Code for America’s 2021 Summit is happening May 12-13 with pre-Summit workshops on May 11. This year, our speakers will lead sessions in four tracks: Design + Delivery, Civic Innovation + Data, Operations + Management, and Technology + Policy. In this preview, we’ll be focusing on Design + Delivery. This track is all about how people-centered design thinking, user research, product management, and iterative delivery are changing how government works and improving outcomes in marginalized communities. To find out more, we spoke with track lead Cyd Harrell, an independent civic design consultant who recently published A Civic Technologist’s Practice Guide, and content committee co-chairs Arlene Corbin Lewis and Ryan Ko, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and Chief of Staff at Code for America, respectively.
What is this track all about? What makes it particularly relevant right now?
This track focuses on the design and delivery of government services, with a specific focus on how to work towards a government that serves people with equity and justice. The pandemic has made it clear that government delivery is at the core of everything that matters—policy is only as good as how it is implemented and delivered. Both in times of rapid response due to crises and in times of relative stability, the vast majority of U.S. residents rely on government for critical services.
We’re excited about these track sessions because they highlight the expansive nature—both related to the COVID-19 response and not—of how various design topics and techniques make a big difference in the quality of service and equitable outcomes. We’ve brought in administrators who can speak to their rapid responses during the pandemic to ensure participatory community input in how government should react; practitioners who have deep experience helping government transform to better serve communities that have been marginalized; and technologists who have thought through what a fundamental human-centered approach to government truly means.
What will attendees gain from participating in this track?
We’ve curated a slate of sessions with a few goals in mind. First, we hope that these speakers inspire participants to think about how their government service delivery can be more equitable and just. The case examples provided are amazing, and we’re so excited to have these speakers here to share their expertise. Second, we hope that the sessions provide actionable to-dos that can be brought back to departments, agencies, and systems to be applied right now.
These sessions are meant for everyone who works in and around government in order to provide some ideas, examples, best practices, and case studies, as well as energy and motivation for all of us to—as this year’s theme goes—design an equitable government together.
Want to see more of the Design + Delivery track? Check out all our session descriptions here or browse through a sample of sessions in this track below:
- Moving Equity Forward with the Pandemic as a Catalyst: Three Examples from the Field
- A More Inclusive Digital Experience Starts with Designing for and with People of All Abilities
- Building a Practice of Equity-Centered Design Across Government
Hear from speakers in government, non-profits, and the private sector, like: Diamond James, the Civic Design Lead for the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Innovation Team; Casey Helbling, the Founder and CEO of Software for Good; and Milzy Carrasco, the Director of Neighborhood Engagement for the City of Lancaster. These speakers and many more are eager to engage with you!
Still haven’t signed up for Summit yet? Don’t worry! Tickets for the 2021 Code for America Summit are on sale through May 13, with tickets for pre-Summit workshops available until May 4. Register for Summit and workshops today.