Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

From idea to implementation, GovLab programs develop skills to make communities better

March 3, 2015, 3 p.m., Posted by Beth Simone Noveck

The Gov Lab Experiment by Paloma Baytelman on Flickr.

Beth Noveck is founder and CEO of The Governance Lab at New York University, which Knight Foundation supports to promote civic engagement.

The Governance Lab Academy, a training program designed to promote civic engagement and innovation, is launching a series of coaching programs with the support of Knight Foundation.

The sessions are designed to help participants working in civic engagement and innovation develop effective projects from idea to implementation. They are geared to the teams and individuals inside and outside of government planning to undertake a new project or trying to figure out how to make an existing project even more effective and scalable. Special preference is being given to teams comprised of officials from U.S. cities or working on city-level problems and opportunities.

Project Interchange connects Miami’s entrepreneurs with Israel’s innovation and tech sector

March 3, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Brian Siegal

Azorim High-Tech park in Petah-Tikva, a "Silicon Wadi" suburb of Tel Aviv, by Gellerj. (CC via Wikimedia Commons)

Brian Siegal is the director of the Miami and Broward Regional Office for AJC  (American Jewish Committee). Knight Foundation supports Project Interchange, AJC’s Israel educational institute, by investing in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding opportunity.  

This is a remarkable time in the world of innovation, and it’s been gratifying to see the investments Knight Foundation has made in entrepreneurship in Miami. While fostering innovation in South Florida, those efforts have forged strong connections with the international community and benefited from the experiences of innovators around the world. Therefore, the idea of taking a delegation of influential Miami entrepreneurs and leaders in the tech startup community to Israel with Project Interchange was a natural. 

Balancing technology risks and benefits in elections

March 2, 2015, 10:01 p.m., Posted by Jeremy Epstein

Photo by Theresa Thompson on Flickr

Jeremy Epstein is a senior computer scientist with SRI International in Arlington, Va., where his research topics includes voting system security. Below he writes on this topic for Knight News Challenge: Elections, which asks the question, How might we better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections? Winners will share in more than $3 million. Apply at

Elections are one of the last institutions where computing and the Internet have not made significant inroads for most people. While we bank online, shop online, and even pay our taxes online, some aspects of voting are decidedly offline.

This isn’t an accident; the requirements for privacy and anonymity in elections are fundamentally different than for any other aspect of our lives. And the stakes – our democracy – are among the highest, with a centuries-long history of people interfering with elections proving that the motivation is present to interfere with fair elections. The odds of rapid detection of a successful attack on an election are slim; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other sources report that most attacks on corporations and government offices aren’t detected until months after they happen, even with the most sophisticated monitoring software and well-qualified staff. State and local elections offices have limited technology budgets, far smaller than banks and insurance companies that are regularly targeted by (and fall victim to) hackers and online thieves.