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

Posted by University of Pennsylvania on January 11, 2016

2015-16 Theme Year
Digital Media and the Future(s) of Democracy

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

Beth Simone Noveck
Jerry Hultin Global Network Professor / Director of The Governance Lab
New York University

Discussant: Michael Horowitz (UPenn Poli Sci)

All attendees are encouraged to read the attached selections from Prof. Noveck’s book, Smart Citizens, Smarter State, on which this talk is based:

Chapter 8: “Smarter Citizenship” Preface

Thursday, January 14 / 4:30 pm
Silverstein Forum, Stiteler Hall
University of Pennsylvania Campus

Co-sponsored by The Annenberg School for Communication.

IMAGINE IF GOVERNMENT COULD QUICKLY GET ADVICE from infectious disease experts in the event of a pandemic, or find and reach out to cyber-security professionals following an infrastructure attack, or pose questions about our public challenges to data scientists. From combatting terrorism to safeguarding the future of the planet, society will confront unprecedented challenges over the next decades. To succeed, Noveck argues, we have to run our institutions differently. Getting ideas from outside – often called crowdsourcing or open innovation – should be just as vital for the improvement of public institutions as it has been for success in commerce and science.

Excerpt: “Changing how we make decisions will depend squarely on having the personnel who embrace openness and collaboration. The recognition of citizen expertise does not mean jettisoning the professionals and substituting some kind of web-based plebiscite-far from it. Making good use of citizen expertise will require even better-trained managers and leaders. This new breed of professional-if we can call it that with a wink and a nod-will need to know how to work and talk and decide with citizens rather than for them.” – From Smart Citizens, Smarter State

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