How to take advantage of technology, data, and the collective wisdom in our communities to design powerful solutions to contemporary problems
“Bursting with sage, practical advice for public sector officials and civil society actors who want to engage citizens and give them more power.”—Glen Weyl and Henry Farrell, Boston Review
The challenges societies face today, from inequality to climate change to systemic racism, cannot be solved with yesterday’s toolkit. Solving Public Problems shows how readers can take advantage of digital technology, data, and the collective wisdom of our communities to design and deliver powerful solutions to contemporary problems.
Offering a radical rethinking of the role of the public servant and the skills of the public workforce, this book is about the vast gap between failing public institutions and the huge number of public entrepreneurs doing extraordinary things—and how to close that gap.
Drawing on lessons learned from decades of advising global leaders and from original interviews and surveys of thousands of public problem solvers, Beth Simone Noveck provides a practical guide for public servants, community leaders, students, and activists to become more effective, equitable, and inclusive leaders and repair our troubled, twenty-first-century world.
Beth Simone Noveck directs The Governance Lab (The GovLab) and its MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance. She is a professor of technology, culture, and society at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. @bethnoveck and http://solvingpublicproblems.org/.
“The book offers a wealth of information necessary to improve human-centered design in public policies.”—Ming Ivory, Science
"Noveck celebrates the potential of data and technology to solve problems by engaging citizens. This is her most comprehensive book yet, bursting with sage, practical advice for public sector officials and civil society actors who want to engage citizens and give them more power."—Glen Weyl and Henry Farrell, Boston Review
"This important book provides an engaging explanation of why and, above all, how both institutions and individuals can make the world a better place through greater use of data, robust collaboration, rapid evidence review, and rigorous experimentation."—New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
"Public problem solving melds traditional policy research and analysis with direct innovation and experimentation, often with a dose of technology thrown in. This book is sure to become the magnum opus in the field, written by one of its pioneers. Highly recommended!"—Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America
"In a world where a billion people are on the verge of extreme poverty and the adverse effect of climate change is disproportionately impacting the poorest countries, Solving Public Problems is a vital manual for showing all of us how to build forward better and accelerate the creation of innovative, sustainable, scalable solutions to our greatest challenges. A must read!"—Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP
“This book gives you hope by showing how governments can get things done fast, effectively, and with quality. Noveck shows how to break logjams and make progress against critically important problems. Amazing.”—Anita M. McGahan, University of Toronto
“Beth Noveck’s book is a universal reminder of the importance of investing in public sector capability and collective intelligence if we want to solve the most pressing issues our democracies face today.”—Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Take the free online course presented by The GovLab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.