Building the ‘Next Generation Democracy’

Next Generation Democracy: What the Open-Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and ChangeI’ve been meaning to post something about Next Generation Democracy: What the Open-Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change for a long time now, but just haven’t had the time. Before I pass it on to someone else, I wanted to share quick thoughts, because a book like this is important for the open government movement and makes the subject of how technology can change the way government works more accessible.

I highly recommend open government advocates and public servants, and anyone else interested in how open source and crowdsourcing can and are impacting government and democracy, read this. While it skews towards a focus on millennials and borrows a number of examples from the sustainability movement, which may not resonate with some, it gives great insight into real-world case studies of how technology is being leveraged to better connect government with citizens. Its narrative approach is a great companion to O’Reilly’s more deep-dive book Open Government (which I also highly recommend).

Buy it on Amazon or visit the book’s Website for more information.

Here’s an interview with author Jared Duval:

Luke Fretwell is the founder of the civic innovation and technology blog GovFresh. He advises civic leaders and businesses on how to best leverage digital strategies to create more effective, collaborative governments. He has written about government IT for Federal Computer Week, NextGov, FedScoop, StateScoop and FierceGovernment, and has been referenced by the Washington Post and Fast Company on civic technology issues. He has worked with a number of government-focused companies and media, including CivicActions, NuCivic and FedScoop and has been involved in broad-focused community efforts, such as GovPress, CityCamp, CivicMeet, Agile Government Leadership and Open Source for America. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Thank you

Every day I get to engage with entrepreneurs, public sector innovators and journalists on re-imagining and re-energizing how government works, what it means to be “civic,” and this year has been an incredible one for many friends and colleagues.

Funding government technology

I’m always inspired talking and working with entrepreneurs trying to solve big civic problems, especially those who realize much of the challenge lies within modernizing and empowering internal government operations, so it was great to finally meet with Govtech Fund Founder and Managing Partner Ron Bouganim this week.

Government and the ’empowered product owner’

The 18F Delivery team released a “Partnership Playbook” that aims to help federal agencies understand what to expect when working with 18F, and the gem within is play number two, “We work with an empowered product owner.”

Benchmarking for better government

Citizens simply glaze over when they are confronted by a sea of large numbers with many zeros. These figures need to be relatable to the person reading the data. Otherwise, open data is just more data that dies on the vine.

Why local government must go digital

The Welsh Government released a report of its findings on how local government in Wales can better leverage digital technologies and realize significant savings while still providing quality, scalable citizen services.

‘No ugly, old IT.’

“No ugly, old IT” jumped out at me when I first reviewed DataSF’s strategic plan, “Data in San Francisco: Meeting supply, spurring demand,” and it still sticks, mostly because someone inside government was so bold as to make this a priority and openly communicate it and also because this should be a mantra for everyone building civic technology.

Why is a big deal

Enabling internal government tech shops to quickly stand up applications in a secure testing environment is fundamental to quick prototyping, and 18F’s new is a major step in realizing ultimate IT flexibility.


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