The Inter-American Development Bank and The GovLab launch Smarter Crowdsourcing in the age of coronavirus

The Smarter Crowdsourcing initiative brings together a network of public leaders and global experts to address the challenges of managing a pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean.

person in quarantined hospital bed

BROOKLYN, New York, Weekday, July 7, 2020 – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) together with The Governance Lab (The GovLab) at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, today launched “Smarter Crowdsourcing in the Age of Coronavirus.” This rapid policy advising initiative convenes public leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean with global experts in public health, technology, data, and innovation for a series of six online sessions to source concrete and specific ways to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the region.

Global and complex public health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic threaten population well-being, risk disruption to global and regional trade and economic stability, and cause widespread uncertainty and concern. Policymakers require urgent guidance on how to respond.

Beginning on July 8, each online dialogue will be attended by a curated group of experts from across disciplines and geographic locations. Smarter Crowdsourcing is a five-step method that involves identification of partners, definition of problems to be solved, curation and crowdsourcing of global experts, online advising sessions, and a briefing to provide leaders with implementation plans for the most promising ideas.

“Our method aims to break down the traditional barriers that sometimes prevent experts from sharing their knowledge with governments. We see two benefits with this process, the first being that governments benefit from external expertise, and, second, citizens from around the world see direct ways to apply their experience and expertise to make tangible impacts ” said Victoria Alsina, industry assistant professor and academic director in NYU Tandon’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP); associated faculty at Department of Technology, Culture and Society, and Senior Fellow at The GovLab.

This six-month initiative will target and mobilize global expertise to help governments in Latin America and the Caribbean respond to the challenges coronavirus and its aftermath pose, but, at the same time, highlight the opportunities to generate innovative and implementable recommendations.

All materials are shared freely and openly online at for the benefit of public actors everywhere.

“New evidence on SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19 is being generated at an incredibly rapid speed. Keeping up with this pace when it comes to translating this evidence into actionable measures to support the response to the pandemic is overwhelming,” said Ferdinando Regalia, Social Protection and Health Division Chief at the IDB. “This initiative aims to make this task less daunting, by facilitating the mapping of current global approaches and collective learning on the concrete aspects of responding to this complex event, curating and adapting this learning to the Latin America and Caribbean context and making it available to policymakers in a very agile way.”

“This project leverages technology and networking to bring experts from across the world into a single space where they can harness their combined knowledge to tackle real and pressing problems,” added Beth Simone Noveck, director of The GovLab, faculty member of CUSP, and professor in NYU Tandon’s Department of Technology, Culture and Society.

To join the experts working on these solutions, apply at

For more information, contact Diana Pinto ( or Victoria Alsina (


About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country’s foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit


About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.


About The Governance Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering

The Governance Lab's mission is to improve people's lives by changing the way we govern. Our goal at The GovLab is to strengthen the ability of institutions — including but not limited to governments — and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively, and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems. We believe that increased availability and use of data, new ways to leverage the capacity, intelligence, and expertise of people in the problem-solving process, combined with new advances in technology and science, can transform governance. We approach each challenge and opportunity in an interdisciplinary, collaborative way, irrespective of the problem, sector, geography, and level of government. For more information, visit