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Sign Up for GovLab Academy Coaching Programs

Thanks to the generous support of the Knight Foundation, this term the Governance Lab Academy – a training program designed to promote civic engagement and innovation – is launching a series of coaching programs. Geared to the teams and individuals inside and outside of government planning to undertake a new project or trying to figure […]

#OpenData Victory: Court Orders IRS to Make Public Machine Readable 990 Non-Profit Tax Return Data

The Federal District Court for the Northern District of California ruled this week that the IRS must turn over the original, machine-readable versions of nine tax returns filed with the IRS to Plaintiff (Disclosure: I filed affidavits in the case on behalf of PublicResource and its demand to make these returns available). By law, non-profit tax […]

OpenGov Voices: Transparency is not just television

Cross-posted from the Sunlight Foundation. In 2009, Larry Lessig published a headline-grabbing piecein the New Republic entitled “Against Transparency,” arguing that the “naked transparency movement” might inspire disgust in, rather than reform of, our political system. In their recent Brookings Institution paper, “Why Critics of Transparency Are Wrong,” Gary Bass, Danielle Brian and Norm Eisen […]

From Governing: Measuring the Impact of Public Innovation in the Wild

Reprinted from my monthly column in Governing: With complex, seemingly intractable problems such as inequality, climate change and affordable access to health care plaguing contemporary society, traditional institutions such as government agencies and nonprofit organizations often lack strategies for tackling them effectively and legitimately. For this reason, this year the MacArthur Foundation launched its Research Network […]

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Oxford Internet Institute “Internet and Society Awards”

More years ago than I care to recall, I studied at Christ Church College. At that point, I came to the University of Oxford to study allied cultural policy after World War II. I was interested in the ways that each of the different post-war powers used the media of their day, ranging from film […]

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An Independent Open Contracting Partnership is Launched

Each year, governments around the world spend over $9 trillion dollars of citizens’ money through public contracts. All too often, however, “little to no data is made available to the public about these contracts. If data is available, it is often supplied in ways which make analysis very challenging or downright impossible,” writes the Open […]

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Solving Public Problems With Technology

In early September we started teaching the semester-long course “Solving Public Problems with Technology.”  You can view the course syllabus here – and its curated readings and videos, including original materials created for the program by: Alph Bingham, Founder of Innocentive talking about how to frame a problem Giff Constable, CEO of NEO Software […]

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Technology’s Crucial Role in the Fight Against Hunger

Crowdsourcing, predictive analytics and other new tools could go far toward finding innovative solutions for America’s food insecurity. National Geographic recently sent three photographers to explore hunger in the United States. It was an effort to give a face to a very troubling statistic: Even today, one-sixth of Americans do not have enough food to eat. […]

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The Technology We Need to Protect Children

The federal Protect Our Kids Act of 2013 created a bipartisan commission with the goal of zeroing out fatalities from child abuse and neglect. No one from the technology community is on the commission, which convened for the first time last month. If we’ve learned anything from the launch of, it is that technology […]

Geeks Meet Wonks: Collective Intelligence 2014 Matchmaking Ignite Session

Collective Intelligence 2014 Are you trying to solve a public problem using crowdsourcing? Want to test whether your citizen engagement project had any impact? Need to know how to tap the wisdom of the crowd to improve people’s lives? On June 12th at MIT, come pitch your public interest project to the assembled group of researchers from a […]