Name: Beth Simone Noveck
Short biography: Beth Simone Noveck was born in 1971 and later attended (and graduated from) Harvard and Yale Law School. From 2009-2011, Noveck was President Obama’s chief technology officer for open government and led the Open Government Initiative (www.whitehouse.gov/open), the goal of which was to create a more transparent government and a government more connected with the technological world.1, 2 (Hate to have to say it, but it doesn’t seem to have worked all that well. Such is the speed of politics, I suppose.) Noveck is also the author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful, a book that aims to show how technology can help create a more collaborative government.
What they do: Currently, Noveck is on leave from her position as Professor of Law at the New York Law School, where she is also a director of the Democracy Design Workshop (DDW). The DDW “Do Tank” aims to “strengthen the ability of groups to solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves by designing software and legal code to promote collaboration.”3
While on leave, she’s “visiting” at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the MIT Media Lab; she also consults on open government with the United Kingdom.
Why they matter: In addition to being a vocal and proactive proponent of a more open government and the technology that can create such a thing, Noveck is the creator of Peer To Patent, a joint program of the New York Law School and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. (3) Peer To Patent is the first initiative of its kind and opens the patent process to the U.S. public. “This pilot project connects an open network for community input to the legal decision-making process. The community supplies information and research based on its expertise. The patent examiner makes the final determination on the basis of legal standards. This process combines the democracy of open participation with the legitimacy and effectiveness of administrative decision making.” (Find out more on the program, and check out some of the crazy patents people file, at www.peertopatent.org. Do note: For a program created by a woman highly involved in the technology world, their website is kind of awful.) The program’s success has led to the creation of a similar initiative in the United Kingdom.4
Her other achievements include being named:
- One of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company magazine;
- One of the Top 25 Game Changers in 2010 by Politico.com; and
- One of the Top Women in Technology by Huffington Post.5
How they got where they are: Noveck practiced telecommunications and Internet law in New York before becoming a professor and her position with the U.S. government. She received a Ph. D. at the University of Innsbruck in 1994, during which she attended Nanyang Technical University Centre on Asia Pacific Technology Law and Policy (CAPTEL) in Singapore on a Fulbright grant.6 Noveck has obviously long been interested in how technology and government can be mutually beneficial.
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6