What can governments learn from the open-data revolution? In this stirring talk, Beth Noveck, the former deputy CTO at the White House, shares a vision of practical openness — connecting bureaucracies to citizens, sharing data, creating a truly participatory democracy. Imagine the “writable society” …

Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can — and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments — and their neighbors.

Why doesn’t the government just get out of the way and let the private sector — the “real revolutionaries” — innovate? It’s rhetoric you hear everywhere, and Mariana Mazzucato wants to dispel it. In an energetic talk, she shows how the state — which many see as a slow, hunkering behemoth — is really one of our most exciting risk-takers and market-shapers.

The open-source world has learned to deal with a flood of new, oftentimes divergent, ideas using hosting services like GitHub — so why can’t governments? In this rousing talk Clay Shirky shows how democracies can take a lesson from the Internet, to be not just transparent but also to draw on the knowledge of all their citizens.

The leader of Britain’s Conservative Party says we’re entering a new era — where governments themselves have less power (and less money) and people empowered by technology have more. Tapping into new ideas on behavioral economics, he explores how these trends could be turned into smarter policy.

In his TED Talk, Dave Meslin wondered: What would happen if Nike advertised sneakers in the same way local governments announced important information — with long, bland, black-and-white newspaper ads filled with jargon?

David Bismark demos a new system for voting that contains a simple, verifiable way to prevent fraud and miscounting — while keeping each person’s vote secret.

Politicians are strange creatures, says politician Omar Ahmad. And the best way to engage them on your pet issue is a monthly handwritten letter. Ahmad shows why old-fashioned correspondence is more effective than email, phone or even writing a check — and shares the four simple steps to writing a letter that works.