.

It is time we think differently.

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