Thinking aloud

Which “govtech” do you mean?

This is riffing on a Twitter thread I started the other day, and echoes comments I made while appearing before the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into digital government. When talking to friends from across Europe, I keep hearing them use the word “govtech”. It’s bothering me because they don’t all mean the same thing, all the time. I think that’s a problem. Most people seem to be using “govtech” to refer to the...
Thinking aloud

Internet-era ways of working

An earlier draft of this list, stuck to the PD office door Our definition of digital says: “Applying the culture, processes, business models & technologies of the internet-era to respond to people’s raised expectations.” Once they’ve heard that, the next thing people always ask us is: “OK. But how? How do I make that happen in my organisation?” Good question. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the answer to that. Between us, we’ve collectively made a lot of mistakes...
Essays

Making government as a platform real

A couple of weeks after leaving the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) back in October 2015, I attended the Code for America summit in California. I gave a talk about some work I'd led during my final months in government, work that explored what it would be like to live in a truly digital nation, with new digital institutions. What follows is the gist of what I said that day. I've updated it for clarity, and added some links that I...
Thinking aloud

I should have renamed “assisted digital”

The current page about assisted digital on the Service Manual A few days ago I wrote a tweet that said: "Allowing the notion of - the phrase, even - ‘assisted digital’ to exist was my worst strategic errors." I followed it up a little later with this short thread, starting with: “My main problem with the phrase 'assisted digital' is that it failed to challenge the mindset of one-size-fits-all service design inside gov.” Quite a lot of people were sympathetic to...
Argentina

Why we’re so impressed by Argentina’s digital services team

In an office in Buenos Aires you can find one of the fastest growing, hardest working, and most ambitious government teams we have ever met. Set up in December 2015 as part of President Macri’s new Ministry of Modernisation, the 70-strong digital services team has done an enormous amount of work on several very important projects. They are led by Daniel Abadie, Under Secretary of Digital Government and former head of LABgcba in the City of Buenos Aires (which won...