A bold call to reexamine how our government operates—and sometimes fails to—from President Obama’s former deputy chief technology officer and the founder of Code for America
Just when we most need our government to work—to decarbonize our infrastructure and economy, to help the vulnerable through a pandemic, to defend ourselves against global threats—it is faltering. Government at all levels has limped into the digital age, offering online services that can feel even more cumbersome than the paperwork that preceded them and widening the gap between the policy outcomes we intend and what we get.
But it’s not more money or more tech we need. Government is hamstrung by a rigid, industrial-era culture, in which elites dictate policy from on high, disconnected from and too often disdainful of the details of implementation. Lofty goals morph unrecognizably as they cascade through a complex hierarchy. But there is an approach taking hold that keeps pace with today’s world and reclaims government for the people it is supposed to serve. Jennifer Pahlka shows why we must stop trying to move the government we have today onto new technology and instead consider what it would mean to truly recode American government.
Learn more about Jennifer Pahlka's book, Recoding America.
From time to time, we run Book Clubs to discuss the latest in digital transformation and public sector innovation with fellow leaders and noted experts. Each session is a candid online conversation, in which we cover a brief synopsis of a book and its key ideas, followed by an open peer discussion with the author.