‘Delivering on Digital’

Delivering on DigitalI finished Bill Eggers latest book, “Delivering on Digital: The Innovators and Technologies That Are Transforming Government,” and highly recommend to public sector technology practitioners, especially governments who don’t have the resources to contract with a high-end consulting firm to build out a holistic strategy on their own.

“Delivering on Digital” emphasizes concepts such as open source technologies, agile methodologies, open data, universal user identification/login and security (making the latter very accessible and required reading). There are a number of anecdotes that perhaps are most applicable to larger cities, states and national governments, but still helpful in providing context on how all of these have been effectively implemented.

The aspects “Delivering on Digital” touch on that I’m not convinced are effective are the approaches to engagement around crowdsourcing, contests and prizes. I’m more bullish on open source communities, as advocated by Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst in “The Open Organization.” Unfortunately, we’ve yet to see government effectively create community or build accessible collaborative environments, which is why I think it defaults to a push-style approach to engagement.

I also think we’ve run the gamut on using Code for America, 18F, U.S. Digital Service and the U.K.’s Government Digital Service as anecdotes and examples of success, especially since they’re very difficult to replicate at scale. Something the government technology community has yet to confront are areas where things haven’t worked so well and would be invaluable to share and learn from. Unfortunately, the nature of the industry doesn’t make it easy for an open discussion of this, and most likely compounded by the book being part of a (brilliant) content marketing strategy for Deloitte.

Having said this, Eggers and his colleagues are adding tremendous value by publishing a resource like “Delivering on Digital.” Even more brilliant and value-add and breaking with traditional publishing rules would be to issue this with a Creative Commons license, much like O’Reilly Media did with “Open Government.”

Accompanying “Delivering on Digital” is a compilation of digital government playbooks, (currently in images that would also be great to see converted into an open format similar to 18F’s guides).

Eggers, recently appointed as the executive director of Deloitte Center for Government Insights, has also authored “The Solution Revolution,” “If We Can Put a Man on the Moon,” “Governing by Network,” “The Public Innovator’s Playbook” and “Government 2.0.”

Buy “Delivering on Digital” on Amazon.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh. He is also co-founder and CEO of ProudCity. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at luke@govfresh.com.

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