Digital Service Collaborative

Start Date: November 2018

Portfolio: Data + Digital

Stage: Incubation

Summary + Problem Statement

Government services touch our lives daily in countless ways. In an effort to improve those interactions and increase public trust, governments around the world are working to reimagine how they provide services in a digital age. However, most governments are not equipped for this new way of working. The Digital Service Collaborative, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, is working to provide expert support on delivering better results for society at scale.

Early leaders in this work are already providing measurable outcomes, demonstrating cost savings and efficiencies.  There is little documentation of the approaches that work, however, and individuals seeking to connect and learn from one another don’t necessarily know how to find each other.

How can examples of what has worked — and what hasn’t — in government digital transformation be better captured and shared among a community of practitioners? And how can we increase channels for knowledge sharing and collaboration?

As government teams increasingly approach their missions in this new, service-delivery model, how can we support more adoption of digital service tools and approaches that put users at the forefront, and scale successful practices to increase impact and set the public up for participation in government with confidence that their rights and values are protected?

Project Elements

Solution/Idea

The Digital Service Collaborative is building a body of research around government digital services, creating tangible resources for practitioners, cultivating the community of digital service leaders in the public interest technology ecosystem to share and scale efforts, and exploring policy considerations including ethics and privacy. We are also supporting efforts in the public and private sectors to responsibly share and use data to address some of society’s most challenging issues and to support civic engagement with public institutions.

Implications

  • Connecting people. Whether part of the digital service movement from early days or just getting started in this work, we are bringing together people to learn from one another and work together across sectors including government, civil society, companies, and academia, and across all levels of government around the world.
  • Sharing information. Engaging with other initiatives and individuals operating in this space, we will identify ways to help people working on digital service efforts manage information overflow and access the information that is most useful to their work.
  • Providing resources. The Digital Service Collaborative will create resources including templates, guidance, and how-to resources for government professionals working on digital transformation and service delivery, and will work with others in the ecosystem to organize these resources in a central repository.
  • Impacting policy. We will explore key challenges or opportunities to scale digital service efforts from conceptual and strategic perspectives and publish white papers, research reports, policy papers, or case studies for policymakers and leaders in government.

Related Reports

Wisconsin state capitol building at night

Setting the Stage For Transformation: Frontline Reflections on Technology in American Government

Digital tools and strategies have a tremendous potential to transform government: improving services, boosting efficiency, and strengthening ties to the public. The last decade has seen several important milestones as data and technology have been leveraged to solve specific challenges across the vast scope of government in the United States. Despite the best efforts of technologists, visionaries, and institutional champions, the full potential of these tools has been slow to materialize at scale. This report aims to better understand why. It first looks at the potential of digital tools and how governments have approached their use, challenges governments have faced when leveraging data and technology, and how these dynamics play out across different policy areas and levels of government. To do so, the report explores the lessons and experiences of individuals working at the front lines of technology and innovation in the public sector. Desk research was complemented by structured interviews with more than 70 people leading or supporting the novel use of technology or data in federal, state, and local government in the United States. Researchers asked how these tools could best add value to government, what was obstructing their work, and what they needed to do their work better.

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How to Get Started in Public Interest Tech

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People on this project

Elaina Faust

Student Analyst, Data + Digital
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Hayley Pontia

Student Analyst, Data + Digital
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Alberto Rodriguez

Student Analyst
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Taylor Savell

Student Analyst, Data + Digital
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Cameron Smith

Student Analyst, Data + Digital
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Natalie Evans Harris

Fellow, Data + Digital
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Denice Ross

Fellow, Data + Digital
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Hollie Russon-Gilman

Fellow, Data + Digital
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Emily Tavoulareas

Fellow, Data + Digital
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Christopher Wilson

Fellow, Data + Digital
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Cori Zarek

Director of Data + Digital
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Vandhana Ravi

Program Associate, Data + Digital
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Sonal Shah

Founding Executive Director - Leave of Absence
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