Wiki Government

Wiki Government

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by Beth Simone Noveck
     
 

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Collaborative democracy—government with the people—is a new vision of governance in the digital age. Wiki Government explains how to translate the vision into reality. Beth Simone Noveck draws on her experience in creating Peer-to-Patent, the federal government's first social networking initiative, to show how technology can connect the expertise

Overview

Collaborative democracy—government with the people—is a new vision of governance in the digital age. Wiki Government explains how to translate the vision into reality. Beth Simone Noveck draws on her experience in creating Peer-to-Patent, the federal government's first social networking initiative, to show how technology can connect the expertise of the many to the power of the few. In the process, she reveals what it takes to innovate in government.

Launched in 2007, Peer-to-Patent connects patent examiners to volunteer scientists and technologists via the web. These dedicated but overtaxed officials decide which of the million-plus patent applications currently in the pipeline to approve. Their decisions help determine which start-up pioneers a new industry and which disappears without a trace. Patent examiners have traditionally worked in secret, cut off from essential information and racing against the clock to rule on lengthy, technical claims. Peer-to-Patent broke this mold by creating online networks of self-selecting citizen experts and channeling their knowledge and enthusiasm into forms that patent examiners can easily use.

Peer-to-Patent shows how policymakers can improve decisionmaking by harnessing networks to public institutions. By encouraging, coordinating, and structuring citizen participation, technology can make government both more open and more effective at solving today's complex social and economic problems. Wiki Government describes how this model can be applied in a wide variety of settings and offers a fundamental rethinking of effective governance and democratic legitimacy for the twenty-first century.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Beth Noveck is one of the most innovative thinkers working today on how to reform government using digital technologies. Her theory of collaborative democracy is a genuine advance. Wiki Government offers indispensable advice for anyone who wants to learn how to foster democratic participation in digital environments."—Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment and director of the Information Society Project, Yale Law School

"A fascinating look at how government can be transformed for the needs and opportunities of the twenty-first century."—Don Tapscott, coauthor of Wikinomics and author of Grown Up Digital

"The Internet has taught us that good ideas come from everywhere. Wiki Government translates that lesson for policymakers. With a compelling blend of high theory and practical know-how, Beth Noveck explains how political institutions can directly engage the public to solve complex problems and create a better democracy."—Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO, Google Inc.

"After more than fifteen years of public service, I've seen firsthand the difference it makes when government focuses on meaningful, measurable outcomes. Wiki Government shows how citizens' voices and expertise can transform and help deliver effective, efficient government. This book is a must-read for policymakers committed to participatory democracy."—Timothy M. Kaine, governor of Virginia

" Wiki Government both instructs and motivates policymakers to use collaborative tools to strengthen government accountability and engage citizens directly in this critical endeavor. This book is not just for tech geeks and policy wonks but also for the millions of Americans who demonstrated in 2008 how eager they are to engage individually in government reform."—John Podesta, president and CEO, Center for American Progress, and former White House chief of staff

"At once visionary and pragmatic, Wiki Government offers the first glimpse of how public officials might enlist the wisdom of crowds 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

"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. 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 the American people to create a better, more connected style of democracy."—John Seely Brown, former chief scientist, Xerox Corp.

"Noveck's approach to e-governance is to study where citizen online collaboration can have an impact, and she shows that one can design for participatory democracy with compelling results."— Library Journal

"An inspiring and ambitious book, Noveck uses the United States Patent Trade Office (USPTO) "Peer-to-Patent" model which invites the public to participate in the patent examination process, as the central example of how ordinary people can participate within democracy in the digital age."— OhMyGov!

"Book of the week"—Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation

"Good reading."—Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland, Science

Library Journal

Noveck (director, Inst. for Information Law & Policy; New York Law Sch.) reports on the unexpected success of a pilot initiative to develop a type of Web 2.0 collaborative model for the patent review process, easing the monumental work of patent examiners with the peer-to-patent initiative. Noveck initially proposed this peer-to-patent initiative in a blog post and subsequently refined it into a platform for e-government with authentic citizen participation. Here she presents what she considers the best practices for online community experts contributing to the evaluation of patent claims, together with examples that show the importance of interfaces that foster group work. She also points to probable governmental applications, like substantive commenting on regulatory issues for the environment or education. VERDICT Noveck's approach to e-governance is to study where citizen online collaboration can have an impact, and she shows that one can design for participatory democracy with compelling results. Buyer beware if you are looking for a Wiki how to—this is not the essence of Noveck's book. Well reasoned but clearly for informed readers only.—Jim Hahn, Univ. of Illinois Lib., Urbana


—Jim Hahn

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815705109
Publisher:
Brookings Institution Press
Publication date:
10/19/2010
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"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 the America to create a better, more connected style of democracy." —John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp and Director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

Meet the Author

Beth Simone Noveck is professor of law and director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and a visiting professor at Stanford University. She advised the Obama-Biden campaign and transition project on innovation and government.

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