GovLab
GovLab

An Introduction to GovLab

The GovLab’s mission is to improve people’s lives by changing the way we govern using new technology. Our goal is to strengthen the ability of institutions – including but not limited to governments – and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems. We believe that increased availability and use of data, new ways to leverage the capacity, intelligence, and expertise of people in the problem-solving process, combined with new advances in technology and science can transform governance. In this whirlwind overview, CUSP-affiliated Professor Beth Noveck will introduce the GovLab and its work, including our work on data and civic engagement. Professor Victoria Alsina will talk about GovLab’s urban governance incubator in Madrid. GovLab Director of Research Stefaan Verhulst will present GovLab’s work on Data Collaboratives and public-private data partnerships and Knowledge Director Andrew Young will talk about GovLab’s work on Circular City data in New York City.
Headshot of Beth Simone Noveck

Beth Simone Noveck directs the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. She is a Professor in Technology, Culture, and Societyand affiliated faculty at the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy appointed her as the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer 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, the Center for Open ScienceOpen Contracting Partnership 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.

Beth is the author of 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). Her next book, Public Entrepreneurship: Training the Next Generation of Public Leader and Problem Solver, will appear with Yale Press. Her TED talk is here. She tweets @bethnoveck.

Headshot of Stefaan Verhulst

Stefaan G. Verhulst is Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the Governance Laboratory @NYU (GovLab) where he is responsible for building a research foundation on how to transform governance using advances in science and technology.

He is the Curator and Editor of the Living Library and The Digest.

Verhulst’s latest scholarship centers on how technology can improve people’s lives and the creation of more effective and collaborative forms of governance. Specifically, he is interested in the perils and promise of collaborative technologies and how to harness the unprecedented volume of information to advance the public good.

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. At Markle, an operational foundation based in New York, he was responsible for overseeing strategic research on all the priority areas of the Foundation including, for instance: transforming health care using information and technology, re-engineering government to respond to new national security threats, improving people’s lives in developing countries by connecting them to information networks, developing multi-stakeholder networks to tackle global governance challenges, changing education through information technology et al. Many of Markle’s reports have been translated into legislation and executive orders, and have informed the creation of new organizations and businesses.

He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of 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 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, the UK Department for International Development among others. He has been a grant recipient of 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 (Routledge, 2001); Convergence in European Communications Regulation (Blackstone, 1999); EC Media Law and Policy (AWL, 1998); Legal Responses to the Changing Media (OUP, 1998); and Broadcasting Reform in India (OUP, 1998) and The Routledge Handbook of Media Law (2013).

Latest reports and papers include, for instance, Innovations in Global Governance: Toward a Distributed Internet Governance Ecosystem (2014) and The Open Data Era in Health and Social Care (2014), and are also available here. Verhulst blogs also regularly on a variety of topics. For instance: Data Collaboratives: Exchanging Data to Improve People’s Lives (2015), and Reimagining Cities (2014).

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.

Headshot of Andrew Young

Andrew Young is the Knowledge Director at The GovLab, where he leads research efforts focusing on the impact of technology on public institutions. Among the grant-funded projects he has directed are a global assessment of the impact of open government data; comparative benchmarking of government innovation efforts against those of other countries; a methodology for leveraging corporate data to benefit the public good; and crafting the experimental design for testing the adoption of technology innovations in federal agencies.

Andrew has authored or co-authored a number of extended works on new approaches for improving governance with technology, including the books The Global Impact of Open Dataand Open Data in Developing Economies. He also contributed a chapter to Smarter New York City – How City Agencies Innovate from Columbia University Press.

He is also the Network Coordinator of the GovLab-chaired MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance. In this role, he plans and organizes collaborative research projects and events with the Network’s members, post-docs, and advisory group who span a dozen disciplines and institutions. Andrew works closely with GovLab civic technology team and has led the design of the Network of Innovators skill sharing network for civil servants and the Open Governance Research Exchange (OGRX), a collaborative project of the GovLab, World Bank, and mySociety to develop a platform for accessing and sharing original research on governance innovation.

In his role as Knowledge Director, Andrew seeks to make GovLab’s research more accessible and actionable, and provides research and writing support to all members of GovLab’s team and to its extended network of participants in GovLab’s training programs.

Andrew earned his Master’s degree in the Media, Culture and Communication department of NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, with a focus on Technology and Society. His Master’s thesis explored the use of data-tracking technologies on congressional campaign websites to inform microtargeting efforts.

Before arriving at the GovLab, Andrew worked with Chief of Research Stefaan Verhulst at the Markle Foundation, where his research centered on the use of 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. His writings can be found in Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, GrantCraft, and Governing, among others. He tweets at @_AndrewYoung.

Headshot of Victoria Alsina

Victoria Alsina is a Senior Fellow at The GovLab, where she coordinates the CrowdLaw Initiative, and a Research Professor in Technology, Culture, and Society at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. At the Harvard Kennedy School, she is Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, and Associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Her current research and teaching focus on finding innovative solutions to rethink public institutions, exploring how collaborative governance and citizen engagement can change the way we govern, solving some of society’s most pressing problems at the intersection of the public and private sectors and helping communities and institutions to work together to solve public problems more effectively and legitimately.

Previously, Victoria advised numerous governments and private institutions on issues related to public sector reform, public-private collaboration and democratic innovation. She holds a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from Universitat Pompeu Fabra; an MPA from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; an MA in Public Management from ESADE Business School; and a Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences from Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

She tweets @_VictoriaAlsina.