Beth Simone Noveck Talks with TechRepublic about Her New Book Smart Citizens, Smarter State

The GovLab’s director Beth Simone Noveck recently discussed her new book Smart Citizens, Smarter State and what government can learn from the tech industry with TechRepublic. The conversation touched on the rollout of the U.S. Open Government Initiative, the societal impacts of greater access to data, and the potential for collaboration and targeting opportunities for participation to help solve public problems.

Noveck on what government can learn from the tech industry:

“Intelligence capital exists in our communities, and we have to have more targeted, reliable ways of getting at that expertise. We can put a challenge on Challenge.gov about reducing the word gap, but it doesn’t mean that the people most likely able to solve that problem are even going to know about the challenge. So, the question is, how do you alert people about opportunities to participate?

What government needs to learn from the tech sector is the way in which technology is helping pinpoint different types of audiences. The private sector is really good at what they call audience segmentation, using data-rich tools to determine which customer is likely to buy your tube of toothpaste at what time of day. It’s also been the private sector that can pinpoint which employees are responsible to hire by using online tools that help me know what a person’s skills are so I can make a better hiring decision.

We need to match people to opportunities so they can participate. The same technologies that we use to match people for dating, we can use to match people to opportunities to do good in the world and engage with others. The answer lies in the tools, in how we market opportunities to participate in order to match people to opportunities to participate in ways that speak to their abilities.”

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