Beth Noveck re: PeerToPatent and WikiGovernment on 'On the Media'

Beth's the U.S. deputy CTO on Open Government, charged in large part with enabling the reinvention of the U.S. government. That's the Gov2.0 / eGovernment stuff.

She just spoke on "On the Media," which is a really good podcast from WNYC, of how well the media performs.

Specifically, she talked about a successful government application, PeerToPatent, which uses crowdsourcing to get lots of help for patent review.

She also discussed Open Government and her book, Wiki Government, which I've read and highly recommend.

This really is a big deal, under the radar for the most part.

Shared Challenges to Transformational Gov't

In the U.K., I had the opportunity to speak with a few people involved in the transformation of U.K. government. They included members of the Labour Party and Tories, elected officials and civil servants.

Much of the leadership and much of the civil service is committed to new forms of digital engagement and public service. If someone needed convincing, the events of Nov. 4 in the U.S. were compelling regarding the role of the Internet and social media.

The challenges all involve translation of that commitment to large-scale action with real results.

Is All Quiet on the Cyber Front?

As President Obama’s signature sealed an agreement last week in Russia to reduce the yields of a seemingly forgotten nuclear arms race, a major attack was launched on a new battlefront — cyberspace.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, 35 government and commercial websites came to a sudden halt as thousands of bits of information were flung towards targeted U.S. and South Korean servers in an attack so sophisticated experts believe it could have only derived from an organized, potentially government-sponsored group. And while these attacks reportedly had little effect on day-to-day operations, they could stand as the beginning of a new and far more pervasive arms race.

The Acceptance of Failure as a Spur to Innovation

Recently, I was part of the Traveling Geeks tour of U.K. tech, including the Reboot Britain conference. (The Geeks are a collection of talented journalists, and myself.)

I was struck by the repeated comment that failure is stigmatized in U.K. business culture. In Silicon Valley, failure is just a normal phase of one's career. You might succeed in your first endeavor, probably not, so you're ready to persist in subsequent efforts.

The Secret Apple

Two questions arise concerning the Apple company’s policy of secrecy: its reported obsession with secrecy about company work; and its silence about the health and temporary disappearance of Steve Jobs, its chief executive.

On company policy, one can respect its strict and disciplined policy of secrecy, its adamant corporate culture of confidentiality concerning its business affairs. All companies understandably protect the sources of their commerce, especially in the high-stakes, competitive information-services sector. So if Apple punishes careless insiders, screens its premises, acts like the Kremlin, critics have no legitimate complaint, and employees can leave if they find the atmosphere punitive or uncongenial.