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About Us

Our mission is to improve the lives of New Jerseyans by solving public problems differently.

The New Jersey State Office of Innovation was created by Governor Phil Murphy in 2018 with the appointment of Dr. Beth Simone Noveck as the State’s first-ever Chief Innovation Officer.

Founded with the mandate to improve the lives of New Jerseyans by designing and deploying more effective and efficient government services, the Office of Innovation works in partnership with the Governor’s Office and State agencies to create innovative policies and technologies that address complex public problems by working alongside New Jerseyans. We apply data science and public engagement to understand problems, and use modern digital technologies combined with strategic policies to develop solutions that improve services for the public, while also reducing costs for the State and taxpayers.

Our team is made up of dedicated and energetic individuals with experience in government, business, civic tech, policy, and engagement. We are passionate about transforming the way government operates, and we support State agencies in innovating and improving the lives of all New Jerseyans. We partner with teams throughout the state to design and deploy world-class, innovative, and inclusive policies and services that solve pressing public interest challenges.

Principles We Innovate By

  • Innovate with, rather than for, New Jerseyans - using participatory and data-driven methods to improve people’s lives
  • Define concrete and specific problems that matter to real people
  • Design and release solutions iteratively to allow us to measure results, learn fast, and deliver impact as soon as possible
  • Collaborate with public, private and nonprofit sectors to enhance our impact
  • Build with diverse New Jerseyans, putting them at the center of our work
  • Solve problems using a multidisciplinary approach by providing strong domain expertise, breaking down silos, and forming partnerships - across teams, departments, agencies, levels of government, and nongovernmental partners
  • Deliver accessible solutions and policies that meet the needs of real people and organizations
  • Succeed in a highly ambiguous environment with little definition or structure

How We Work + What We Do

The Office of Innovation works collaboratively with government, academic, non-profit, and private sector institutions to drive innovation in the Garden State and improve the design and delivery of policies and services to the state’s residents, businesses, and institutions.

See Our Work

Our Team

  • Dr. Beth Simone Noveck

    Chief Innovation Officer

    Beth Simone Noveck serves as the State of New Jersey’s first Chief Innovation Officer - a position she was appointed to by Governor Philip D. Murphy in August 2018. In this capacity, Dr. Noveck, a native of New Jersey, focuses on enhancing innovation in government and in the Garden State’s economy. Using better data, more collective intelligence and agile technology, her team leads projects, designs policies, and advises agencies on innovative strategies to improve the lives of New Jerseyans. Dr. Noveck serves as the Chair of the Governor’s Future of Work Task Force and sits on the Governor’s Jobs and Economic Opportunity Council.

  • Anne LoVerso

    Anne LoVerso serves New Jerseyans as a software engineer, engaging in technical development and building modern digital solutions. Using her expertise in agile development, she works to make government services more accessible, data-driven, and people-focused. Her current work with the Office of Innovation focuses on improving the experience of starting, operating, and growing a business in the state through the Office’s Business First Stop initiative.

  • Crystal Peñalosa

    Crystal Peñalosa (she/they) is an artist, civic technologist, and interdisciplinary designer. Within the Office of Innovation, Crystal serves as the digital product lead for the Data for the American Dream initiative, leading the project’s human centered design, research, and product management in collaboration with New Jersey Department of Labor.

  • Dave Cole

    Dave Cole is a software engineer and operations leader with experience in both the public and private sectors. Dave is currently focused on helping New Jersey businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic through work with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and other departments and agencies.

  • Edward Paulino

    Edward Paulino conducts policy analysis and drives engagement initiatives at the Office of Innovation. In his work, he fosters collaboration between government, external stakeholders, and New Jerseyans to inform policies by leveraging new and innovative ways for the public to contribute meaningfully to the policymaking process.

  • E.J. Kalafarski

    E.J. Kalafarski is a technology strategist with the Office of Innovation, where he manages the Business First Stop initiative, leveraging human-centered design and agile, data-driven practices to make it easier and faster to do business in the State of New Jersey through better digital services. He focuses on building organizations and products that run intuitively and iterate fast.

  • Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe

    Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe serves in a product and project management capacity at the Office of Innovation. In this role, she leads end-to-end product and project management activities to enable the creation of modern technologies and services that improve the lives of New Jerseyans. She works closely with partners and key stakeholders, throughout the state, in order to enable long-term success.

  • Eugene K. Chow

    Eugene K. Chow is an experienced speechwriter, journalist, and communications strategist, with more than a decade of public and private sector experience. With the Office of Innovation, he supports key public communication initiatives, such as the COVID-19 Information Hub, through content development and strategic messaging.

  • Fred DeJohn

    Fred DeJohn is an attorney with extensive experience in finance, budget, and human resources in both government and higher education. He serves as the Office of Innovation’s chief financial officer - in this capacity, Fred oversees the Office’s financial operations, manages relationships with foundation and institutional funders, and advises the Chief Innovation Officer on organizational governance and human resource matters.

  • Giuseppe Morgana

    Giuseppe Morgana is the digital director at the Office of Innovation, where he is leading the creation of the Innovation Lab. The team leverages modern technology, human-centered design, and agile, data-driven practices to deliver better services to the people of the state. He is passionate about finding opportunities to partner with leaders across the private and public sector to leverage technology and drive positive impact.

  • Graham Simpson

    Graham Simpson works on policy and engagement work at the Office of Innovation. In that role, he supports and manages public policy initiatives, leads the Office’s programs on public entrepreneurship and innovation skills training, and produces policy research. Graham is passionate about evidence-informed policy and helping policy professionals use and apply data.

  • Jessica Lax

    Jessica Lax plays a leading role in the Office of Innovation’s efforts to improve the experience of starting, operating, and growing a business in the Garden State. She is a civic sector strategist that leverages human-centered design and interdisciplinary collaboration to create more just and impactful organizations, programs and policies.

  • Joe DeLaTorre

    Joe DeLaTorre supports technology and policy implementation on an array of initiatives for the Office of Innovation. He leverages human-centered design skills to develop and implement UX/UI and content changes on Business.NJ.gov, and investigates the use of new technologies and innovations to improve the experience of starting, operating, and growing a business in the Garden State. Joe also conducts policy research and formulates policy recommendations related to workforce development and the future of work.

  • Kai D. Feder

    Kai D. Feder serves as the chief of staff at the Office of Innovation, where he oversees the office’s day-to-day operations and advises the Chief Innovation Officer on strategic direction, leads projects and policy initiatives, and manages intergovernmental and external affairs. His career in government and public policy has spanned numerous issue areas, ranging from economic development and technology, to transportation and infrastructure, and has included positions in both the public and private sectors.

  • Katherine Austin-Evelyn

    Katherine Austin-Evelyn is a research fellow with the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University, and conducts best practices research and analysis with the Office of Innovation. She documents the work of the Office of Innovation to disseminate key learnings about digital services teams, facilitate collaborative learning, and scale successful approaches.

  • Mike Flowers

    Mike Flowers supports the Office of Innovation’s efforts to leverage data intelligence and infrastructure to “de-silo” government operations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has worked across State government partners to stand up technology and logistics capacity for contact tracing, exposure notification and vaccine distribution, and on small business recovery and regulatory innovation.

  • Ross Dakin

    Ross Dakin is a technologist whose background spans Silicon Valley startups, corporate enterprise, federal/state/local government, national non-profits, and academia. Ross currently supports the Office of Innovation in technical and strategic capacities, focusing on alleviating unemployment and facilitating small business growth. Ross was formerly an information security strategist at Bank of America and advised the Microsoft Cities team on how to best utilize the company’s resources for public good in New York City.

  • Virginia Folgado Marco

    Virginia Folgado Marco is an Eagleton Science and Politics Fellow with the Office of Innovation. She is a biomedical scientist with a broader background in health care and education. In her role at the Office of Innovation, Virginia is evaluating the State of New Jersey’s COVID-19 contact tracing program, with a focus on identifying areas of improvement to ensure the State has the best tools available to reduce the spread of the virus.

  • Xavier Hughes

    Xavier Hughes specializes in large scale innovation, smart cities, big data, product development, conceptual design, and service innovation and automation. Within the Office of Innovation, Xavier provides project management support for the New Jersey Data for the American Dream (NJD4AD) initiative – an interactive, mobile-responsive website offering data-driven advice for job seekers and employers about training opportunities and outcomes.

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