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I usually do not pay attention to real politics, instead only dealing with corporate politics in my day-to-day job. Two things are slightly changing that.

First, a friend is running for Congress so I am reading Ohio political blogs now and observing how the Ohio 5th district candidates are using the Internet.

Second, Hillary Clinton's Innovation Agenda came up at work. Notice this section on "services science" and some of the wording used (italics added by me for emphasis):

Create the Services Science Initiative. The services sector now accounts for approximately 80% of the U.S. economy. Nevertheless, innovation is rarely associated with the generation and delivery of services. Companies are increasingly carrying out service R&D, but there is no discipline that promotes innovation and productivity in the services sector in the same way that electrical engineering, for example, has led to technological advances in the development of the computer chip. Accordingly, Hillary will create a Services Science Initiative. Modeled on the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the federal government will help support R&D in services; support and encourage cross-disciplinary research that draws on fields such as computer science, management, operations, and organizational behavior; and also facilitate the dissemination of knowledge. The Services Science Initiative will help improve the competitiveness of American business, and in the process, create jobs.

Now compare this to some of the phrases IBM uses to describe Service Science, Management, and Engineering and its academic initiative, like "multi-disciplinary research and academic effort that integrates aspects of established fields such as computer science, operations research, engineering, management sciences, ...". And IBM has helped form the Service Research & Innovation Initiative with similar goals to Hillary's.

I have no idea what is going on here, just noticing common themes. It is not every day that a candidate talks about something I am dealing with at work.

The last time I think I paid this much to government policy was during the first Conference on Universal Usability in 2000 when I heard about the economic policy for digital opportunity.


Hi Keith. Interesting post. Builiding on this notion of universal accessibility for productivity, I'm doing some research on the nexus of usability and accessibility. I'm specifically interested in what studies have been done with disabled people as subjects to see what usability issues they have. WAI and 508 seem to be built on a set of assumptions about best practices from accessible design, but I have been looking for ages to find studies using disabled participants. That is, on what empirical evidence are these assumptions about accessibility built? I assume they've been done, but maybe only within organizations and not published. Are you aware of any such studies?

Hope to see you back at Kent someday,


Hi Dave - I am not aware of any studies that are behind the WAI and 508 guidelines. But I am far from an expert here. Can anyone else help?

It took me a while, but I finally checked out House Bill 2272: America COMPETES Act (original source: Thomas; as a PDF). "To invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States."

Section 1 005 includes this definition of service science:

Service Science Defined- In this section, the term 'service science' means curricula, training, and research programs that are designed to teach individuals to apply scientific, engineering, and management disciplines that integrate elements of computer science, operations research, industrial engineering, business strategy, management sciences, and social and legal sciences, in order to encourage innovation in how organizations create value for customers and shareholders that could not be achieved through such disciplines working in isolation.

The President signed it in August.

Also, COMPETES stands for: Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science.

If I had been reading my feed from USACM, then I would have learned about HR2272 a while ago.