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Beth Simone Noveck

Beth Simone Noveck

Professor, Author, Government Adviser On Institutional Innovation

Beth Simone Noveck

Professor, Author, Government Adviser On Institutional Innovation


Beth Simone Noveck is a Professor at Northeastern University and Director of The Governance Lab (The GovLab). New Jersey governor Phil Murphy appointed her as the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer and Chancellor Angela Merkel named her to her Digital Council in 2018. She is also Visiting Senior Faculty Fellow at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. Previously, Beth served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative under President Obama. UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government.

At The GovLab, she directs better governance programs, including work with public institutions on public engagement in lawmaking (CrowdLaw), expert-sourcing innovative solutions to hard problems (Smarter Crowdsourcing), co-creation between cities and citizens (City Challenges). She also coaches "public entrepreneurs." working with passionate individuals to take their public interest projects from idea to implementation.

A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, she is a member of the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress and the EPSRC Centre for the Mathematics of Precision Healthcare. Beth also serves on the International Advisory Board of the NHS Digital Academy and the Yankelovich Democracy Monitor as well as a member of the Inter-American Development BankPresident’s Commission on Transparency and Corruption and the Global Future Council on Technology, Values and Policy for the World Economic Forum. She is a member of the Steering Committee for the Collective Intelligence Conferences and GIGAPP (Grupo de Investigación en Gobierno, Administracion y Politicas Publicas). She is co-editor of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Digital Government Research and Practice Journal.

In 2018, Beth was awarded a Robert Schumann Fellowship at the European University Institute and a Richard von Weizsaecker Fellowship by the Robert Bosch Foundation. Beth was named one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government 2018” by Apolitical. Previously, she was selected as one of the “Foreign Policy 100” by Foreign Policy as well as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company and “Top Women in Technology” by Huffington Post. She is also a popular TED speaker, receiving almost 600,000 views for her talk: Demand a More Open-source Government.

Beth is the author of Solving Public Problems: A Practical Guide to Fix Our Government and Change Our World (Yale Univ Press 2021), Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing (Harvard Univ Press 2015) and Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful (Brookings 2009) and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (NYU Press, 2005).

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Demand a More Open-Source Government

Open Data with Government and Businesses

Open Government

Big Data, Small Data, Open Data

Speech Topics

Solving Public Problems: How to Become a Change Agent

In today’s world — where divisiveness is at an all-time high and the social gap continues to widen — is it still possible to become a change agent and improve people’s lives? Absolutely, says Beth Simone Noveck, Professor at Northeastern University and Director of the Governance Lab. In this riveting talk, Noveck shares the 7 skills and methods you need to help make significant public change. When used together, along with the newest advancements in technology and working with those who you are trying to help, you can say goodbye to cumbersome bureaucracy and policies, and welcome a more-nimble way to take public-interest projects from ideas to implementation.

The Future of Work

With the introduction of more intelligent machines into the workplace, economic output could double every three months, say some economists: we will all come to do more meaningful work and Alexa, Siri and Watson will do the rest! Yet by other accounts, technology will render almost half of all jobs in the U.S. obsolete by 2030: we will lose our jobs to robots and get paid less as automation depresses wages. No one really knows the future but Beth Noveck’s talk will help you get smarter about how technologies such as AI, automation, and collective intelligence will change occupations, prices, productivity levels, and participation in the new economy. She explores who will move forward thanks to technological progress and who will be left behind and the broader political and social trends compounding the dangers of inequality. Noveck will offer answers to how we can prepare for the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Drawing on developments from around the world, she will lay out creative approaches to using data and technology to deepen our understanding, develop effective new strategies for learning and training by individuals, companies and universities. She will illuminate the best of cutting-edge AI and automation policies and government responses designed to spur innovation while protecting workers. In addition to recommendations around the need for reforming universities, investing in training programs, and safeguarding informational transparency, she will, above all, argue that we need to reinvent how we regulate new technologies creating new forms of optimal decision-making that are agile, data-driven and participatory. She will inspire you to start making changes for yourselves and your companies in the present to prepare yourself for the future of work.

Crowdsourcing Smartly: Is Democracy Prepared To Flip the Big Data Switch?

No previous generation has had the tackle the complex challenges society will confront in the coming decades, from combatting terrorism to safeguarding the future of the planet. To succeed, we have to run our institutions differently. Getting ideas from the outside — often called open innovation or crowdsourcing — should be as vital to the performance of public institutions as it has been to commerce and science. In this presentation, Beth Simone Noveck explores how new data tools hold the potential to transform how we govern, making it possible to pinpoint more diverse expertise in solving hard problems. Through "technologies of expertise" — and crowd-sourcing widely — we can create innovative institutions, active citizenship and innovative politicians.

Building Stronger Public Entrepreneurship

A common term in the startup world indicating the difficulty of covering negative cash flow in the early stages of a venture is the "valley of death." But there are more common deathtraps than cash flow. In this presentation, Beth Simone Noveck draws from her years of experience as the founder of GovLab and coach and mentor to thousands of professionals to show how we can foster more impactful entrepreneurs, change-makers and startups — by tackling the hard problems up front and leading responsibly and effectively in order to change the world for the better. She offers tips on navigating bureaucracies, legal regimes and institutions, developing compelling materials, and identifying what works and what doesn't in building stronger public entrepreneurship.

The Transformation of Governing

Survey data reveals that the public has become increasingly dissatisfied with government. According to recent Gallup Poll data, only 54% of people worldwide report having confidence in their national governments. In the U.S., only 20% of citizens say they trust the federal government to do what is right and "[n]o more than about 30% have expressed trust in the government in Washington to do the right thing at any point over the last decade." Clearly, we need something better and more legitimate than going to the polls once a year to elect politicians few people trust and who accomplish less and less because of bitter partisan wrangling. Noveck will talk about how technology is already transforming how governing happens and what we can do to accelerate the change.