Our experience at Code for America

The suitcases are unpacked, our LinkedIn is spinning and it already feels like an age ago, however we recently returned from our first Code for America Summit in Oakland, California.

Code for America is a movement which brings together ‘Government innovators, civic-minded technologists, and entrepreneurs’, and we’re thrilled to align ourselves with the community.

The summit was packed with innovative visionaries who truly believe in using technology in the right way, to enable the Government to better serve our society.

It was a hectic couple of days, but a couple of highlights for me included:

  • Cecilia Muñoz Skype-ing in from the White House situation room, sharing various stories of how technological advances are improving lives for many, such as removing the physical and & often geographical barriers to the refugee crisis, by digitising and simplifying an already complex process.
  • Meeting Francis Maude, whose policy surrounding the use of Open Source & SME in UK Gov back in 2011, gave rise to Invotra. Thanks in part to his vocal and practical support for increased efficiencies and cost savings, we’re leading the way and have 45% of Central Government using our Digital Workplace to securely support their evolution. As the US Government look to UK Government ICT successes, it was good to be there as a ‘real life’ success case.

Throughout the various talks, panel & breakout sessions, there was a lot of discussion with regard to just the elements required scale Govtech and Civictech projects, including solid benchmarking/evaluation tools, increased sharing of success stories to gently encourage others, better infrastructure, increased communication and open data. Not surprisingly, user participation at an early stage, as well as diversity were cited as key components for projects to succeed.

Accessibility (a subject that we hold in very high regard here at Invotra) and Government procurement also featured significantly – both worthy of individual blogs of their own.

The Summit was also used to reveal that Code.gov will share all of federally procured code – a big move forward for everyone involved.

We also made a reveal of our own, admittedly not as big, however, the winner of our Huawei watch was Nathaniel Manning, CEO, Ushahidi. Congrats Nathaniel, we hope you’re enjoying it!

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