Convened and organized by the GovLab, and made possible by a three-year 5 million USD grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance works to develop the blueprints for more effective and legitimate democratic institutions to the end of improving people’s lives. A core group of twelve members (listed below) is complemented by an advisory network of academics, technologists, and current and former government officials. Through both face-to-face and online collaboration, the Network is focused on assessing existing innovations in governing and experimenting with new practices and, eventually new norms, for how our institutions make decisions at the local, national, and international level.


About the Governance Lab (GovLab) at New York University

Founded in 2012, the Governance Lab strives to improve people’s lives by changing how we govern. It endeavors to strengthen the ability of people and institutions to collaborate and solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves more effectively and legitimately. The GovLab designs technology, policy and strategies for fostering these open approaches to governance and active conceptions of citizenship and studies what works.


About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.


MEMBERS

The MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance comprises:

CHAIR 

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BETH SIMONE NOVECK

New York University / Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“The next great superpower is going to be the one who can successfully combine the hierarchy of institution … with the diversity and the pulsating life and the chaos and the excitement of networks.”

 

FACULTY MEMBERS:

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SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE

Massachusetts Institute of Technology / University of Southampton

“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.”





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DEBORAH ESTRIN

Cornell Tech / Weill Cornell Medical College

“I strongly believe that if we get the flow of our small data back to us, we can make the right thing happen and in the right way”




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ERIK JOHNSTON

Arizona State University / Center for Policy Informatics

“There is a democratic surplus waiting to be spent by people hesitating to participate because 1) they are unaware of how many other people share their cares regarding their communities 2) they are unsure about the best first step or 3) they do not realize how important their skills, expertise, and experiences are to finding innovative solutions.”

 

 

 

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HENRY FARRELL

George Washington University

“Even under realistic accounts of how people argue, democratic argument can transform private vices (confirmation bias) into public virtues (the preservation of cognitive diversity)”




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SHEENA S. IYENGAR

Columbia Business School / Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business

“In reality, many choices are between things that are not that much different. The value of choice depends on our ability to perceive differences between the options.”

 

 

 

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KARIM LAKHANI

Harvard Business School

“Open source software really showed the way in how innovation can be democratized. Many R&D executives now realize that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge outside their own organizations. The challenge is to find a way to access this knowledge and engage the minds of many people in the problem solving process.”

 

 

 

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ANITA MCGAHAN

University of Toronto / Harvard University / Massachusetts General Hospital

“[We need to] do what society needs us to do, which is deliver prosperity for everyone.”




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COSMA SHALIZI

Carnegie Mellon University / Santa Fe Institute

“Most of our notions are intuitive, unformalized, and vague. This suits us well enough, most of the time, and arguably some degree of vagueness is inevitable. Still, from time to time we want to make a notion less vague, less intuitive and more explicit, more amenable to examination and reasoning – to formalize it.”

 

 

INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERS

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CHRISTIAN BASON 

MindLab

“We must replace the concept of authority with the more open term platform, which means that the role of the public sector becomes more supportive and facilitating for others.”



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JESPER CHRISTIANSEN 

MindLab

“The concept of innovation as a ‘necessity’ in the light of this current crisis has been a significant addition to the ‘instruments’ of public governance.”


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GEOFF MULGAN

National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts

“One of the lessons of history is that even the deepest crises can be moments of opportunity. They bring ideas from the margins into the mainstream.”


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LEE RAINIE

Pew Research Center

“Social relations are changing in a pretty big way. We are moving in a gradual form, but now accelerated by technology, from a social system that was built around small, tight-knit groups and big, bureaucratic hierarchies, to a new system that’s built around more loose-knit, more dispersed networks.


CHIEF OF RESEARCH:

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STEFAAN G. VERHULST

New York University 

“We have new tools of collaboration and new social scientific insights for how to put them to good use, to source new and better ideas whether from data or from people. But we lack institutions that can quickly discover, recognize, implement and scale innovative solutions to these, and other, problems.”




NETWORK COORDINATOR:

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ANDREW YOUNG

New York University