2021 Solomon Lecture

The Office of the Information Commissioner is pleased to present Professor Beth Simone Noveck delivering the 2021 Solomon Lecture on ‘Solving Public Problems with Data’.

The Solomon Lecture is named in honour of Dr David Solomon AM, who chaired a review of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 which was repealed and replaced by the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) and the Information Privacy Act 2009.

Professor Noveck’s lecture will explore how traditionally, the right to know is rooted in the belief that members of the public should know what their government does in order to hold the government to account, lessen the risk of corruption and shine a light on wasteful and inefficient operations. She considers how in recent years, the value of information disclosure goes far beyond government accountability or even government performance, especially during COVID when we all came to appreciate the value of data and information for helping each of us to make better decisions about our health and wellbeing.

In this talk, Beth Simone Noveck will discuss how a focus on public problem solving and improving people’s lives changes how we think about data. She will discuss specific policy prescriptions for creating a right to know that fosters better government, stronger citizenship and more agile solutions to contemporary challenges.

About Professor Beth Simone Noveck

Beth Simone Noveck is a professor at Northeastern University, where she directs the Burnes Center for Social Change and its partner project,  The Governance Lab (The GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. The author of Solving Public Problems: How to Fix Our Government and Change Our World (Yale Press 2021), she is also Core Faculty at its Institute for Experiential AI (IEAI) at Northeastern. She is on leave from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering (2021). New Jersey governor Phil Murphy appointed her as the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer and Chancellor Angela Merkel named her to her Digital Council in 2018. She is also Visiting Senior Faculty Fellow at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge.

Previously, Beth served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative under President Obama. UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government.

At the GovLab, she directs better governance programs, including work with public institutions on public engagement in lawmaking (CrowdLaw), expert-sourcing innovative solutions to hard problems (Smarter Crowdsourcing), co-creation between cities and citizens (City Challenges). She also coaches public problem solvers, working with passionate individuals to take their public interest projects from idea to implementation.