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We Must Run Government IT Like A Startup

Even if we agree with the way the government is being run, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who believes there is not a single flaw in the entire system. An article by Jonathan Feldman suggests that technology to improve people’s lives is about more than innovation. From a governmental standpoint, reworking older, unsuccessful systems may be the most important function of IT:

But making a difference in people’s lives through innovation isn’t just about technology; it’s also about throwing out flawed process models and adopting new ones. I agree with Carr, who wrote: “If you work in government, be prepared to lose control. If you don't go out and meet social media head-on, it will happen anyway, all around you.” Most government entities are simply publishing information; they're not engaging in discussions with constituents. It's not social if there's not a two-way exchange of information. Please don't tell me you're not resourced for it. That's like a private-sector business telling me it's not resourced to handle those annoyances called customers. Carr's assertion that government entities could lose control is just the tip of the iceberg.

Furthermore, the way government uses technology needs to change. Government has been historically slow with making changes, and part of the reason this is still the case might have to do with the way they use technology. Feldman suggests that the most effective method of updating would be to have government focus on “decentralized collaboration on shared goals.” In other words, government should follow the business plan of modern start-ups.

Classes on start-up culture are readily available, so there is little excuse for government not making an effort. By getting to the root of government action, smaller problems can be tweaked or fixed so that the larger problems begin to take care of themselves. Feldman also notes that government does not need to change all at once. Creating a small, step by step plan based on the success stories of private sector startups may be the best path to success and innovation.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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