Building Capacity, Credibility and Community Through the Digital Service Collaborative

September 5, 2019 | Cori Zarek

Classes may slow down here at Georgetown over the summer, but our work at the Center never stops. Our summer cohort of student analysts spent their time researching a number of topics vital to the future of the Data + Digital portfolio:

  • Identifying innovative digital service successes in Latin America that could be good models for services in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world
  • Sharpening their skills in human-centered design to teach those methods to other student analysts and use that approach to improve upon Beeck Center programs
  • Exploring pathways into the civic technology and digital government field for young designers and developers 

Read more about our students’ June and July activities.

As we move into the fall, the Digital Service Collaborative, a project in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, is launching several projects that will scale proven solutions that governments have adopted to more efficiently and effectively serve the public. 

For example, we are supporting a Foster Care Working Group jointly with New America and Foster America that is scaling a new, faster process to help eligible families get licensed for foster care — taking a proven solution from Rhode Island and expanding to eight more states with an implementation playbook for the next wave of states. 

We will also launch a working group to pioneer new approaches to policy making to apply human-centered, agile methods to develop government policy. By focusing on what the public needs, governments can draft policies to more directly deliver better outcomes for the people they serve. Additionally, we are scouting for states beginning to implement digital service practices where we can pair a researcher to document their challenges and successes in real time so we can better learn from them as a community of practice as more and more government teams begin to focus on service delivery approaches.

Finally, we are also exploring ways to professionalize this nascent but growing government digital service delivery field. As these roles become more standard in governments, we can identify job description templates that can be shared across all levels of government and amplify recruitment and hiring models underway by colleagues like the Tech Talent Project. We are also working with practitioners to identify training and skills building opportunities for government leaders so they can keep their skills sharp while on the job and don’t necessarily have to cycle back into the private sector for training.

Get Involved

We are launching a new academic series on the principles of responsible data use and digital service delivery for the Georgetown community. Our Data, Digital + Social Impact seminars will feature data experts from the public and private sectors and leaders in digital services and technology lecturing on related topics and opening the conversation to the group. This roundtable approach will give participants an opportunity to learn from these experts and also engage in a dialogue in a small group setting — and, we’re buying dinner. The seminars are open to anyone in the Georgetown community and registration is now open for the first session on Sept. 24. Future sessions will be shared in the Beeck newsletter, on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Data, Digital + Social Impact Seminar | September 24 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | (Future Sessions: October 8, October 22, November 5, November 19) 


If you’re working on government service delivery as part of a government team, civil society, industry, academia, or elsewhere, and you want to collaborate with us — and each other — please reach out and let us know what you’re working on: or @BeeckCenter.