John Paul Farmer ’04BUS

John Paul Farmer ’04BUS

Director of Technology & Civic Innovation at Microsoft

John Paul Farmer is the Director of Technology & Civic Innovation at Microsoft, based in New York City. In this role, John is breaking new ground in the creative application of emerging technologies, through lean product prototyping and innovative public-private partnerships. John and his team work to connect promising technologies – from machine learning to blockchain to the Internet of Things – to society’s most pressing challenges.


Previously, John served as the Senior Advisor for Innovation at the White House under President Barack Obama, where he co-founded and led the Presidential Innovation Fellows program to attract top private sector technologists and entrepreneurs for focused tours of duty in government. During his time in Washington, John architected how a startup mentality can be brought to bear on government’s hardest problems, creating the blueprint for a digital services revolution in the public sector. Prior to the U.S. government, John envisioned and built new business units in the private sector. He has experience in the technology, finance and healthcare sectors, in particular.


After leaving the White House, John founded The Innovation Project, a non-profit organization that provides advice and best practices related to government innovation worldwide. He holds an A.B. with honors from Harvard University and an M.B.A. with honors from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.

Opening Keynotes

Auditorium, Lerner Hall

Cities are the hub of economic vitality, but they face trends that put their ability to survive in question. How do we recognize the trends in urbanization, and how do we prepare to make cities better not only for today, but for the future as well? A city’s ability to maintain essential functions is threatened […]