Luke Peterson was the founding director of the Office of New Urban Mechanics - Utah (ONUM). Along with its sister offices embedded within the mayoral offices of Boston and Philadelphia, ONUM developed cutting-edge solutions to “wicked” problems facing partner cities. As part of this work, Luke developed the Policy Hacking Lab that assists understaffed local and state policymakers in developing data-driven policy. He has also worked extensively with local government, startup, and nonprofit executives on market research and strategy as tools of social innovation. Luke is now the executive director of The Policy Lab, which develops knowledge and solutions around innovation policy, intellectual property issues, tourism, policy advocacy, and Smart Cities technology.
Luke escaped generational poverty to become the first college graduate in his family. He then completed graduate studies in public policy at Harvard University where he received the prestigious Presidential Fellowship. Luke worked with actor Richard Dreyfuss to advance civic education, studied social capital with Robert Putnam, assisted in renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, served as a local film commissioner, worked in economic development and public administration in five U.S. states, and has trained over 1,400 nonprofit and local government executives.