A curated selection of major developments, findings, and views related to how we improve people’s lives by changing how we govern, delivered weekly.
Beth Simone Noveck directs The Governance Lab and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance.
The Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab, Beth is a professor of law at New York Law School. She served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative (2009-2011). UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government, and she served on the Obama-Biden transition team. Among projects she’s designed or collaborated on are Unchat, The Do Tank, Peer To Patent, Data.gov, Challenge.gov and the GovLab’s Living Labs and training platform.
A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, she was named one of the “Foreign Policy 100″ byForeign Policy, one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company and one of the “Top Women in Technology” by Huffington Post. She has also been honored by both the National Democratic Institute and Public Knowledge for her work in civic technology.
Beth is the author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds. Her next book The Networked State will appear with Harvard University Press.
She tweets @bethnoveck.
Lee Rainie is the Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, a non-profit, non–partisan “fact tank” that studies the social impact of the internet. The Project has issued more than 450 reports based on its surveys that examine people’s online activities and the internet’s role in their lives. All of its reports and datasets are available online for free at: http://www.pewinternet.org.
Lee is a co-author of Networked: The new social operating system with sociologist Barry Wellman about the social impact of the internet and cell phones. He is also co-author of five books about the future of the internet that are based on Project surveys about the subject.
Prior to launching the Pew Internet Project, Lee was managing editor of U.S. News & World Report.
He tweets @lrainie.
Deb Roy is an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is Chief Media Scientist of Twitter. He conducts research at the MIT Media Lab on language, games, and social dynamics at the intersection of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. In 2008 he co-founded and was the founding CEO of Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics company, which MIT Technology Review named as one of the 50 most innovative companies of 2012. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013. An author of over 100 academic papers in machine learning, cognitive modeling, and human-machine interaction, his TED talk, Birth of a Word, has been viewed over 3 million times. A native of Canada, Roy received a Bachelor of Applied Science (computer engineering) from the University of Waterloo and a PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT.
He tweets @dkroy.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread.
He is also the 3Com Founders Professor of Engineering in the School of Engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also heads the Decentralized Information Group (DIG). He is also a Professor in the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, UK.
Berners-Lee is also the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards organization founded in 1994 that develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. He is also a Director of the World Wide Web Foundation, launched in 2009 to coordinate efforts to further the potential of the Web to benefit humanity. Previously, he acted as the Director of the Web Science Trust (WST), an organization launched in 2009 to promote research and education in Web Science, the multidisciplinary study of humanity connected by technology. In 2000, he authored the book, Weaving the Web.
A globally respected proponent of open government data, Berners-Lee is a member of the UK’s Transparency Board and president of London’s Open Data Institute.
In 2001 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has been the recipient of several international awards including the Japan Prize, the Prince of Asturias Foundation Prize, the Millennium Technology Prize and Germany’s Die Quadriga award. In 2004, he was knighted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth, and in 2007 he was awarded the Order of Merit. In 2009, he was elected a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences.
On March 18, 2013, Berners-Lee, along with Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreesen, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for “ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity.”
He tweets @timberners_lee.
Anita M. McGahan is Associate Dean and holds the Rotman Chair of Management at the Rotman School and is cross-appointed at the Munk School of Public Affairs at the University of Toronto. She is also a Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard University and Chief Economist in the Division of Global Health and Human Rights at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Her many professional roles also include election into the Executive leadership ranks of the Academy of Management and Chair of the Scientific Board at the Danish Research Institute on Industrial Dynamics (DRUID).
McGahan focuses on the study of broad social problems that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements – examples include widespread poverty, climate change, and health-system reform. One of her many missions involves a drastic revamping of professional education in order to inspire and equip students to apply their talents and knowledge in advancing solutions to these important problems. Her research deals primarily with industry change, entrepreneurship in the public interest, and global heath. She is the author of dozens of research articles as well as a 2004 HBS Press book called How Industries Evolve, and has been cited for her leadership in the strategic use of technology. McGahan is also an Area Editor at the Strategic Management Journal and Management Science and is on the boards of several major journals, including the Academy of Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, and Strategic Organization. Academic publications include studies on the health delivery, pharmaceutical, medical devices, consumer electronics, brewing and insurance industries, among others. She has also conducted case studies on automobiles, wheelchairs, baseball, telecommunications, network software, airlines, pharmaceuticals, movie theaters, soft drinks, toy retailing, retail banking and high-pressure laminates. Her large-scale statistical studies have investigated broad patterns in the performance of organizations, such as the rate at which turnarounds occur, the importance of industry conditions to profitability, the conditions for persistence in profitability, and the importance of corporate parents in nurturing risky businesses.
She tweets @anitamcgahan.
Stefaan G. Verhulst is Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the Governance Lab, where he is responsible for building a research foundation on how to transform governance using advances in science and technology.
Before joining NYU full time, Verhulst spent more than a decade as Chief of Research for the Markle Foundation, where he continues to serve as Senior Advisor. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communications at New York University, Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Media and Communications Studies at Central European University in Budapest and an Affiliated Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Global Communications Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications.
Previously at Oxford University, he co-founded and was the Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio Legal Studies, and also served as Senior Research Fellow of Wolfson College. He is still an Emeritus Fellow at Oxford. He also taught for several years at the London School of Economics.
Verhulst was the UNESCO Chairholder in Communications Law and Policy for the UK, a former lecturer on Communications Law and Policy issues in Belgium, and Founder and Co-Director of the International Media and Info-Comms Policy and Law Studies at the University of Glasgow School of Law. He has served as a consultant to numerous international and national organizations, including the Council of Europe, the European Commission, UNESCO, World Bank, UNDP, USAID and the UK Department for International Development, among others. He has received grants from the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Markle Foundation.
Verhulst has authored and co-authored several books, including: In Search of the Self: Conceptual Approaches to Internet Self Regulation, Convergence in European Communications Regulation, EC Media Law and Policy, Legal Responses to the Changing Media and Broadcasting Reform in India. Most recently, he co-edited The Routledge Handbook of Media Law. Verhulst is also founder and editor of numerous journals including the International Journal of Communications Law and Policy and the Communications Law in Transition Newsletter.
Andrew Young is the Network Coordinator of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance and the Associate Director of Research at the Governance Lab.
Andrew is a 2013 graduate of the Media, Culture and Communication department of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, where his work focused on the intersection of technology and society. His Master’s thesis, “The Need for Increased Transparency and Public Scrutiny in the World of Congressional Campaign Voter Data Collection,” featured original research into the data collection practices of the entire field of 2012 congressional candidates and won the departmental Distinguished Thesis Award.
Before joining the Governance Lab, Andrew worked as a researcher at the Markle Foundation, where his work centered on the use of information and communications technology to bolster economic security.
Prior to his graduate work at NYU, Andrew attended Pennsylvania State University and Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he studied English and Communications.
Jesper Christiansen is Research Manager at Danish public innovation unit MindLab. He is currently directing research and reflectional work across the innovation projects of MindLab that all in different ways transform public service systems from a human-centred approach. He is also leading a project that is transforming the practice of policy making in the Danish ministry of employment. Jesper has just finished a Ph.D. project on the policy and practice of public innovation processes and is now advising the Danish Government on matters of enabling new cultures of decision-making in development and implementation efforts. In his consultancies, he has also worked with and advised UK and Australian Governments as well as having partnered with various NGO’s, design businesses and local innovation units. In addition, he is teaching public innovation and design on MA and graduate modules at Aarhus University and University of Southern Denmark. Jesper holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology and an additional degree in Journalism.
Christian Bason is Chief Executive of the Danish Design Centre (DDC), which works to strengthen the value of all forms of design in society. Before joining DDC, Christian headed MindLab, a cross-governmental innovation unit run by a range of national ministries and a city government, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Prior to joining MindLab, he held various leading positions at Ramboll, an international consultancy, including as Head of the public organization and management practice and as Head of employment and human resource policy evaluation.
Bason is passionate about transforming the public sector’s ability to better meet the needs of citizens and society. He has presented to and advised a wide range of governments around the world on innovation in the public sector, and is a member of a number of advisory bodies in Denmark and internationally. Most recently, he was Chair of the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Public Sector Innovation. He is a regular columnist and blogger and the author of five books on leadership, design, innovation and change in the public sector. Christian Basons most recent books include Design for Policy (Gower Ashgate, forthcoming 2014), Leading Public Sector Innovation: Co-creating for a Better Society (Policy Press 2010) and (in Danish) Put the Citizen into Play: How to Involve Citizens and Businesses in Public Sector Innovation (Gyldendal Public 2009). Recent research publications include “Discovering co-production by design” (DESIS Research Network 2013), “Engaging Citizens in Policy Innovation: Benefiting public policy from the design inputs of citizens and stakeholders as ‘experts’ (Australian National University 2013), “Public managers as designers” (Danish Journal of Management and Business, 2012) and “Powering Collaborative Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” (The Innovation Journal 2012).
Bason holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Aarhus University, executive education from Harvard Business School and the Wharton School and is currently a Ph.D. Fellow at Copenhagen Business School, where he is writing a thesis on public managers as designers.
He tweets @christianbason
Geoff Mulgan is Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and Visiting Professor at University College London, the London School of Economics and the University of Melbourne.
A globally recognized pioneer in the field of social innovation, Mulgan founded the think tank Demos and served as Director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and Director of Policy under Tony Blair. His CV also lists Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown, MP; lecturer in telecommunications; investment executive; and reporter on BBC TV and radio. He is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, University College London, Melbourne University and a regular lecturer at the China Executive Leadership Academy. He is an adviser to many governments around the world, and has been a board member of the Work Foundation, the Health Innovation Council, Political Quarterly and the Design Council, as well as Chair of Involve. He is also currently Chair of the Studio Schools Trust and the Social Innovation Exchange.
He has written a number of books including: Communication and Control: networks and the new economies of communication, Politics in an Anti-Political Age, Connexity, Good and Bad Power: the Ideals and Betrayals of Government, The Art of Public Strategy, and The Locust and the Bee: Predators and Creators in Capitalism’s Future.
He tweets @geoffmulgan.
Cosma Shalizi is an Associate Professor in the Statistics department at Carnegie Mellon University and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.
Much of his earlier work involved complexity measures, like thermodynamic depth, and especially Grassberger-Crutchfield-Young “statistical complexity,” the amount of information about the past of a system needed to optimally predict its future. After receiving his doctorate, he moved from the mathematics of optimal prediction to devising algorithms to estimate such predictors from finite data, and applying those algorithms to concrete problems.
Today, his work focuses on using tools from probability, statistics and machine learning to understand large, complex, nonlinear dynamical systems; like applying data mining and machine learning to economics to form a new model of economic thinking.
Prior to his current positions, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Complex Systems and at the Santa Fe Institute. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001. A frequent collaborator of Henry Farrell, Shalizi is writing a book on the statistical analysis of complex systems models. His published papers include: “Social Media as Windows on the Social Life of the Mind,” “Quantifying Self-Organization with Optimal Predictors” and “Methods and Techniques in Complex Systems Science: An Overview,” among many others. He also writes the popular science blog Three-Toed Sloth.
Erik W. Johnston is an Associate Professor of the Policy Informatics School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University (ASU) and the Director of the Center for Policy Informatics.
Johnston’s research focuses on Policy informatics, the study of how computational and communication technology is leveraged to specifically understand and address complex public policy and administration problems and realize innovations in governance processes and institutions. His research explores how our governance systems can evolve to address increasingly complex challenges, and to meet the rising expectations of people to be full participants in their governance systems, what changes we need to make in technology, processes, institutional capacity and social norms to realize that future. For example, stakeholders are becoming more diverse, unequal, vocal and polarized, which will require the development of effective solutions, including creative approaches to collaborative governance, participatory decision-making and the ability to identify and mitigate the causes of social and environmental conflict. Urbanization and climate change are anticipated to increase societal challenges related to human-environment interactions, particularly with respect to environmental health and natural hazards. Reducing health and infrastructure vulnerability to current and future threats requires innovative, interdisciplinary approaches integrating basic and applied natural and social science in a framework that not only provides stakeholders with new evidence to support effective decision-making, but also accelerates the identification of the next series of important questions that research must address. These interests are catalyzed through three current research focuses: open governance, participatory modeling, and smarter governance infrastructures.
A dedicated action researcher, Johnston leads the team at ASU that is studying how people come together to collaborate, using 10,000 Solutions, a university-wide challenge platform to propose answers to every problem from education to human rights. He is also the driving force behind the ASU Policy Challenge, an ideation contest for contributing policy suggestions to the White House. Johnston is the author of “Design Lessons for Smart Governance Infrastructures,” a chapter in American Governance 3.0: Rebooting the Public Square? His many publications include “The influence of collaboration on program outcomes: The Colorado Nurse-Family Partnership,” “A Computational Approach to Managing Performance Dynamics in Networked Governance Systems,” “Governance Infrastructures in 2020” and “Managing the Inclusion Process in Collaborative Governance.”
With undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Psychology as well as an M.B.A. and Masters of Science in Information Technology from the University of Denver, Johnston holds a Ph.D. in Information from the University of Michigan with a certificate on complex systems.
Sheena S. Iyengar is the inaugural S.T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and the Director of the Global Leadership Matrix and Research Director at the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business.
A social psychologist and renowned expert on the subject of choice, Iyengar’s innovative research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Security Education Program. In 2002, she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Social Scientists by the Executive Office of the President.
Iyengar has taught on a wide variety of topics at Columbia for MBA and Executive MBA students, including leadership, decision making, creativity, and globalization, earning an Innovation in the Teaching Curriculum award along the way. She was also recently selected by Columbia University’s President’s Office to teach at the Global Leadership Fellows Program at the World Economics Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.
In her critically acclaimed book, The Art of Choosing, she presents the biology and the psychology of choice, examining how different cultures construct choice and pondering how we might choose better. The Art of Choosing was a finalist for the 2010 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, received the 2011 Gold Axiom Business Book Award in the “General Business/Economics” category, and was selected by Amazon.com editors as one of the Top 10 Best Business Books of 2010. Iyengar’s other publications and working papers include: “The Dark Side of Choice: When Choice Impairs Social Welfare,” “Allocating Resources Among Group Members: The Medium of Exchange” and “Creating Our Selves Through Choice: Opportunity and Obligation,” among many others. She has also written for CNN.com, Slate and strategy + business, and has been a guest on CNN, CNBC, CBS Sunday Morning News and The Today Show.
Iyengar has degrees in Economics and Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University.
She tweets @Sheena_Iyengar.
Deborah Estrin is currently a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell NYC Tech, and co-founder of the non-profit startup, Open mHealth. From 2000-2013, Estrin was a Professor of Computer Science with a joint appointment in Electrical Engineering at UCLA, where she held the Jon Postel Chair in Computer Networks, and was Founding Director of the NSF-funded Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS, 2001-2012).
Estrin is a pioneer in networked sensing, which uses mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world and the people who occupy it. Estrin’s current focus is on mobile health (mhealth), leveraging the programmability, proximity, and pervasiveness of mobile devices and the cloud for health management. Her ongoing projects include Participatory Sensing for civic engagement and STEM education, and self-monitoring applications in support of health and wellness.
Some of her recent publications include “Making Sense of Mobile Health Data: An Open Architecture to Improve Individual- and Population-Level Health” in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, “Open mHealth Architecture: An Engine for Health Care Innovation” in Science Magazine and “Participatory Sensing: applications and architecture (Internet Predictions)” in IEEE Internet Computing.
Estrin is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. She is also a Fellow of the Association for
Computing Machinery, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She was selected as the first ACM-W Athena Lecturer in 2006, was awarded the Anita Borg Institute’s Women of Vision Award for Innovation in 2007, inducted into the WITI hall of fame in 2008, and awarded Doctor Honoris Causa from EPFL in 2008 and Uppsala University in 2011. Professor Estrin was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and into the National Academy of Engineering in 2009.
Estrin received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her B.S. from U.C. Berkeley.
Henry Farrell is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, and Co-Chair of the Social Science Research Council’s Digital Knowledge Initiative. He has previously been a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Assistant Professor at George Washington University and the University of Toronto, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Max-Planck Project Group in Bonn, Germany.
As a leading political scientist, Farrell works on a variety of topics, including trust, the politics of the Internet and international and comparative political economy. His book, The Political Economy of Trust: Interests, Institutions and Inter-Firm Cooperation, was published in 2008. In addition he has authored or co-authored twenty-three academic articles for journals including International Organization, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies and the Annual Review of Political Science, as well as numerous book chapters for edited volumes.
Professor Farrell is an associate editor of Perspectives on Politics and Research and Politics, a Foreign Correspondent for Stato e Mercato and a member of the executive committee of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. He is a co-founder of the popular academic blog Crooked Timber, and also blogs at The Monkey Cage, winner of the 2010 The Week award for Best Blog. He has written articles for general publications including Foreign Affairs, The Financial Times, Foreign Policy, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, The Boston Review, The American Interest, Democracy, New Scientist, The Nation, Aeon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Times Higher Education and the Australian Academic Supplement, among others.
He tweets @henryfarrell.
Karim R. Lakhani is the Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the Principal Investigator of the Harvard-NASA Tournament Lab at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. He specializes in the management of technological innovation in firms and communities. His research is on distributed innovation systems and the movement of innovative activity to the edges of organizations and into communities. He has extensively studied the emergence of open source software communities and their unique innovation and product development strategies. He has also investigated how critical knowledge from outside of the organization can be accessed through innovation contests. Currently Professor Lakhani is investigating incentives and behavior in contests and the mechanisms behind scientific team formation through field experiments on the TopCoder platform and the Harvard Medical School.
Professsor Lakhani’s research on distributed innovation has been published in Harvard Business Review, Innovations, Management Science, Nature Biotechnology, Organization Science, Research Policy and the Sloan Management Review. He is the co-editor of Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software (MIT Press), a book on community-based innovation. He has also published teaching cases on leading organizations practicing distributed innovation including: Data.gov, InnoCentive, Google, Myelin Repair Foundation, SAP, Threadless, TopCoder and Wikipedia. His research has been featured in publications like BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc., The New York Times, The New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, Science, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Wired.
Professor Lakhani was awarded his Ph.D. in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds an MS degree in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Management from McMaster University in Canada. He was a recipient of the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship and a four year doctoral fellowship from Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council. Prior to coming to HBS he served as a Lecturer in the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Professor Lakhani has also worked in sales, marketing and new product development roles at GE Healthcare and was a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group. He was also the inaugural recipient of the TUM-Peter Pribilla Innovation Leadership Award.
He tweets @klakhani.