IT | Båda Barack Obamas presidentvalskampanjer utmärktes av ett maximalt utnyttjande av de teknologiska landvinningarna kring sociala medier.
Nu vill presidenten gå vidare och göra samma sak på den federala nivån. Nu skall myndigheterna bli mer tillgängliga för medborgarna.
Att det hela inte gått helt smärtfritt visade problemen vid lanseringen av Healthcare.gov. Det gäller nu att undvika tidigare misstag.
Fast Company har beskrivit det pågående arbetet i artikel ”Inside Obama’s Stealth Startup”. Till hjälp har han en lång rad personer rekryterade från bl.a. Google och Facebook.
Samtidigt med artikel intervjuades Obama av tidskriftens editor-in-chief Robert Saflan.
You know, the federal government is full of really smart people, with a lot of integrity, who work really hard and do some incredible stuff. And it’s on par with the private sector on all those measures. But technology [has been] terrible. And for me, given that our campaigns both in 2008 and 2012 were built on being at the very cutting edge of social media and technology and empowering people and speed and nimbleness, to see how lumbering this thing was, that was pretty distressing.
So I started working fairly quickly to say, This wasn’t good enough, how do we make it better? We started putting more emphasis on technology and IT in each department. But I’ll be honest with you. With all the crises we were dealing with—the economy collapsing, the auto industry on the verge of collapse, winding down wars—this did not get the kind of laser-focused attention until Healthcare.gov, which was a well-documented disaster, but ended up anyways being the catalyst for us saying, ”Okay, we have to completely revamp how we do things.” The results there were so outstanding, and because we discovered that there are folks at Google and Facebook and Twitter and all these amazing firms who really wanted to find some way to engage in public service—and many of them could afford to do so because they had done very well . . .
So the stakes here are making the government more competent, more efficient, more impactful?
Absolutely. Well, look, here’s what we know historically: That societies where there is no effective functioning government don’t do very well. Societies where government is all-consuming and quashes the private sector, they don’t do very well either. What you want is a partnership between a robust market-based system where people are innovating, and it’s dynamic, and things are moving fast, but you also want a government that makes sure roads are built and schools are teaching the next generation what they need to know and are willing to invest in things like basic research that serve as the foundation for private sector success and discovery . . . and has enough basic rules of the road so they aren’t spilling a bunch of sludge into the water, and the air is breathable. And, you know, our private sector thrives because we historically have had a very effective government. Now, over the last several years that has become more ossified and stuck. And it hasn’t kept pace with changes in technology. And part of what we’re doing here is to yank government—upgrade it, patch it, and ultimately transform it so that it is responsive and can interface with this new private sector in a much more effective way.
Arguably the next killer app for tech would be online voting. That’s a state and local issue, but I wondered whether you think that it’s something that should be a priority for technologists?
Absolutely. So we’ve been talking about the U.S. digital team, and a lot of this is: How do we deliver services better to customers? But there are other aspects of this process that we are trying to develop. We want technology to help shape policy. Think about our big data projects. We know that in the same way that the National Weather Service or the development of GPS and satellites created entire new ways that people organized their lives, that in health care, for example, there are going to be transformations taking place because of the ability to collect and analyze data and then transmit it in very individualized fashion to people.
And so in our policy making, we’re trying to make sure that insights and knowledge coming out of tech are informing how we think about regulations, how we think about opportunities to solve big challenges. But there is a third part of this. And that is: How do people engage and relate to their government? You know, our constitutional design is remarkable; it has lasted for many years. But it’s no secret that many people feel alienated and distant from government. And I think the opportunities for us to think about how tech can empower citizens and make them feel ownership for their government is really important.
Tidskriftsomslag: Fast Company, juli-augusti 2015.