Beth Noveck: Demand a More Open-Source Government

Beth Noveck founded the White House Open Government Initiative when she was acting as the first Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States. Her training as a lawyer, coupled with her appreciation for and understanding of technology, enables her to visualize the potential of Wiki Government. Noveck’s February 2012 TED talk entitled "Demand a More Open-Source Government" addresses the importance of open government and the role technology plays in ensuring that government that works with the people.

Historically, the White House was used as a kind of open house, and everyday citizens could stop by and speak with lawmakers. Today, no one sees the president while touring the White House, and there are bomb blast curtains in the windows. Citizens are only able to express their values during elections.

Noveck addresses this problem with a two-phased system designed to re-open government. The first phase involves getting better information to the government through feedback on policies from citizens before they become laws, rather than after the fact. The second phase of open government includes distributing decision-making power out to constituents. Noveck says, “The next great superpower is going to be the one who can successfully combine the hierarchy of institution … with the diversity and the pulsating life and the chaos and the excitement of networks.”