22 November 2018
7:00 pm
Tech&Society: “Collective Intelligence and Democracy”
Conference, Debate
Espacio Fundación Telefónica

Tech&Society: “Collective Intelligence and Democracy”


Aspen Institute España and Fundación Telefónica celebrated a new conference on November 22nd within the Tech & Society cicle about “Collective Intelligence and Democracy” with Beth Noveck, director at the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. Previously, she 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.

After her presentation, Rocío Martínez-Sampere, Aspen España Fellow and director of Felipe González Foundation, moderated the event.



With rates of trust in government at all-time low, the legitimacy and effectiveness of traditional political institutions are called into question and there is a great demand for re-imagining how we govern. Digital technology and new ways of working enabled by technology are beginning to change the way public institutions make decisions and solve problems. The better governments at every level are turning to new tools to harness and amplify the brainpower of their citizens. From courts to legislatures, around the world, many creative projects are underway to tap collective intelligence and public know how. Blockchain and artificial intelligence are further helping to scale and accelerate the application of collective intelligence to governing.

In this session we explored the latest wave of democratic experiments and what is being learned from them. How we can measure their impact on institutions and individuals? What do they portend — both the positive potential and the risks — for the future design of democracy?


Beth Noveck
Beth Simone Noveck directs the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. She is a Professor in Technology, Culture, and Society at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy appointed her as the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer in 2018. 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 entrepreneurs.” working with passionate individuals to take their public interest projects from idea to implementation.

A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, she is a member of the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress, the Center for Open Science, Open Contracting Partnership and the EPSRC Centre for the Mathematics of Precision Healthcare. Beth also serves on the International Advisory Board of the NHS Digital Academy and the Yankelovich Democracy Monitor as well as a member of the Inter-American Development Bank President’s Commission on Transparency and Corruption and the Global Future Council on Technology, Values and Policy for the World Economic Forum. She is a member of the Steering Committee for the Collective Intelligence Conferences and GIGAPP (Grupo de Investigación en Gobierno, Administracion y Politicas Publicas). She is co-editor of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Digital Government Research and Practice journal.

In 2018, Beth was awarded a Robert Schumann Fellowship at the European University Institute and a Richard von Weizsaecker Fellowship by the Robert Bosch Foundation. Beth was named one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government 2018” by Apolitical. Previously, she was selected as one of the “Foreign Policy 100″ by Foreign Policy as well as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company and “Top Women in Technology” by Huffington Post.

Beth is the author of Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing (Harvard Univ Press 2015) and Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful (Brookings 2009) and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (NYU Press, 2005). Her next book, Public Entrepreneurship: Training the Next Generation of Public Leader and Problem Solver, will appear with Yale Press.

Rocío Martínez-Sampere
Rocío Martínez-Sampere is Director of Felipe González Foundation. She holds a Degree in Economics from Pompeu Fabra University, and a Master Degree in Economy and a Master Degree in Governance and Public Politics from the London School of Economics. Previosly, she worked as analyst at City and at Fabian Society, a foundation related to the Labour party, where she get involved. After that, she joined Rafael Campalans Foundation, where she is now member of the Board of Trustees. She also has been Cabinet Chief for Narcís Serra and advisor for Pasqual Maragall in Cataluña. She is involved in the Socialists’ Party of Catalonia (PSC) since 2003. In 2006 she was elected congresswoman for Barcelona in the Parliament, speaker on Economy and budgets. She took a step forward in her career presenting her candidacy for Barcelona mayor. When she losted the primaries, she resigned a week after the municipal elections in 2015. Rocío is Aspen España Fellow since 2017.


Recommended articles:

– Noveck, Beth Simone, Five Hacks For Digital Democracy. Nature 544, 287-289, April 20, 2017.

– Adhikari, Narayan, Toward Open Governance. The Aspen Institute New Voices Fellowship (originally published in My República), July 31, 2018

– Tyson, Laura, Foroohar, Rana, Lund, Susan and Castro, Daniel , Why technology, not goods, is the driver of globalization. The Aspen Ideas Festival, 2018. (Soundcloud)

-White, Ben, Technology for an inclusion economy. The Aspen Institute, October 31, 2018.

– Bradley, Jennifer, The City Reinvented. Ideas, the magazine of The Aspen Institute, December 1, 2017.

– Doctoroff, Dan, The Ultimate Startup: A City. Interview at CityLab Detroit 2018 with Jennifer Bradley, Executive Director, Center for Urban Innovation, The Aspen Institute.

– Ibargüen, Alberto, Culture Shift: How Tech is Changing Citizenship. Interview at CityLab Detroit 2018 with Jennifer Bradley, Executive Director, Center for Urban Innovation, The Aspen Institute.

– Katz, Bruce, Speck, Jeff, Sadik-Khan, Janette, Reed, Kasim, Mathis, Sommer, Landrieu, Mitch, Imagining 2024: Urban America. The Aspen Ideas Festival 2014.

More information

  • Rocío Martínez-Sampere
Espacio Fundación Telefónica
  • Conference
  • Debate