Helen Walters reports that Beth Noveck recently gave a TED talk regarding open-source government. Walters writes, “As the US’s first Deputy CTO, Beth Noveck founded the White House Open Government Initiative, which developed administration policy on transparency, participation and collaboration. She starts her talk by reminding us that in the old days, the White House was literally an open house. At the beginning of the 19th century, John Quincy Adams met a local dentist who happened in to shake his hand. Adams promptly dismissed the Secretary of State, with whom he was meeting, and asked the dentist to remove an aching tooth. ‘When I got to the White House in 2009, the White house was anything but open,’ she says. Bomb blast curtains covered the windows; they were running Windows 2000. Social media was verboten. Noveck’s mandate: to change this system.”

Walters continues, “But how could she get government employees to be more open? How to get people to comment on laws before they were enacted? There was no precedent, she says. There was no technical way to do this. Not only that, many people even told her the idea might be illegal. The system of government is out-of-date and inappropriate for our current world. ‘The smartest people always work for someone else,’ she says. ‘We know expertise and intelligence is widely distributed and not limited to our institutions.’ Yet for the most part, open is not a factor of our government institutions.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy TED