Beeck Center Launches Project to Support New Digital Service Teams

Starting with the states of Colorado and New Jersey, this project will document lessons learned to scale throughout the digital service network.

March 4, 2020

The Beeck Center’s Digital Service Collaborative (DSC), in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, is launching a project to pair researchers with new government digital service teams to capture early steps, decisions, and strategies to understand what they are learning as they form and to serve as actionable resources for other governments establishing digital service teams.

In recent years, governments have increasingly begun advancing service delivery with modern technology, software development, and service design principles. As these efforts take shape, government teams are pioneering new approaches and adapting from their experiences. The DSC launched in April 2019 to bring together leaders in the government digital service ecosystem to conduct action-oriented research, share successful strategies, and work together to develop solutions that we can scale throughout this network. 

For this project, the DSC is launching its first phase with two researchers who will collaborate with state offices focused on digital transformation. The researchers will work alongside government teams to understand the decisions and strategies that arise in the early days of this work. This includes the barriers and challenges faced by public servants, policy makers, external partners, and recipients; the technical processes and decisions involved; and the key indicators being used to measure success both internally and externally. Research outputs will be highlighted through policy briefs, playbooks, blog posts, and other useful products for the DSC network. 

Colorado and New Jersey have joined for this first phase of the project. The Colorado Digital Service is a new team within the Governor’s Office of Information Technology. This small team of senior engineers, designers, and product managers work alongside dedicated civil servants in state agencies to develop user-centered solutions to Colorado’s most pressing technical challenges. Founded with a mandate to improve the lives of New Jerseyans by designing and deploying more effective and efficient government services, the New Jersey Office of Innovation works in partnership with the Governor’s office and state agencies to create innovative policies and technologies that address complex public problems by working differently. 

This work will join the DSC’s existing portfolio of projects ranging from developing a playbook on streamlining the foster care licensing process in states to bringing together data ethicists to develop a model to responsibly share data between the public and private sectors for better outcomes. 

This project will be led by Cori Zarek, Director of the DSC, and supported by the Beeck Center’s team of staff, fellows and students. The DSC is actively recruiting new digital service teams set to launch in U.S. cities and states to be part of a second phase of this project for later this year.

Two researchers are joining the DSC to support this project. 

Conor Carroll is a State of New Jersey Researcher with the Digital Service Collaborative. He is also a social impact fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy where he was lead researcher and author of a report on philanthropy and democracy. Previously, Conor worked as a senior research analyst with Gartner, where he managed a budget and staffing benchmark survey. He is an AmeriCorps alum and has served in research roles at the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Joint Economic Committee. Conor received his BA cum laude from Penn State University and his MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University where he concentrated in economics and public policy.

Yeri Kim is a State of Colorado Researcher with the Digital Service Collaborative. Yeri is working with the newly announced Colorado Digital Service to analyze the team’s projects and processes to support the strategic design of similar innovation initiatives in other state and local governments. Yeri’s experience is in human-centered design research and strategy, specializing in making complex systems work for the people that use them. Her approach is informed by psychology & behavioral science, community development, and business strategy. Previously, Yeri was a Senior Design Researcher at IA Collaborative, a global design & innovation consulting firm, where she led teams to solve clients’ most complex problems such as new market entry, product & service development, customer experience design, and platform innovation. She has broad experience working in partnership with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and social enterprises on challenges in healthcare, finance, education, and housing & homelessness.

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