At this year’s CityLab 2016 event, hosted by The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Network Chair Beth Simone Noveck discussed a joint effort to fight Zika through smarter crowdsourcing techniques with Argentina’s Undersecretary for Modernization Rudi Borrmann. CityLab brought together “more than 500 global city leaders—40 mayors, plus urban theorists, city planners, scholars, architects, and entrepreneurs—for a series of conversations about the challenges and ideas that are shaping the world’s cities and metro areas.”
Noveck announced the Smarter Crowdsourcing effort in a post on the GovLab blog in August:
“This four-month initiative will target and mobilize global expertise to help governments in Latin America prepare for and respond to mosquito borne viruses and to generate innovative and implementable solutions to the challenge posed by major infectious disease outbreaks in the region, in particular those transmitted by mosquitoes. Instead of a handful of people meeting once at great expense in a conference room, we will use the Internet to make it easy for people to lend their time and know-how and deliberate with one another to identify, design and iterate upon implementable ideas that governments can use.” At CityLab, Borrmann and Noveck discussed the myriad lessons learned and challenges related to government getting smart quickly in the face of an evolving crisis – from the challenge of triaging the “firehose” of information flowing into government to the benefits of breaking down barriers between departments and ministries within government, as well as barriers between government and outside, international experts.