Click here to apply for the Gov 3.0 online mentoring and training program!


Instructor: Professor Beth Simone Noveck,, @bethnoveck

Sherpas: Mehan Jayasuriya,, @mehan_j

   Cosmo Fujiyama,, @COSMOFUJIYAMA

Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 4:55 - 6:35pm

First Class: January 29th

Physical location: ARC (Academic Resource Center, 18 Washington Place), Room LL04

Virtual location: Unhangout permalink

Class blog:

Class hackpad

Short Description: A mentoring and training program that helps you to develop the mindset and skillset for leveraging the power of institutions and networks to design and implement effective solutions to public interest challenges. You will develop a project and a plan for its implementation, including a long and short description, a presentation deck, a persuasive video and project blog.

Suggest corrections or changes to this syllabus: send a pull request to this GitHub repo or email Mehan.

Previous syllabuses:


The first years of the 21st century have been characterized by seemingly intractable global challenges. Huge, complex problems, from climate change to global inequality, threaten the stability of our economies, the health of the planet and the human race itself. We have looked to traditional societal institutions to tackle these problems, and we have been frustrated by their inability to act effectively and legitimately. People are increasingly angry about political systems where every day is Election Day, campaigning has a higher priority than problem-solving, and political expediency seems to take precedence over the public interest. As a result, trust in existing institutions is at an all-time low.

To solve today’s complex problems, from climate change to economic inequality, we will need innovation in the very design of our democratic institutions. In our current model of government, an elite group of elected and appointed leaders is supposed to solve critical problems largely on their own, without significantly engaging the insights, experience, and brainpower of the people they represent. Moreover, our systems of government have failed to use the new tools and technologies that have been successfully applied in other arenas including the private sector. Consider:

  • Technology has lowered the cost and ease of communication, yet we still have an 18th century model of representative democracy where participation is limited to occasional voting and affords few opportunities for people to participate in governing.
  • Technology enables diverse experts with different skills and experience to work together, across a distance, yet we still have a 19th century model of centralized and professional bureaucracy.
  • Research demonstrates that people can and will collaborate in purposeful groups on- and off-line, yet we still have a political culture dominated by entrenched parties and deep pockets that treats a talented public as outsiders and impedes collaboration.
  • The private sector is increasingly embracing data-driven experimentation and collaboration with customers and suppliers, yet our governing institutions are still bounded by legal rules and policies that prohibit rapid experimentation.

Groundbreaking technological advances, together with new social science research on collaboration, have inspired many to reexamine how we make decisions and solve problems. For example, the U.S. and UK governments have released open data for public use leading to path-breaking new tools; the U.S. federal government has used prizes and challenges to spur innovative approaches to solving problems; and 1500 cities around the world have instituted participatory budgeting to give citizens direct control over some public funds to limit corruption and improve how we govern.

This shift from top-down, closed government to decentralized, open and smarter governance may become a major social innovation in the 21st century. Yet we still know very little about what works when, why, and under what conditions.



Gov 3.0 is aimed at those who want to develop a specific social good project for which they want to build the skills to move it closer to implementation.  The course targets the "purpose driven learner" -- the person with a topic about which they are passionate -- who wants to expand her toolkit for social change. Group projects are strongly encouraged.

The syllabus is designed to expose you to a new skill and have you teach yourself how to apply it to the topic you are passionate about. We have the daunting task of teaching ourselves something about technology and something about law & policy and how to combine them effectively to translate good ideas into implementable action.


You will develop a project and a plan for its implementation, including a long and short description, a slide deck, a persuasive video and project blog.


Intellectual curiosity and a willingness to experiment are essential for this course. No formal technology training are assumed or required but an interest in and willingness to play with new tools will be.


All readings will be freely available on the open web or distributed during class. For additional reading on the topics of the course, there are four books I recommend acquiring: Beth Noveck, Wiki Government (2009) which is also freely available from the library as an eBook Wiki Government Electronic Version; Steven Johnson, Future Perfect (2012); Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2010); and Laurel Ruma, ed., Open Government (2010) (link) (freely available online).


Everything you need will be linked to from this syllabus. We do not use Google Classes or Blackboard. Updates will be circulated via the Gov 3.0 listserv.


#gov30 is the class hashtag.


  • During seminars: Participants will attend and participate actively. Because lectures will be online and watched prior to class, seminar time will be used for conversations, demonstrations, and design problems. Attendance at all seminars, given our limited time together, is mandatory: if you must be absent, let Beth and Mehan know in advance.
  • Presenting Early and Often: During the course of the term, we will work together to develop an approach to tackling the problem you are passionate about. We want to learn to develop projects that are high impact and yet practical to implement and to avoid inventing or reinventing wheels. Hence you will be asked to identify your problem and solution very early and constantly refine it throughout the semester through iterative presentations.
  • Speakers: We will have cool and interesting visitors through the semester to enliven our discussions and offer additional coaching and mentoring. Speakers will be announced prior to class and the syllabus will be updated with their bios and presentation materials where relevant.


  • Project Plan (40%)
  • Long Description
  • Two Page Memo
  • Presentation Deck
  • Video
  • Project Blog (40%)
  • Informed, in-class Participation (20%)

All your work will be iterative. We will repeatedly design, present, revise, enabling you to finish the course with vetted writing samples. I expect that you will tweet, live blog and/or blog out of class. Postings are not letter graded. You will submit one posting to me in the first half of the semester, which I will edit and you will revise and republish before the end of the semester.


The following icons pertain to project milestones as well as skillsets that you can expect to learn and use over the course of the semester. Look for these icons next to items in the syllabus to get a sense of what you'll be doing each week.

 Innovation Toolkit: These are the core skills you'll learn in the program--ideas that are being used to solve public problems in new ways. Tools in this kit include Open Data, Big Data, Linked Data, Personal Data, Urban Analytics and Smart Disclosure.

 Prototyping Toolkit: These are the skills you'll use to complete a prototype or mock-up of your idea. While we won't be formally teaching most of these skills during seminars, we'll point you toward resources you can use to teach these skills to yourself. In some cases, we'll even bring in outside experts to introduce you to new tools for prototyping. Tools in this kit include Data Analysis, Data Scraping, Data Visualization, Research Techniques, Video Production, Presentation Skills, Web Design and Visual Design.

 Project Alert: This denotes either a major milestone for your project, an opportunity you'll have to discuss progress made on your project and solicit feedback or a project presentation.


January 29th - CLASS 1 - The Crisis of Governance and the Potential for New Technology



  • Introduction: Through collection, computation and visualization of large-scale data sets, we might be able to make better-informed decisions. We could use new methods for generating ideas from more people in response to wicked challenges. New insights from social and behavioral research are teaching us how to use tools like prizes, games, challenges and “nudges” to create incentives for engagement. We are developing social machines – collaboration platforms – for organizing work at a distance that could translate into ways to get all hands on deck to undertake action together. Advances in technology – as well as social scientific insights about how to make use of the tools now available –are helping us to re-imagine how we govern in the 21st century.  
  • Reading: Readings: Scott Adams, What If Government Were More Like an iPod? WSJ, Nov. 5, 2011 (link); Joi Ito, An Open-Source Society, Innovating By the Seat of Our Pants, New York Times (link);
  • Watching: Video: Clay Shirky, How the Internet will (One Day) Transform Government? (VIDEO); Beth Noveck, Demand a More Open Source Government (VIDEO);  David Cameron (VIDEO); Tim O’Reilly, Government as a Platform (2010) (VIDEO); Jen Pahlka, Coding a Better Government (VIDEO)
  • In Class: Today we'll introduce three modes of governance innovation: 1) Smarter Governance: Getting Knowledge In; 2) Open Data Governance: Pushing Data Out; 3) Devolved Governance: Sharing Responsibility and will discuss the goals for Gov 3.0. In class, we'll ask you to talk about your "passion problem" and why it is compelling to you.
  • After Class: Set up your Truonex page (we'll go over this in class). Write one page about your compelling problem. Post it on your Truonex page (as a Word doc, Google doc, etc.) and send the link to your Truonex page to Mehan and Cosmo by next Wednesday.
  • After class: Fill out the Skillshare survey.
  • Class 1 slidedeck (PDF)
  • Class recording

February 5th - CLASS 2 - Institutional Innovation and the Open Government Movement: Three Modalities of Innovation



  • Introduction: In this class, we discuss the recent history of the open government movement and three modes of open governance: 1) Smarter Governance: Getting Knowledge In; 2) Open Data Governance: Pushing Data Out; 3) Devolved Governance: Sharing Responsibility  
  • Reading: Noveck, Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful, Chapters 2, 4 and 8. (E-BOOK); Tiago Peixoto, “Open Government, Feedback Loops, and Semantic Extravaganza,” DemocracySpot, July 17, 2013 (link); Tom Steinberg, “What should we do about the naming deficit / surplus,” mySociety Blog, April 9, 2013 (link); The GovLab, “Open Government – What’s in a Name?” The GovLab Blog, August 5, 2013 (link); Beth Noveck, “Defining Open Government,” Cairns Blog, April 14, 2011 (link). Check out these key texts: President Obama, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government (link); OMB Open Government Directive (link); Open Government Declaration of the Open Government Partnership (link); Rakesh Rajani, Open Government is Human Government (link); Prime Minister David Cameron, Letter to Government Departments on Opening Up Data, May 31, 2010 (link).
  • Video: Jeremy Weinstein, Professor, Stanford University; National Security Council (2009 - 2011). (VIDEO) (pw: enjoy)
  • In Class: Writing the Killer One Page Memo
  • After Class: Write a killer one-page memo about your compelling problem and post it on your Truonex page before next week's class.
  • Class recording
  • Class slides

February 12th - CLASS 3 - In-Class Skillshare



Get to know your fellow participants' skills, interests and passions in this class-long skillshare that will take place in person and online on Wednesday and at other times to be specified. Participants will fill out a form indicating what skills they are able to teach and what skills they would like to acquire in order to fully realize their final projects. A skills share workshop should be designed to teach someone how to do something. It is not a lecture. Rather, design an exercise to do together with your group.

After class: We want to start to do background research on your problem. Identify 5 questions you want to try to answer in connection with your project. We'll have a workshop next week on "how to conduct a literature review."

5:10pm sessions
Breakout Room 1

Data for Social Good [Peter Darche, DataKind]:

Peter will discuss his work at DataKind, a non-profit organization that brings together leading data scientists with high impact social organizations through a comprehensive, collaborative approach that leads to shared insights, greater understanding, and positive action through data in the service of humanity.

Breakout Room 2

Open Transit Data [Brian Ferris, Google]:

Open transit data: what it is, where it comes from, the ecosystems it has enabled, and its impact on both government agencies and citizens alike.

Breakout Room 3

Developing a New Framework for ICANN [Jillian Raines and Antony Declercq, GovLab]:

We're going to present on the GovLab's ICANN Project, i.e. how we've gone about our quest for developing the framework for a 21st century institution governing in the global public interest.

Breakout Room 4

Human-Centered Design [Rubina Haddad]:

Tools and techniques to help you focus on the user and their goals at the beginning of the project and throughout.

Breakout Room 5

Visualize your data with Tableau software [Erin Simpler]:

Learn the key features and get started with using this free software to explore data and create interactive visualizations share-able through the web. If you plan to participate in this session, please download a free trial of Tableau prior to the session ( and be prepared to follow along on your machine.

6pm sessions
Breakout Room 1

How to Build an Expert System [David Johnson and Kathryn Johnson]:

The theory and practice of building and deploying systems that provide situation specific guidance with regard to legal (and other) issues, based on user responses to questions and application of internal logic developed by non-coder experts and knowledge engineers.

Breakout Room 2

The Complete Newb's Introduction to Web Development [Chris Whong, Socrata]:

Chris Whong will teach you the most basic of basics of HTML, CSS, javascript. You WILL write code during this session!

Breakout Room 3

The Secret Lives of Bureaucrats [Kathy Sachs]:

What citizens need to know to profoundly change government (or really any institution).

Breakout Room 4

Strategic Communications [Daniel Soto]:

In this session I will how to use communications to support the objectives of your organization by reaching target audiences: what is strategic communications, how to define the objectives of the communication plan, how to map your key audiences, what are some tactics available to us, and how to measure results, among other parts of the process.

Breakout Room 5

Producing Media for Interactive Storytelling [Christopher Penalosa]:

In my workshop, I will cover the process of using open source tools to tell stories.

Breakout Room 6

Introduction to Adobe Creative Suite [Kirk Hovenkotter]:

People pay attention to great design. Adobe Creative Suite allows you to make it. This quick tutorial will run over how you can utilize Photoshop, Illustrator, and inDesign to make your slide deck and data look more appealing. If you plan on participating in this session, please download a free trial of Adobe CS prior to class and be prepared to follow along on your laptop.

February 19th - CLASS 4 - Smarter Governance: Getting Better Expertise In: Big and Small Data



  • Introduction: In this class, we explore how data can help to produce social change by learning about the tools and techniques of big data, predictive analytics, and small data. We will examine examples of how big data and small data are changing governance at the local and national level and talk about the impact of data on our project designs.
  • Reading: James Manyika et al., “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity,” The McKinsey Global Institute, May-2011 (link); David Robinson, Harlan Yu, William Zeller, and Edward W. Felten, “Government Data and the Invisible Hand,” Yale Journal of Law & Technology, vol. 11, p. 160, 2009 (link); Richard H. Thaler, “Show Us the Data: It’s Ours After All,” New York Times, April 23, 2011 (link); Esther Dyson, The Quantified Community (link); Reinventing Society in the Wake of Big Data (link);Beth Noveck and Daniel Goroff, Liberating Non-Profit Data (link); “The Promise of Urban Informatics,” Center for Urban Science and Progress, May 30, 2013 (link); Deborah    Estrin,    Professor    of    Computer    Science,    Cornell    NYC    Tech, “small    data,    where    n=me” (link)
  • Watching: GovLab Academy Resources on Urban Analytics and Crowdsourcing Opinions; Sandy Pentland, (VIDEO); Steven Koonin Interview, CUSP, NYU (VIDEO); Deborah Estrin, Small Data, Big Health Changes (TEDMED VIDEO)
  • Skill Share: Defining Your Problem: The Lit Review & Scanning the Field
  • In Class: Lit Review training Defining Your Problem, Scanning the Field, Understanding what else is out there; articulating differentiators.
  • After Class: Complete a first draft of your project deck and upload it to your Truonex page. This should serve to summarize your project memo and explain your main points in as compelling a manner as possible.
  • Class recording
  • Class slides

February 26th - CLASS 5 - Smarter Governance: Getting Better Expertise In: Expert Discovery



  • Introduction: In this session, we shift from talking about how better data can improve decision making to explore how to leverage human intelligence to solve problems. Techniques such as citation networks, reputation scores, recommender systems and disciplines such as network science, Web science and computer science are teaching us how to pinpoint who knows what, making it possible to imagine eliciting expertise that is relevant to and useful for decision making. We explore three strategies for leveraging collective intelligence: 1) expert discovery; 2) expert matching; 3) crowdsourcing
  • Reading: Noveck Book Chapter Handout (TBD)
  • Watching: GovLab Academy resources on Crowdsourcing Data and Crowdsourcing Tasks
  • In Class - Writing a letter to an expert in your field.
  • After Class - Write a draft of your letter and upload it to your Truonex page, along with updated versions of your memo and slidedeck. You will be assigned an outside expert to contact based on these materials.
  • Class recording
  • Class slides

March 5th - CLASS 6 - Smarter Governance: Getting Better Expertise In: Crowdsourcing Ideas and Crowdsourcing Tasks



  • Introduction: In this class, we look at the emerging technologies for collaboration and participation. We focus on the different typologies of crowdsourcing, including crowdsourcing ideas, tasks, data, and funding and discuss what kinds of problems lend themselves to such solutions.
  • Reading: Alex Howard, How Governments Deal With Social Media (August 9, 2011) (link); Ines Mergel, Crowdsourced Ideas Make Participating in Government Cool Again, PA Times, American Society for Public Administration, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 4, 6, 2011 (link); Tanja Aitamurto, Leiponen Aija, Richard Tee, “The Promise of Idea Crowdsourcing – Benefits, Contexts, Limitations,” [White Paper] June 2011 (link); Robert Hoskins, “Crowdfunding Press Center Releases the First Global 100 Crowdfunding Web Site Index,” Crowdfunding PR, Social Media & Marketing Campaigns, June 12, 2013 (link); Kyle Sandler, “UK Startup: Spacehive Brings Civic Crowdfunding Across the Pond,” Nibletz, November 29, 2012 (link).
  • Watching: Noveck (VIDEO TBD); Optional Videos - Alexander Howard, O’Reilly Media (VIDEO) (VIDEO 2) ; Brandon Kessler, Challenge Post (VIDEO); Joel Spolsky, Stack Exchange (VIDEO)
  • In Class: Francois Grey , NYU ITP on Citizen Science (TBD); Expanding your toolkit discussion
  • After Class: Send a letter to your expert in order to solicit advice and feedback.
  • Class recording
  • Class slides
  • Examples of good letters from last semester

March 12th CLASS 7 - Incentives to Participate: Lessons from the Social Sciences; Prize-Backed and Grand Challenges



  • Introduction: In both the private and public sectors, the use of prizes and contests to spur innovation is on the rise. These types of initiatives largely fall into one of two categories: prizes and grand challenges. As budgets tighten and information and communication technologies continue to advance, leveraging the expertise of the public through contests and challenges is becoming more attractive to government agencies. While there are differences between the two techniques, both shift the locus of innovation from inside a government agency to the public, while creating motivation beyond basic market incentives.
  • Reading: Darren Brabham, Moving the Crowd at iStockPhoto (link); Tom Kalil and Cristin Dorgelo, “Identifying Steps Forward in Use of Prizes to Spur Innovation,” White House Blog: Office of Science and Technology Policy, April 10, 2012 (link) OSTP Memo on Prizes and Challenges, Department of Health and Human Services (link); “‘And the winner is…’ Capturing the promise of philanthropic prizes,” McKinsey & Company, July 2009 (link)
  • Watching: GovLab Academy resources on Crowdsourcing Expertise (VIDEOS); Video: Tom Kalil (link) and Cristin Dorgelo (VIDEO: Collaborative Innovation)
  • Skills Share: From Idea to Implementation
  • In Class - Invited guest: Blair Glencorse, Executive Director, Accountability Lab
  • After Class - VIDEO: Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • After Class: Designing a great project is only part of the battle--you'll also need to present your project in the most convincing manner possible. Read this article on how to give a great presentation. How might you take these principles into account as you begin to plan your final presentation?

March 19th NO CLASS - NYU Spring Break


March 26th - CLASS 8 - Open Data Governance: Behavioral Insights and Smart Disclosure



  • Introduction: In this class, we look at the ways in which data are being used as an alternative regulatory strategy to improve consumer decision making and consumer protection. We explore what’s working and where this approach falls short.
  • Information: Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, from the Office of Management and Budget, September 8, 2011 (link); Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Introduction and Chapters 5, 8, 10, 17); Cass Sunstein, Simpler (Introduction and Chapter 4); “Smart Disclosure and Consumer Decision Making: Report of the Task Force on Smart Disclosure,” National Science and Technology Council,, May 2013 (link); “Better Choices: Better Deals – Consumers Powering Growth,” UK Cabinet Office & Department for Business Innovation and Skills, April 13, 2012 (link); Richard H. Thaler and Will Tucker, “Smarter Information, Smarter Consumers,” Harvard Business Review, January-February 2013 (link). Optional: Datta, Saugato and Sendhil Mullainathan. “Behavioral Design: A New Approach to Development Policy.” Center for Global Development Policy Paper 016, November 2012 (link).
  • GovLab Academy Resources on Open Data (VIDEOS) and Smart Disclosure (VIDEOS)
  • Leif Perciveld, Don’t Flush Me; (AUDIO)
  • Peter Levin - Veterans Affairs, Blue Button (AUDIO)
  • Skills Share: From Idea to Implementation
  • In Class - Guest Speaker: Joel Gurin
  • After class: Dive into mockups. Why are mockups such a powerful tool? Read this article to find out. Then, learn about two simple ways to start making mockups of your product: using Apple's Keynote presentation software and using the application Balsamiq Mockups. Pick whichever tool best suits your needs and start experimenting. If you decide you wan to learn more, check out UX Apprentice, from the makers of Balsamiq. How can you visually communicate what you want to build using mockups?

April 2nd - CLASS 9 - Devolved Governance: Participatory Budgeting



  • Introduction: In this class, we examine one of the most advanced and widespread examples of institutions devolving power over a traditional government function to citizens: participatory budgeting. Practiced now in 1500+ communities, we will look at what it is, why it works, and how devolved governance differs from privatization.
  • Information: Participatory Budgeting Project (link); “The Experience of the Participative Budget in Porto Alegre Brazil,” UNESCO MOST Best Practices for Human Settlements (link); Daniel Altschuler, “Participatory Budgeting in the United States: What Is Its Role?” Nonprofit Quarterly, April 18, 2013 (link).
  • In class - Lecture from Hollie Russon Gilman, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • After Class - Begin to shift your thinking from problem to solution; identify potential partners and collaborators.
  • After class: Start thinking about product design. This week, your job is to learn the basics of User Experience (UX) design, a methodology that seeks to design products based on users' needs. Read through the following article: Learning to Design: How I Bombed Art Class But Still Designed A Remarkable Website. Now that you've focused on a problem, how does design thinking influence your vision for a potential solution?

April 9th CLASS 10 - Devolved Governance: Peer Progressivism



  • Introduction: This week, we will continue our discussion of social and collaboration technologies by exploring how to apply online participation to the work of governance. We look at the opportunities and impediments to effective participation at a distance.
  • Information: Readings: Steven Berlin Johnson, Future Perfect (book); Laura Anthony, “Sam Ramon Fire Dept. launches app for CPR help,” ABC7 News, January 25, 2011 (link); Montana Cherney, “There’s a Hero in All of Us,” DesignWell, July 13, 2011 (link).
  • Media: Video: Steven Johnson, Author of Future Perfect (VIDEO), (VIDEO2)
  • Skills Share: From Idea to Implementation
  • In Class - Guest Speaker: John Paul Farmer
  • After Class - Submit a formal project proposal to Beth and Mehan. This proposal should be 3-5 pages in length and should describe your problem, outline the scope of your solution and identify milestones for your project. Who are you planning to collaborate with? Who will you ask for outside help? What skills will you and your partners bring to the table? What skills are missing? This is your opportunity to tell us what you intend to build and how you intend to build it, so that we can provide you with meaningful feedback.

April 16th - CLASS 11 - Open Data Governance: Open Government Data



  • Introduction: Governing produces a lot of data. Governments generate, collect and compile vast amounts of digitized data continually through activities such as collecting vital statistics, administering the tax system, recording government operations activity, managing public infrastructure and natural resources, surveying and recording public and private lands, processing regulatory requirements and managing social service delivery. Add to this flood of new digital data the large stock of previously collected data – stored in warehouses and filing cabinets in non-digital forms and archaic computer systems – and the challenges of governing in a complex environment don’t seem to reside in a lack of data. Rather, the challenge seems to be how to convert data into usable information, and how to apply knowledge to the interpretation of that information. Over the last few years, in the U.S., the United Kingdom and a growing number of other countries, the drive to open up more government data has become a national priority. Not only federal agencies, but state and local governments too are releasing more data in open formats to make their operations more transparent, bring information on government services to the public, and fuel new data-driven businesses. In this class, we explore how institutions and networks are collaborating to solve problems using newly available open government data. We discuss what is open government data and how it might lead to innovative solutions.
  • Reading: United States, Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, “Open Data Policy – Managing Information as an Asset,” May 9, 2013 (link); John P. Holdren, Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research,” February 22, 2013 (link); Open Government Data Working Group, “ Open Government Data Principles,”, 2008 (link).
  • Joel Gurin, Former Chair, White House Task Force on Smart Disclosure (WEB: Launch), (AUDIO), (Class Presentation)
  • In Class: Video production workshop with ITP resident researcher Roopa Vasudevan.
  • After Class: Beth and Mehan will schedule one-on-one meetings with each group to discuss progress made on final projects.

April 23rd - CLASS 12 - Legal and Policy Impediments to Opening Governance



  • Introduction: In order to fully leverage modern technological capabilities to make governance more open, legal and policy challenges must be understood and addressed. Many institutions remain unsure of how new tools and more data will help them achieve their missions. When combined with doubts about the legal permissibility of consulting with outside experts, publishing data freely and online, or devolving power, law and policy can contribute to a resistance to institutional innovation. As a result, collaborative platforms are often used merely as tools for broadcasting messages to the public, rather than for their full potential of co-creating solutions. In particular, significant American legislation and regulation developed before the current era of network technologies is a significant constraint on governing institutions’ ability to leverage citizen-engagement in the digital age. In this session, we survey some of the legal, policy and cultural barriers to innovations in governance.
  • Reading: GovLab Memo (TBD); Further reading on legal and policy barriers to opening governance: Jeffrey D. Zients, “Guidance on the Use of Challenges and Prizes to Promote Open Government,” Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, March 8 2010 (link); Vivek Kundra and Michael Fitzpatrick, “Enhancing Online Citizen Participation Through Policy,” Open Government Initiative, The White House, June 19, 2013 (link); “Implications of Recent Web Technologies for NARA Web Guidance,” National Archives (link); Leighninger, Matt. “Model Ordinance for Public Participation.” Deliberative Democracy Consortium, October 7, 2013 (link); America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act of 2007 or America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) (link); and America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358) (link).
  • Guest Speaker: Jillian Raines, legal and policy fellow at the GovLab.
  • In Class: Navigating the legal landscape
  • After Class: Make progress on your final project.

April 30th - CLASS 13 - In Class Project Pitch Dress Rehearsals



May 7th - CLASS 14 - FINAL CLASS


FINAL PRESENTATIONS - Presentation dates/times TBA