The Governance Lab (The GovLab) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is an action-research center created to improve people’s lives by changing the way we govern. The GovLab focuses on combining advances in technology and science with efforts to increase the availability and use of data and to leverage the expertise and know-how of people to solve public problems. In so doing, The GovLab conducts new research, leads large-scale projects, and develops innovative methodologies and other knowledge products to help strengthen the ability of people and institutions, (including but not limited to governments), to work together in ways that are more open, collaborative, effective, legitimate and data-driven.
As examples, The GovLab helps legislators and policymakers take advantage of public engagement at every stage of the lawmaking process through its CrowdLaw initiative. The GovLab has also pioneered a Civic Challenges methodology, which helps governments and communities co-create solutions to critical challenges by combining rigorous problem definition, open innovation competitions, and coaching. Empowering practitioners in government and elsewhere, The GovLab leverages its research to create Public Entrepreneurship Training to help public entrepreneurs advance their own innovative projects from idea to implementation. Additionally, The GovLab has developed Smarter CrowdSourcing, an agile problem-solving method that combines rigorous problem definition with crowdsourcing to attract diverse and implementable ideas from global experts.
The GovLab is also exploring whether and how to leverage open data in developing economies, and as a new asset for development through its Open Data in Developing Economies project, and via the related Periodic Table of Open Data Elements resource it created to help public officials and others identify enabling conditions and disabling factors that often determine the impact of open data initiatives. The GovLab’s leading-edge data initiatives also extend to harnessing intelligence gathered from corporate data for public good. In collaboration with UNICEF and other partners, the GovLab is developing a resource and methodology for establishing Data Collaboratives to leverage data held by private actors. The GovLab also leads a data initiative known as Blockchange to examine whether and how blockchain technologies can be used for social change with the first phase of the project testing the hypothesis that applying blockchain attributes to identity management can support the creation of a trusted digital ID.
As these initiatives progress, The GovLab continues to conduct new research, create new scholarship, and develop new tools and resources to help transform governance.