In mid-2013, The GovLab was invited to advise New York University on how to use cutting-edge Information & Communication Technology tools and an open innovation process for collaborative decision-making. Called the Open Peer Engagement Network (Open NYU), the goal of the project has been to develop techniques and platforms for NYU to tap into the knowledge and talents that exist within its diverse community of students, faculty, staff, researchers, alumni and administrative leadership.
The GovLab is designing and operationalizing an expert network tool at NYU where data science expertise can be found and made manifest by internal users as well as external decision-makers like policymakers in the White House, Congress, and other public institutions. The goal is to overcome the practical problem that there is currently no way for policymakers to find specialized outside expertise quickly. In developing a working prototype, we are testing the hypothesis that when people are matched to the right opportunity to answer compelling questions on the basis of their skills, they are more likely to use their skills to solve public policy dilemmas.