Advancing National Service

Watch: Building a Better Government for the 21st Century

March 18, 2015
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Watch: Building a Better Government for the 21st Century
Video Q&A with Code for America. NationSwell
Watch our Google Hangout On Air with Code for America.

Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America, a non-partisan group that works to bridge the gap between public and private usage of technology, looks at government as a platform in need of a relaunch.

At SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, Pahlka held a session called “How Government Fails and How You Can Fix It.” She and Mikey Dickerson, who left Google to save the day at the White House, explained, for example, how the U.S. Digital Service changed millions of lives by addressing the problems that plagued the Healthcare.gov launch.

Code for America “believes government can work for the people, by the people in the 21st century.” Through its fellowship — a service year model — the nonprofit organization places designers and developers within local governments to apply their problem solving and app building skills to make government work.

The group brought its message on why government must become competent, or even excellent, at digital to SXSW, with Code for America designers leading a separate SXSW session on urban planning tools.

Pahlka, a former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, recently left the beltway and returned to the Bay Area, where she is working to figure out what is next for this “Peace Corps for geeks.” SXSW provided a preview of what’s to come, but to learn more, watch our Google Hangout on Air to continue the conversation with Code for America. This is part of a series of live interviews featuring service opportunities — a way to raise awareness to the mission of the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, which is to mobilize a million young people to serve.

The video interview features Molly McLeod, who describes herself as a graphic designer and civic hacker who saves “good causes from bad design,” Alex Soble, who led digital projects at Chicago Public Schools before working with the city of Somerville, Mass., on education, and Nicole Neditch, Code for America fellowship director.

Tune in by watching the video above then click the Take Action button to learn how you can join NationSwell and The Franklin Project to spread the word on service year opportunities.

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