Expert Labs

Crowdsourcing to inform public policy


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US United States

In development

About the project Edit

Expert Labs' is a non-profit technology incubator intended to aid government access expertise from interested members of the public. Part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, it was formed in November 2009, following discussions with the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. Expert Labs is a project that crowdsources expertise from the tech entrepreneur community to answer the questions of policy makers. It is a nonpartisan, independent platform that enables federal agencies (and eventually others) to pose questions and get answers from social networks of credentialed experts and the public. Expert Labs will be launched in spring 2010 and funded by a $500,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

The government is already using technology to talk to citizens but Expert Labs will help make technology that helps government listen to them. Expert Labs will borrow developers from the hallways of Google in Silicon Valley or start-ups like Foursquare and Kickstarter in New York to build government applications and social media tools in exchange for grants—and the chance to connect with some of the most powerful people in the country.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Expert Labs will therefore serve as a government 2.0 switchboard—connecting the policy makers with technology innovators and experts to reinvent the way government works. Other good-for-government coding programs, like Code for America or N.Y.C.’s Big Apps competition, have similar models. But Expert Labs is the first neutral ground for private developers to connect with their government at a massive scale.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The project aims to improve the policy-making process by engaging experts and technologists. Anil Dash, the lab director, hopes to «make our government better, make our society better, advance scientific research and make people feel more connected to those social institutions that serve them.”

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

If the Expert Labs project proves to be successful there could be great potential for other countries’ government to tap into the expertise of their fellow citizens.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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