Manifesto for Digital Government
We believe that a new approach is needed to advance the U.S. federal government into the digital age and to reform federal information technology.
Although digital technology has enabled new ways for governments to interact with the public and accomplish their missions, the U.S. government has not kept pace. Our $80 billion of annual information technology spending does not produce $80 billion of value for the public. Instead of capitalizing on digital technology to revolutionize government engagement with the public and to foster government accountability, we have added layers of ineffective and slow-moving processes that are focused inwardly on our own policy and governance rather than outwardly on our responsibility to the public.
We believe in these principles:
- Delivery is what matters. Plans, policies, politics are all less important than delivering results to the public we serve.
- Speed is critical. The public expects government to be responsive, both to their needs and to emerging threats and opportunities. Multi-year projects are unacceptable.
- Design services for the public. Our measure of success is how well we serve the public. We focus on the public’s needs rather than the government’s peculiarities.
- Promote public interaction. Digital government is about the interface between the public and the government, and should encourage participation by the public.
- Eliminate waste. We take a “lean” approach to eliminate wasteful processes that increase information technology costs and reduce government responsiveness.
- Use best practices. The public has the right to expect that we are using the most up-to-date, contemporary practices to deliver digital services, including, for example, Agile and Lean approaches.
- Treasure outside influences. We learn from technology companies, startups, foreign governments, academia and other sources outside the Beltway. Relying on approaches that are constantly recycled within the government and a small group of contractors is destructive.
- Be bold and courageous. To be innovative, we must take some personal risks. Change is difficult, but we know that if we deliver we will have the support of the public and the media.
- Be open. We can harness the creativity and passion of the American people through openness. If we explain our challenges they will find ways to solve them; if we open-source our code they will improve it; if we make our data public they will find ways to use it.
With these principles in mind, we can transform the way the US government serves its public, taking advantage of what the digital world has to offer. We can create a virtuous cycle where government interaction with the public leads to better government interaction with the public. And we can fulfill the promise of new technologies to make government more efficient, responsive, and accountable.
We are committed to this change.