The US elections and Brexit showed that many citizens voted in reaction to feeling that their government had failed them. There is a big gap of mistrust between citizens and government, and it gets wider as the private sector rapidly innovates while public services continue to be painful to interact with.
In the US, 94% of large government IT projects that cost more than $10 million are either delivered late, or delivered over budget, or just don’t work. And most of them affect those people who have much more urgent needs and a lot less of a voice than we do. Most of us are lucky that we don’t have to deal with social services, but for people who are poor, who have been in and out of the criminal justice system, whose kids are in public school, who are trying to apply for food stamps, who have to change three buses to get to work, government doesn’t work for them — even more than we think it doesn’t work for us.
Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s critical for us to get involved, improve government services, and bridge the widening gulf between citizens and government. Civic technology is a relatively new field, but it needs you! Don’t languish your tremendous skills on yet another calendar app. Instead, learn how you can wield your existing skills for powerful social impact and create products for your fellow citizens.
Founder & ED, Code for Pakistan. | Sr UX Strategist, Exygy. | Fomerly at Yahoo! and Code for America. | I create technology and programs for better citizen experiences.