How New Jersey's Innovation Economy Impacts the State

As part of our “Future of Innovation” series, Steve Adubato talks with Beth Simone Noveck, Chief Innovation Officer State of New Jersey, about New Jersey's innovation economy, technology in government and cultivating innovation within higher education.

8/3/2019 #318






"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark. It is our honor and pleasure to introduce, for the first time on State of Affairs, Beth Simone Noveck. She's Chief Innovation Officer for the great state of New Jersey. Good to have you. Thank you. Glad to be here. Now is this...? By the way, we're doing a whole series on the future of innovation. Check out our website which will come up, you can see all the programs we're doing around innovation. There is a government post about innovation, a, and b, is it the first time ever? It's the first time ever for New Jersey and one of the first states ever to have a Chief Innovation Officer. So yes. Why have we waited this long to do this? Oh, well a lot of states, you know, haven't done this yet. Many people haven't done it. We've thought for a long time, I would say, at least a decade, about the importance of technology, and government making sure that we have computer systems that work, websites that work, that we have effective cybersecurity, and we do all of that in this state as well, but the idea of a different role, a role that really thinks about, how do we use technology, data, and innovation to achieve our core policies? Be that economic development, educational advancement improvement, better healthcare? I think there's an important role for technology and innovation and data to play in helping to advance our policy priorities as well. Now you have national, international experience as well. What always fascinates me... and I tried to study this and understand it from a basic public policy point of view, but when the website did not work in October of 2000 and...? [laughter] And I'll check the date. '10-'11. I thought to myself, "Wait a minute? There's a policy. But for the policy to work, the website had to work." Absolutely. It didn't work. There were a lot of snafus. And I thought, "What did...?" I often think about this. "What did people in government, around government, learn from that? And what does it have to do with the future of innovation and technology?" I think you're absolutely right, that the debacle, if we can call it that at the time, well, a terrible thing, was in fact a crisis that we've taken advantage of. How so? Well of course, we saw, at that point, that you can't think about technology as an afterthought. You can't wonder about, how do we write the legislation? And then only later, think about, how do we implement it in practice? You need to have the lawyers and the technologists..."