Biography

Nick Sinai is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Nick was previously the inaugural recipient of the newly established Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellowship at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he focused on data as public infrastructure and the media, policy, and economic implications of providing greater public access to government data. 

Nick’s research, writing, and teaching at Harvard is focused on technology and innovation in government—including co-authoring a Harvard Business School case about the U.S. Digital Service. Nick is a faculty affiliate of the Shorenstein Center, and helped start Digital HKS, a school-wide effort to bring more technology, innovation, and design to Harvard Kennedy School. Nick is a faculty mentor to the Harvard Open Data Project, a group of over 40 Harvard College students showcasing uses of Harvard University data. Nick is also an advisor to Coding It Forward, a student-led nonprofit founded by Harvard students that runs the Civic Digital Fellowship, a new pipeline into public service for technology students.

Nick teaches Tech and Innovation in Government, DPI-663, a field course where students learn user-centered design, product management, and how to "hack the bureaucracy" with empathy.

Nick is also a Senior Advisor at Insight Venture Partners, a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth technology and software companies.

Nick joined Harvard in 2014 from the White House, where he was U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer. At the White House, Nick led President Obama’s Open Data Initiatives to liberate data to fuel innovation and economic growth, and led the Open Government Initiative to ensure the Federal Government is more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. 

At the White House, Nick helped start and grow the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which brings entrepreneurs, technologists, and other innovators into government, and teams them up with Federal employees to improve programs that serve more than 150 million Americans. In August 2015, President Obama signed an executive order that makes the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program a permanent part of the Federal government going forward.

Nick also played a key role in developing the Administration’s $4.5B grid modernization strategy to build a smarter and more secure electric grid, and helped develop the President’s ConnectED initiative to bring fast broadband and digital learning to 99% of students. Prior to the White House, Nick led a team at the Federal Communication Commission and played a key role in crafting the National Broadband Plan. 

While in government, Nick was named to the FedScoop 50, the Top 25 Most Influential People Under 40 in Gov and Tech, and the 25th edition of the Federal 100.

Prior to serving in government, Nick was in the venture capital industry at Lehman Brothers Venture Partners (now Tenaya Capital) and Polaris Partners. Nick co-established the new Boston office of Lehman Brothers Venture Partners, sourced investments, and served as a board representative and advisor to portfolio companies. Previously, at Polaris Partners since 2004, Nick helped invest in almost a dozen Internet, software, communications and clean technology companies, including an early stage investment in LogMeIn (NASDAQ: LOGM). Nick has also served in executive and advisory roles with two Boston area start-up technology companies, and as a senior advisor to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Nick started his career as a management consultant in telecom, Internet, and media. 

Nick earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University. Nick is a Berkeley, CA native, and the father of twin girls.

Last Updated: Jun 17, 2019, 4:38pm

Featured Research

Paper - digital HKS

Data, Not Documents: Modernizing the Regulatory State

    Author:
  • Alisha Ukani
| March 2019

This report starts with a brief primer about the federal regulatory process, including how regulatory agencies collect information from businesses and regulated parties. We then explore potential benefits of data collection modernization—including newer models of regulators harvesting openly published data—and highlight the importance of regulators working with regulated parties to design data collection processes that work for both government and the regulated party.

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