This year’s Summit is organized into three tracks: Digital Delivery, Civic Innovation and, Government Operations. These breakout sessions will include visions of a radically improved future for services at all levels of government, but with the insight and practical experience that make these visions different from yet another policy paper.
No sign ups are required for breakouts, but they are offered on a first come, first served basis and sometimes rooms do fill up!
Quick and Easy User Engagement
As researchers working with government, we know that getting feedback from even a small amount of users reveals important opportunities for service improvement. In this session, Code for America researchers will share their favorite methods for conducting lightweight research with users of various government services. We’ll discuss how to define your research question, identify the users of your product or service, and choose the right research method for learning. We’ll give you tips to expand your comfort level and improve user-facing experiences. This session is for government staff and managers looking to identify quick improvements, engage clients, and gather valuable feedback.
Taking the Next Step with Confidence
Decision-making in teams can be challenging. Trade-offs and uncertainties abound, whether you have minimal information or what feels like too much. How do you make decisions that your team can buy in to and align with? How can you feel confident that your decision will maximize value in the areas you really care about? In this session, we’ll take a look at how we make decisions on the product teams at Code for America and then work through interactive exercises. Whether you're a primary decision maker or a contributor on a collaborative team, you'll come away with tools and frameworks for moving your projects forward.
Cracking the Toughest Digital Form Design Problems
In the civic tech world we are constantly designing digital forms, and we do this well with simple, reusable patterns that allow us to build form experiences in just a few hours. Despite this, there are some form scenarios that are challenging to design for. How can users easily enter five consecutive years of their travel history—without gaps and overlaps? How should we capture occupational history, while being sensitive to periods of un- or under-employment? How can we be sensitive to users who need to document the death of their child? We’ve come across these scenarios and more designing federal forms for immigrants via U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and for veterans via the Department of Veterans Affairs. This workshop will introduce these and other complex scenarios, and then break participants into groups to work together to design solutions to some tough form design problems.
Designing Secure Digital Services
In a place far from home, how do immigrants find information about and understand how to navigate a complex government process? And how might we design content and services to ensure their data is secure? This presentation provides an overview of how to approach service and content design in the public sector in order to protect the privacy of vulnerable users and ensure data security across several channels: mail, email, phone, fax, and in-person. When it comes to determining policies for how the collected data is governed, there is often also a discrepancy between an ideal policy given security concerns and a policy an office can realistically comply with given current technical limitations. In this presentation, we’ll share how our team conducted human-centered design research with asylum seekers, how those insights illuminated areas of improvement for content and service design, and how we redesigned content and services while balancing needs for ease of use and data security.
A Service Blueprint for Successful User-Centered Digital Delivery
Service blueprinting is a powerful tool for user-centered digital delivery. It is a living artifact that describes how a service is provided to end users—and the various actors and processes involved. It aligns cross-disciplinary teams by establishing a shared vocabulary and understanding. It surfaces critical moments, breakdowns, and inefficiencies, and empowers teams to identify ideas and opportunities to deliver better services and meet user needs. Attendees will leave this talk with the tools to run their own interactive service blueprinting sessions within their own organizations.
Engagement and Digital Delivery via API: Case Studies from the NYC Mayor’s Office and U.S. Census
It’s easy for users to get lost when searching for the data or resources they need. This session will feature case studies from two offices that leveraged APIs to make data and programs more readily accessible to their users. In New York City, the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity is expanding the City’s benefits screening efforts through the development of a new open API with criteria for 30+ federal, state, and municipal programs to support the creation of new technology tools and screening scenarios. The U.S. Census Bureau is engaging users through a new dissemination platform with access to all data and visualizations, leveraging its publicly accessible API. Join us for live demonstrations of these featured projects and learn tips and tricks for navigating the Census API, including seeing what data visualizations result from tapping into the census data. Both case studies will detail the incremental development processes that were successful in rolling out the work.
The Current State of Maturity in Digital Services Groups Around the World
Last summer, digital HKS proposed a new maturity framework model for digital services groups in the public sector, drawing on the expertise and advice of practitioners around the world. Since then, we have been collecting data from digital services teams at the federal, regional, and municipal levels in many nations as well as feedback from teams about how they are using the model to think about their own work. In this session, we will share what we've learned to date from teams that have completed the maturity model, ask for feedback about where to go next, and think through how digital services teams can leverage these kinds of tools to drive and scale greater impact for the public.
Measuring and Increasing Effectiveness of Digital Public Service Delivery
Digital public service delivery promises to revolutionize how citizens and governments interact. But measuring the impact of digitizing services on citizen satisfaction and behavior is difficult. In this breakout session, you will learn how to design randomized control trials to evaluate the systematic impact of your service. Randomized control trials are particularly useful to civil servants and policymakers who are implementing a new service but unsure whether it will achieve the desired goals, or deciding which of several alternative implementations to pursue. You will also learn how to tap into the vast (and often free) pool of academic talent that is interested in supporting these kinds of evaluations in the public sector.
Advanced Mistake Making: A Master Class
You’re going to make mistakes. That’s just the nature of things. As you learn, there will be errors and accidents, slip-ups and inadvertent breakages. What if your goal was to only make new mistakes? Others have gone before you, trying to get to the same place you’re trying to get to. They’ve already screwed up in countless, useful ways. What can you learn from them before you embark on the next attempt to fix your part of government? In this talk, you’ll learn how to preview the worst possible outcomes without actually messing anything up including using discovery to learn from survivors, future casting outcomes to visualize impacts, and mapping the worst possible scenarios to assess risk and cost of getting things wrong.
Shaping a Bold Future through Delivery-Driven Policymaking: Universal Family Care
Where do human-centered design methods and policymaking intersect? How might designers and policymakers collaborate on policy innovation? Sarita Gupta, co-director of national non-profit Caring Across Generations, will share how reaching far outside the policy realm to the methods of human-centered design has been an essential part of advancing Universal Family Care.
Civic Tech and Civil Justice
Every day, thousands of Americans face legal problems—like eviction, intimate partner violence, and deportation—without a lawyer. Technology extends the promise that we can expand the delivery of legal assistance to those in need. This program will discuss that promise; the processes by which innovation is explored and adopted in this space; and the implications for justice, equality, and democracy. The panelists will encourage those in attendance to consider partnerships with the justice system, non-profits, the private sector, and law schools to promote innovation in the delivery and provision of critical legal services to those most desperately in need.
Human-Centered Design in Healthcare Technology
Increasingly, we're realizing that so much of healthcare—how health services are delivered—was not designed from the perspective of end users. While other industries have embraced human-centered design as a way to engage users, healthcare has been a bit behind. But an emerging trend of designers patterning with empowered patients is changing that. When designers partner with patients we shine a light on some of our most intractable problems and bend them to new, creative solutions. Join us for a breakout session on the front lines of design in healthcare. After a few quick stories, you'll get a rapid cycle chance to dig in on some real challenges presented by real patients and learn and gain inspiration from how large and established institutions can start and support a culture of human-centered design.
The State of Criminal Justice Data at the County Level
To plan for national scaling of their research, Measures for Justice conducted a study of the state online case lookup systems for county courts across the United States. For anyone hoping to access court system data, the availability of data online is a critical starting point—both for researchers seeking bulk data and for individuals seeking to access their local justice systems. In this breakout, Measures for Justice will present their findings, including detailed maps of each state and county, and discuss policy implications of what they discovered.
How to Use Off-The-Shelf Tech to Digitize Paper Processes
Filing a police report? Flipping through the yellow pages to access social services? What were once paper-first processes have been transformed into tech products to address the needs of millions of vulnerable citizens. Some of the best civic tech solutions leverage off-the-shelf technology to build great products fast, especially in the early stages. In this conversation, Shannon Farley from Fast Forward will dive into the subject with Brandon Anderson, founder of Raheem, an app for reporting police conduct after losing his partner to police violence and Rey Faustino, who spent countless hours flipping through social services binders as a kid, and later built One Degree, a digital platform for finding these resources.
Equity as the Eggs Not the Icing
What does it mean to bake in equity when co-designing public experiences? How does this unfold across digital and non-digital touchpoints? As an internal design unit within a municipal agency, the Innovation Office of the San Francisco Human Services Agency helps to create services that better meet the needs of the public, government employees and intended policy. These needs unfold in a historical context of power, privilege, discrimination, and trauma. Applying “equity” in their work is to include this historical context from initial conversations with project collaborators through strategy, design, implementation and evaluation. In this session they will offer lessons learned, and welcome reflections from your lived experiences and practices.
empire.gov: Decolonizing Civic Tech
From the conferences we attend to the standards we adapt, today’s biggest voices in civic tech are overwhelmingly British, American, and white. Yet according to UN rankings, our countries barely crack the top 10 in terms of e-participation. What might we learn if we stopped trying to lead and started listening? Join us for a frank talk about civic tech—who we listen to, what we hold sacred, and how we can learn from history rather than create new forms of digital imperialism.
Using APIs to Foster Civic Engagement
Modern machine learning, APIs and tools can assist governmental agencies in creating and fostering civic engagement. In this session, experts from government and industry will explore how government can use APIs to deliver services to developers and users including covering modern ML tools and ways agencies are using them to engage their citizens, what a typical journey looks like, how to deal with the ethical questions, and what datasets are necessary for real intelligence.
Backpacking Trips, Christmas Trees, and the Woodsy Owl: How Open Forest Is Connecting the Public with the Outdoors
In this presentation, development team members will share how 18F and the U.S. Forest Service partnered to build a platform through user-centered design, stakeholder engagement, product management, modular procurement, scaled agile, and DevOps, and tools such as cloud.gov and US Web Design System. Attendees will walk away from the discussion with a better idea of how to build public-facing products in the federal domain in an iterative, compliant, user-centered way.
Backpacking Trips, Christmas Trees, and the Woodsy Owl: How Open Forest Is Connecting the Public with the Outdoors
In this session, development team members will share how 18F and the U.S. Forest Service partnered to build a platform through user-centered design, stakeholder engagement, product management, modular procurement, scaled agile, and DevOps, as well as tools such as cloud.gov and US Web Design System. Attendees will walk away from the discussion with a better idea of how to build public-facing products in the federal domain in an iterative, compliant, user-centered way.
Building Political Will & Civic Infrastructure from Within: St. Louis City
Panelists from the City of St. Louis and the local St. Louis Brigade will discuss efforts to build political will and internal infrastructure and empowering employees and vendors to create a culture of change in an executive branch office, while preserving institutional memory and stability. They will explain how “culture of change” is the fundamental mindset that allows them to logically and systematically upgrade their processes of procurement, security, and talent. It takes political will to move from an almost entirely paper-based office to one that is focused on human-centered design, both in physical space and technological systems.
Turning Tech Workers into Agents of Change: A New Approach to Civic Engagement
The expansion of the tech economy to cities beyond the Bay Area has been celebrated by many as bringing much-needed economic growth to places that are struggling to find footing in a 21st-century economy. But as the Bay Area struggles with an urgent housing crisis and alarming increases in inequality that are largely blamed on the tech sector, policymakers in other cities are starting to ask how they can welcome a growing tech economy while avoiding some of these pitfalls. The answer may lie, in part, in developing tech workers into a political constituency that can advocate for inclusive economic policies both inside their companies and in public policy. We need look no further than the vibrant Code for America Brigade community to know that tech workers want to be a force for good in their cities. However, in order to fully engage them as civic agents, we have to go beyond just organizing them around building tools. By educating and activating tech workers on the big issues facing their communities, we can build a powerful political constituency to advocate for equitable growth in our cities. In this session you’ll hear about how these techies become engaged, what this means for the future of the tech industry, and how cities across the country and around the world can incorporate these practices in their own tech communities.
Memes, Social Media, and Creative Campaigns in Government
Americans are increasingly making it clear that they expect the same level of service from government as they enjoy with brands in other industries. If you want to make the public aware of new services, promote a cause or just inform the community of important news, social media is the best place to do it. To understand and realize a meaningful return on investment, you must identify social media strategies that can deliver support to you. This session will include examples of strategies that have worked including using snow memes to decrease parking violations in Somerville, Mass., engaging the public to support children in Los Angeles, Calif., and harnessing the power of the online crowd to help people before and during a disaster.
Assessing Information Needs to Reach Marginalized Communities
From wildfires to hurricanes, recent natural disasters across the country have illuminated how marginalized communities lack access to information they need to keep their families and communities safe. Language barriers, limited internet access, distinct communication tools, structural exclusion and lack of trust too often mean that immigrants, homeless people, the elderly, and others are left in the dark when it comes to news and information that affects their lives.
In this workshop, participants will be guided through practical, human-centered strategies they can use to map the information needs and assets of marginalized communities. Using examples and hands-on exercises, presenters will demonstrate how a focus on relationships, design thinking, and the tactics of community organizing can help us develop more effective ways to distribute important information to communities that need it, and create a feedback loop for trusted two-way communication. Participants will walk away with a plan of action to assess information barriers that affect members of their communities, and design creative engagement strategies to overcome them.
A breakout session where activists, community partners, and Brigade members can ask questions about what it’s like to deliver services from the government point of view. Presenters will discuss challenges, opportunities, needs from the community, staffing, etc. from both tech and non-tech perspectives. This session will be recorded live for the GovLove podcast.
Ethics and Social Responsibility in Tech
As developers of technology, we continuously make decisions in our products and services that can deeply impact society. This is especially true in the public sector, but has also become increasingly true in the private sector as well. Digital services are ubiquitous in our lives, and with that, we need to consider ethical and social implications in everything we build, starting from the beginning and especially at every step of the product development lifecycle. This session highlights bright spots, best practices, and takeaway lessons in incorporating ethics and social responsibility in tech.
How Journalism Does Data: Using Government Data to Tell Stories
Data journalists often hear from sources that they are surprised to find that reporters have data and technical skills. But data journalism didn't start with Nate Silver, and there are a wide range of ways in which data analysis and the skills of technologists are used in newsrooms. Civic technologists are often evangelists for data transparency and use and are designing the systems that power forward-looking governments. In this session, data journalists will share how governments can create or share data in ways that are more likely to be used, and how to make data more journalism-friendly.
Civic Tech & #MeToo: One Year In, What Progress Has (or Hasn't) Been Made?
Panelists regroup from last year's session on equity, inclusion, and #MeToo issues in the civic tech sector to explore the progress that has been made in the last year. Funders like Luminate have announced new practices in policies. Organizations have released reports assessing themselves and announcing what they're doing better moving forward. Conferences have implemented new practices. What can we learn from the last year of progress and what can we improve?
Bias in Datasets & Fairness in Machine Learning
We hear a lot these days about biases in algorithms. At the core of these biases is the data which are fed into algorithms. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can't happen without some initial data to be considered by an algorithm. This session will have a demonstration of how radically different conclusions and insights can be drawn from similar datasets with the same algorithm applied to them. To tackle these complexities, computer scientists create formal definitions of fairness in machine learning. But what if instead of just automating decision-making, we used machine learning to make institutional decisions more just in the first place? In this session we interpret ML as a tool for revealing when and how measures fail to capture purported constructs of interest, augmenting how hospitals, prisons, and child welfare agencies understand their own values and priorities. Machine learning can thus be understood as a form of quality assurance for existing institutions, exposing the epistemic fault lines of their own measurement practices.
Building & Measuring Trust in Government by Meeting Residents Where They Are
Done well, digital transformations in government can build the public’s trust. Meeting your residents where they are is a key part of building trust. By embracing residents who might be active and engaged but could get missed in a digital transformation, a community can change the paradigm of government technical transformation. As trust is established, it’s also important to measure it. This session will examine ways to build trust, empathy and culture change between residents and the government in Gilbert, Arizona; San Diego, California; and Orlando, Florida. Open San Diego will discuss the importance of developing a feedback loop where elected officials learn what their constituents want and need, and constituents learn how to civically engage with elected officials and provide the input at the appropriate channel. The City of Orlando will walk through the process and vision for a Resident Experience program to tell leadership and staff what interactions are building trust and which interactions are degrading trust and why. And Gilbert, Arizona will discuss ways that government can proactively meet residents where they are and introduce methods for engagement and education through non-traditional means.
Public-Private Data Partnerships for Public Good
Increasingly, the private sector is generating data that could be re-purposed to complement traditional public-sector data collection methods—for example, using fleet GPS data to estimate speeds or mobile operator data to determine travel patterns. Likewise, open government data can be used by companies to improve their products and offer services to more vulnerable members of the public. The World Bank is piloting solutions to support governments in using company data and will share more about the challenges and experiences with that effort. The Opportunity Project features dozens of collaborations between companies and government agencies to leverage open government data for products and services to better serve more members of the public.
Using Data to Expand Access and Increase Safety in Mobility
Mobility has changed faster in the past 12 months than it has in the last 12 years. Today, many local governments around the world are taking steps to prioritize shared multimodality—that is, making space for people on foot, bikes, scooters, transit, and other ways to get around. With so many new modes coming to streets near us, the role cities choose to play in mobility today will have direct impacts on how people move tomorrow. New advances in data standards, data collection sources, and visualization platforms provide an opportunity for local governments to evaluate and plan transportation in new ways, and take steps to ensure the right-of-way can be allocated to achieve desired goals of sustainability, public health, and safety. This session will share examples of projects, data, and standards available today, and how cities can be positioned to shape streets and mobility priorities for success, including the Mobility Data Specification, a new set of APIs designed to scale transportation rule-making with hundreds of cities and dozens of Mobility-as-a-Service companies to deal with the new generation of app-enabled mobility providers.
Running Civic Coding Hackathons and Why They (Continue) to Be Important
Hackathons have become an increasingly popular way for technologists to inspire creativity, foster innovation, and prototype challenges with minimal investment. In this talk, presenters will walk through what it takes to put on a well-designed hackathon with a proven roadmap for success while highlighting case studies from successful events at Code.gov. Topics will include selling your event idea to leadership, challenge problem definitions, incentivizing participants with the use of prizes, ways to include participants who aren’t coders, creating a safe and welcoming spaces, open source tools for collaboration, and a look at the logistics required to plan your way to an ideal event. The session will ultimately end with a snapshot of how hackathons continue to be a driver of promoting open source and code reuse.
Democratizing Data Under a Tight Budget: How to Empower Colleagues with Access to Data and Analysis Tools
You’re a data analyst or scientist and you want to empower colleagues to use your organization’s data and foster an inquisitive, open culture. Where to begin? There’s no authoritative guide on expanding access to data in an organization, but we can share what we’ve learned and save each other a whole lot of time. Presenters will discuss principles for learning about your colleagues' data needs, teaching colleagues to access and analyze the data, and how to support the data work that your colleagues begin taking on. They will also talk about potential unanticipated benefits in terms of strategy and making the data team’s projects even more useful.
Bringing Community-Led Civic Tech into Government (In a Way That Won't Make Your Attorneys, Purchasers and IT Staff Lose Sleep)
Still trying to figure out how to get government to engage with your local Brigade? Every city has a unique relationship between the government, community, and volunteer residents. This session will highlight different ways to successfully collaborate between government, Brigades, and residents, showing both the wins and the pitfalls to avoid. Leaders from Charlotte, NC, Philadelphia, PA, and Edmonton, Canada will share replicable frameworks and strategies that attendees can take back to their communities.
Founding the National Advisory Council and Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders
In this panel session, members of the Code for America National Advisory Council (past and present) will share insights on the establishing the first advisory council and transitioning leadership to the next round of elected members. This group of civic tech leaders will focus on why they joined the NAC, what they want to accomplish, and what success looks like for the Brigade Network. Furthermore, we’ll explore the key parts of transitioning leadership to maximize the impact of the advisory council. By the end of this session, attendees will get a better understanding of the role the NAC plays in the Code for America ecosystem as well as the vision of the leadership behind the advisory council.
Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement: Putting Client Experience First in the Safety Net
Across California, government agencies are listening to clients about their experience applying for SNAP benefits and using that feedback to improve service delivery. Counties are using a simple survey to understand client friction and starting small when testing new business processes to alleviate risk. Join GetCalFresh's partners and take home some ideas on how to keep users at the forefront.
Are We There Yet? Turning Legacy 311 Systems into Agile User-Centered Digital Services
Open311 technologies report and track non-emergency issues in public spaces, allowing citizens to communicate to their governments, and governments to respond to their citizens more effectively. And while 311 websites, apps, and even chatbots are now common in cities and towns across the country, the user experience, service design, and agile delivery of these systems is far from a solved problem. Because of their wide reach and high visibility, 311 systems can be great opportunities to show how user-centered, agile methods improve service delivery. But, because of their scale, you’re likely going to have to deal with procurement, major enterprise systems, and cross-departmental change management to get anything done. In this panel, we’ll talk about common challenges and inspiring successes from 311 systems across the country and the world. We’ll talk about all the gory, crucial details that don’t get included in the press releases and blog posts, with peers who have been through it all.
Back to the Future with Open Data
From Orwell’s 1984 to Star Trek, we’ve been fascinated by how sci-fi predicts the future. Data swirls around us every day—some open, some closed. Data is knowledge and knowledge is power, that power is at our fingertips. Open data growing and easy to use benefits can be significant: streamlining services, stimulating economic growth, encouraging innovation, reducing poverty and improving life on earth. Join us as we become the sci-fi writers of Open Data, featuring an interactive discussion of leaders and evangelists of the open data movement. This session is for anyone involved in developing, using or planning to use open data, giving a perspective of history and a visionary roadmap for infinity and beyond!
Census 2020: Help save this foundation of our democracy
The official Census count happens once every ten years and determines how many congressional seats each state receives, boundaries for voting districts, and the flow of federal dollars into communities. The stakes are especially high for Census 2020. This is the first online Census, and elevated mistrust in government coupled with a high likelihood of disinformation campaigns raise the risk for a significant undercount of vulnerable communities. Local action will be crucial. Learn how to put your data and tech skills toward saving one of the foundations of our democracy.
Growing the Pipeline for Tech in Government
If we want a strong technology workforce in public service and public interest, we need more ways to identify, train, and coach potential civic tech workers into these jobs. This session will explore a variety of ways to create and maintain that workforce including a university-led project that New America has been standing up, an internship-based model now in its third year led by Coding it Forward, a Congressional fellowship model now in its fourth year of placing technologists in Congressional offices, and a training model for mid-career technologists to help them learn policy and be prepared to enter government service as tech leaders, led by the Aspen Tech Policy Hub.
Designing a 21st Century Civil Service
What would civil service rules (and merit-based hiring more broadly speaking) look like if we were designing them from scratch today applying a human-centered data-driven approach? During this presentation, presenters will share what their last year of research working on the City and County of San Francisco's Hiring Modernization Project has taught them about merit-based hiring and how they could imagine reinventing the process by which governments hire and retain their most valuable resource: their people. They will talk about how we can start making this vision a reality by using evidence-based research from the field of people analytics and some of the emerging HR-related technologies that help HR functions play more of a strategic role within their organizations.
Seven Strategies for Hiring and Supporting Technologists in Government
The Partnership for Public Service has compiled learnings that come from three years of recruiting for the U.S. Digital Service into seven key lessons applicable at all levels of government. Two former leaders of the USDS will share they learned and how these lessons can be useful to government executives, and then turn to a conversation with the audience on what kinds of obstacles they are facing when it comes to hiring tech talent.
Public Service for and with the People: Building a Government Open Organization Through Culture, Code, and Community
Government openness is a mindset that starts with culture, but includes rethinking the public sector’s approach to technology and community. Using anecdotes and lessons learned from early experiments at the State of California, the City of San Rafael, and the City of Fort Collins, government leaders will discuss the evolving openness practices within their organizations, and how it has impacted their relationships with public servants, the public and the partners they work closely with.
A Seat at the Table: Connecting Policy and Technology for Better Health Outcomes
Policymaking has a much longer life-cycle than modern software development — on the order of years. In the interim, user needs and problems change. How do we get policymakers and technologists in sync and adaptive to changing user needs? In this panel, representatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Nava PBC discuss how they connected policy and delivery teams at the Quality Payment Program (QPP), a program that impacts over 34 million Medicare patients and accounts for over $178 billion in payments to doctors, leads to better delivery outcomes. They'll share best practices, techniques and challenges in getting policy and delivery teams to speak the same language, applying product management and human-centered design best practices to write policy that meets user needs, and getting delivery teams into the policy conversations sooner.
Cultivating Culture Change at California Health and Human Services: How to Create Change in a Bureaucracy
The California Health and Human Services Agency’s mission is to assure the sound physical, mental, and financial health and well-being of families and communities. Government, out of necessity, divides itself into departments and programs, but clients’ lives are not similarly segmented. During the budget cuts, it was impossible to know the true impact of those decisions on people who used multiple CHHS services. CHHS knew they must adapt to better meet client needs. This simple concept is the guide for the cultural change they desired. Discovering the power of open data and leveraging data as an asset was the catalyst for this shift in mindset. The size and diversity of CHHS gave them the opportunity to leverage talent, funds and processes to better deliver services. Once leadership saw the benefit of this approach, they started an effort to empower CHHS staff to adopt more modern service delivery practices. Building meaningful partnerships is one of the primary reasons they have been able to move quickly. It is about a cultural change at CHHS: A change where people are encouraged to be curious and to shift their focus from being program-centered to client-centered.
Making Process Improvement, Performance and Digital Transformation Part of Everyone's DNA
Learn how two cities are are investing in systems and tools to ensure better data quality and create opportunities to improve processes, service delivery and citizen’s experience with government. During this presentation, the City of Boston will discuss how their implementation of a new data warehouse platform shifted the experience of performance management from data entry compliance to consuming quality data, and the City of Baltimore will detail the steps they took to implement two programs that engage civic partners and train all levels of employees to become more customer-centric.
Building Bridges (And How Not to Burn Them) While Innovating in Local Government
Government innovators need to build credibility — fast. Innovation leaders from the cities of Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Rafael and San Francisco — four Bay Area local governments of varying sizes — are joining forces to share specific tactics on how to build trust and sustain buy-in with stakeholders to enable risk-taking. The session will kick off with each representative sharing anecdotes and perspectives from colleagues on indicators and perceptions of trust, including stories of moments where trust was won and lost. Session leaders will share trust-building tools and best practices for project management, dealing with failure, working with deep subject-matter experts, and working with residents. Finally, attendees will be facilitated through a hands-on exercise based on the The Trust Equation framework and leave with knowledge of how to assess one’s own or a stakeholder’s trustworthiness in different scenarios and specific actions that can be taken to build trust.
It’s Not a Technology Problem: Practical Tips for Elected and Appointed Leaders on Effectively Leading Digital Transformations in Their Cities and States
It’s 2019, people expect government to deliver easy-to-use digital services. Does your city/county/agency still run on clunky, outdated and expensive legacy IT systems that urgently need modernization? Are you worried that you lack the in-house talent or budget to avoid a high profile tech project failure. Are you haunted by stories of past efforts to outsource IT projects to one big vendor that blew through the budget and the system still doesn’t work? In this session, we’ll go over the basic concepts of modern software development (user centered design, agile development, and modular procurement) as well as alternatives to the traditional IT procurement approach and practical tips and questions you can use to help reduce risk and deliver valuable services faster to end users and residents.
Surviving Political Transitions
What happens when leadership in a large organization changes? When the mission, goals, and policy positions change? When the person who pleaded your case and had your back is… gone? Change in leadership is inevitable, especially in government where term limits are a fact of life. What happens in political transitions, and how do you set your team up to survive them? This session will cover: building trust and relationships with internal, career staff; using the transition period to your advantage; documenting progress; adjusting plans for political agendas; and developing exit scenarios and strategies.
Digital Ready: Scaling and Adopting Disaster Preparedness Using Lessons From the California Fires
Digital is the default when disaster strikes, and governments must be prepared to communicate response and recovery efforts to the public immediately, continuously and effectively. From websites to social media, the community relies solely on these channels to stay updated on relief efforts, and these must be mobile, accessible, adaptive, informative and planned in advance. Hear firsthand lessons learned from leaders who managed digital and communications operations during the Paradise, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Butte County California fires and learn how governments can be best prepared when disaster strikes your communities.
How San Francisco Unified School District Reimagined the Technology and Processes Behind Enrollment
Over the past year, a talented team of San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) technologists have come together to design a streamlined, efficient, effective and documented technology process to allow for an equitable, choice-based enrollment process for students. This talk will share how the process evolved due to the work of this team, and where SFUSD is going next. For decades prior to 2018, the process of assigning students to SFUSD schools via a choice-based lottery and paper application happened mostly manually, in an antiquated system, and only a few individuals knew how the technical process worked. The technical challenges of the enrollment process became evident in the spring of 2017, when enrollment letters were mailed late to anxious San Francisco parents, frustrating the community. As a result, the team completely redesigned an automated, scalable, well-documented, and repeatable technical process. They did so while rolling out a new interface to enter students into the district, replacing a legacy system and manual data preparation process that had been central to the district for decades—not only meaning that enrollment letters in 2018 were ready ahead of time, but data quality was, and still is, at an all-time high in the district. The team will explain how they did it and what’s up next (bringing those paper applications online, increasing transparency and access to SFUSD schools for all members of the San Francisco community).
Fast, Fun, Interactive Creating of Requirements that Stick
Agile, Lean, waterfall, and hybrid projects all need "requirements": vision, needs, goals, objectives, user stories, business stories, system stories, epics, use cases, requirements, desirements... This one-hour workshop will provide hands-on experience in practical skills using a participatory workshop method for creating, rather than passively gathering, requirements. You will learn to create requirements organized in a hierarchy (not strictly hierarchical) of increasingly concrete and detailed elaboration—prioritized and scoped, and readily amenable to re-prioritizing and re-scoping as reality happens during the project team's work to meet them.
Widening the Field for Procurement
Minority and Women-Owned Businesses face endless barriers to success, including winning government contracts. In this session, the City of Albuquerque and Avisare will highlight how they are successfully tackling the problems plaguing procurement to make the process more seamless and inclusive. And Hire Harlem will share how it is helping Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise initiatives be more successful in New York by changing the way citizens interact with the data collected during the certification process.
Multi-Party Data Sharing: Bringing All the Players to the Table
A common challenge across government digital transformation is the ability to get the right data, to the right people, at the right time to drive impact. Thinking beyond data sharing as a transaction, this session will highlight public-private data sharing successes in states like Colorado and California, using a collaborative format to engage people working towards adoption of multi-party data sharing agreements on behalf of their own agencies. BrightHive will share success stories from supporting state and city governments in signing multi-party data sharing agreements called “data trusts,” and best practices in establishing, staffing, and executing associated data governance bodies. This session will begin with a presentation, but will focus on workshopping how to design collaborative approaches between program staff, IT and legal teams, to build trust and buy-in while addressing the specific needs and challenges at different organizations.
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye: Case Studies from Modernizing Legacy Systems
There is a growing generation of government legacy systems that need replacement, often the first digital systems of their kind. Replacing a system that is deeply intertwined with an agency’s mission can be delicate, risky work. In this talk, Nava will share selected experiences from years of work on modernizing legacy systems, and offer patterns and thoughts to help you forge your own path to modernization. Three case studies will be presented: the streamlined healthcare application on HealthCare.gov, a replacement for HealthCare.gov’s underperforming authentication service, and the modernization of appeals processing at the Department of Veterans Affairs. We’ll examine each project from policy, product, and technical angles.
Legislating Technology: When It Works, When It Doesn’t
The NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) engages often in conversation—and debate—around technology legislation with local lawmakers. They are the business owners of NYC’s Open Data Program, a program governed by a series of local laws, and have recently navigated the exciting process of having the entire office (MODA) legislated into the City Charter in the Fall of 2018. Their office has also recently been legislated into bills requesting reports and data from the City Council. These experiences have led them to ask themselves: When is it best for analytics, and its surrounding technology ecosystem, to be legislated? Given the fast pace at which technology is changing, there is a risk that legislation will develop requirements for processes and systems that will quickly become outdated. On the other hand, the NYC Open Data program’s legal mandates are powerful tools to command citywide agency compliance around an initiative that might otherwise receive less attention. This discussion will further unpack when it is beneficial for technology initiatives (such as data and analytics) to be legislated, and when it is a less-than-ideal implementation vehicle for technology policy adoption.
Making Procurement Work for a Smart City
The term “smart cities” should refer to how municipalities better deliver on their mission to citizens. How can technology help us achieve the results we’re looking for? Let’s start with innovative and inclusive procurement. In 2018, Denver sought to use procurement to establish small, agile, iterative teams deploying technology. 180+ companies answered the call! In 2014, San Francisco launched Startup in Residence, pairing cities and startups through challenge-based procurement. 20+ cities and 1,000+ startups are now competing for 100 contract opportunities. Learn what worked (and didn’t) from government staff, procurement officers, and startups.
The Security Help Desk
Have a computer security question that's been on your mind? Need help setting up two factor for your email? Drop by the security help desk, staffed by two security experts and former USDS engineers and get some help!