Tech Tonics: John Wilbanks, Participant-Centric Innovation

September 15th, 2015 |
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When John Wilbanks graduated from Tulane with a major in philosophy and almost a minor in French, he had little idea that he would become one of the world’s most important forces for good in the areas of citizen science, data sharing, and participant empowerment.

John’s fascinating journey and eclectic career started after college, when he did a stint in the D.C. office of legendary California congressman Pete Stark, and learned about the excitement and challenges of emerging technologies like the interwebs.

He then talked his way from a Craig’s List posting into a job working for Larry Lessig at Harvard Law School, where he began to dig deeply into meaty topics like cyberspace law and internet governance. While in Boston, John also discovered bioinformatics, and soon founded and ran an early company in this space.

After selling his company, John returned to technology governance, spending the next seven years at Creative Commons, before meeting Dr. Stephen Friend and joining the non-profit open science organization Sage Bionetworks, which has introduced novel approaches to data sharing, collaboration, and consent, and has attracted the interest of collaborators ranging from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center to Apple Computer.

We’re delighted to have this true champion of participant-driven science on our show today.


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