7 Nov 2014
Beth Noveck, recipient on an “OII Internet and Society Award”, discusses the work of NYU’s Governance Lab (which she directs), and the role of data in opening up government. She starts by discussing the origins of her interest in open government, democratisation, and political culture. She then discusses how opening up government data can translate into positive outcomes — in terms of delivery of services, greater transparency, and strategies for collaborative goverment-citizen solutions — and also how easy/difficult it is in practice to open and promote cultural change in government. She discusses how our notion of citizenship needs to change: we need a more active conception of citizenship, with citizens regarded as cocreators and participants, rather than simply monitors of government. Working in both the academic and policy worlds, Beth closes by emphasising the importance of being academically rigorous and evidence-based, while also engaging with the real world; that is, having an impact on policy and the running of institutions, and doing academic work quickly and well, with “real-world urgency”. We should consider not just what we ‘can’ do with new media to promote a stronger democratic culture, but also what we ‘should’ be doing.