Dr. Hollie Russon Gilman is a political scientist, lecturer, advisor and civic strategist on topics at the intersection of civic engagement, digital technology, and governance. She is particularly interested in re-vitalizing American democracy, local innovation, and the opportunities and challenges of digital technologies to enhance governance and public policy. She is a frequent writer, speaker, and contributor on these topics.
Hollie Russon Gilman holds a PhD and MA from Harvard's Department of Government as well as an A.B. from the University of Chicago with highest honors in political science. Her first book Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in the United States
was noted by Inc.com as a critical book deciding the future of our cities.
Dr. Gilman has served as a postdoctoral Fellow in Technology and Policy and Lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University where she teaches a course on Technology and the Future of Governance. At SIPA, she incubated a new initiative on Digital Technology, Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, engaging scholars, entrepreneurs, and leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, to advance the study of innovation, digital technology, and public policy.
She is currently a Fellow at New America's Political Reform Program where she leads the Participatory Democracy Project and conducts research on new models of organizing and governance innovation. She is a Columbia University World Projects Fellow where she is focused on addressing inequality, advancing cities, and supporting democracy. This is a new University initiative to leverage the Research capacity of the university with practice to enact thoughtful change.
She is an Affiliate Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation; where she is conducting research to inform city leaders on civic engagement; and at Georgetown's Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.
She previously served in the Obama Administration as the White House Open Government and Innovation Advisor. She has advised numerous companies, startups, and foundations including the Case Foundation, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Gates Foundation, Google, Open Society Foundation, the World Bank, and Harvard's Gettysburg Project on 21st Century Engagement. She is a member of the COVID Alliance's Advisory Board on Tech and Ethics.
She has published in numerous academic and popular audience publications including The International Studies Review; PS: Journal of Political Science and Politics, and the Journal of Public Deliberation. Her popular writings have appeared in several news outlets including Axios, The Boston Globe, Foreign Affairs, Slate, Stanford Social Innovation Review, TechCrunch, Vox, and The Washington Post. Updated writings, speaking engagements, and publications are available here. Please see below for a selection of works.
She is a recipient of numerous awards, including AAAS Big Data and Analytics Fellowship, Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellowship, Harvard's Ash Center Democracy Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship, Center for the American Presidency, and Congress Presidential Fellowship.
Originally from New York City, she has spent time organizing in rural New Hampshire, studying in Beijing, and loves exploring new parts of America and the globe.
My new book Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Democratic Crisis, with Sabeel Rahman, President of Demos, and published by Cambridge University Press, explores how can we empower traditionally marginalized communities and communities of color to have a greater voice and power in civic life and policy making. We examine new organizing models in grassroots communities as well as new governance innovations which leverage civic tech, human-centered design, and participatory governance innovation.
My first book, Democracy Reinvented is the first comprehensive academic treatment of participatory budgeting in the United States, situating it within a broader trend of civic technology and innovation. This global phenomenon, which has been called “revolutionary civics in action” by the New York Times, started in Brazil in 1989 but came to America only in 2009. Participatory budgeting empowers citizens to identify community needs, work with elected officials to craft budget proposals, and vote on how to spend public funds. It is part of Harvard's series of Innovative Governance in the 21st Century with Brookings Institution Press.
Areas of Focus & Selected Publications
Published in numerous academic and popular audience publications including The International Studies Review; PS: Journal of Political Science and Politics, and The Journal of Public Deliberation. Popular writings have appeared in several new outlets including The Boston Globe, Foreign Affairs, Slate, Stanford Social Innovation Review, TechCrunch, Vox, and The Washington Post. Updated writings, speaking engagements, and publications are available here.
Below are links to selected works covering my areas of focus including civic innovation,
digital technology, and governance in research, policy analysis, and speaking engagements.
Please contact me directly for opportunities to collaborate.
If you're interested in research, speaking, or advising please reach out.