Wiki Government

How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful

Beth S. Noveck,

Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful
 
 
Wiki Government shows how to bring innovation to government. In explaining how toenhance political institutions with the power of networks, it offers a fundamentalrethinking of democracy in the digital age. Collaborative democracy—government of the people, by the people, for the people—is an old dream. Today, Wiki Government shows how technology can make that dream a reality.In this thought-provoking book, Beth Simone Noveck illustrates how collaborativedemocracy strengthens public decisionmaking by connecting the power of the many to the work of the few. Equally important, she provides a step-by-step demonstration of how collaborative democracy can be designed, opening policymaking to greater participation.Wiki Government tells the story behind one of the most dramatic public sector innovations in recent years—inviting the public to participate in the patent examination process. Patent examiners usually work in secret, cut off from essential information and racing against the clock to master arcane technical claims. The Peer-to-Patent project radically transformed this process by allowing anyone with Internet access to collaboratewith the agency in reviewing patent applications.Wiki Government describes how a far-flung team of technologists, lawyers, and policymakers pried open a tradition-bound agency’s doors. Noveck explains how she brought both fiercely competitive companies and risk-averse bureaucrats on board. She discusses the design challenges the team faced in creating software to distill online collaboration into useful expertise, not just rants or raves. And she explains how law, policy, and technology can be revamped to help government work in more open and participatory ways in a wide range of policy arenas, including education and the environment.“Everyone seems to be talking about collective intelligence, but no one has developed that idea in the context of democracy and self-governance. No one, that is, until Beth Noveck. At once visionary and pragmatic, Wiki Government offers the first glimpse of how public officials might enlist the wisdom of crowds in order in order to improve government’s decisions—while promoting participation at the same time. A brilliant book and a truly extraordinary achievement.”—Cass R. Sunstein, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School“A sweeping visionary yet highly pragmatic book! Beth Noveck concretely shows how to leverage the participatory nature of web 2.0 technologies to build a new kind of participatory democracy and a smart, lean government. She speaks from experience. A must read not just for policy folks and the digerati but for any of us wanting to understand how to tap the collective and diverse wisdom of America to create a better, more connected style of democracy.”—John Seely Brown, former chief scientist, Xerox, and director of its Palo Alto Research Center


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