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Civic Technology on the Front Lines

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Talk given at the National Association of Government Web Professionals about civic technology on the front lines.

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Civic Technology on the Front Lines

  1. 1. Civic Technology on the Front Lines Christopher Whitaker @CivicWhitaker
  2. 2. @CivicWhitaker Civic Technologist Project Manager Consultant @SmartChicago Midwest Brigade Coordinator @CodeforAmerica Former Field Office Supervisor at the Illinois Department of Employment Security Masters of Public Administration @DePaulU BA Political Science @SamHoustonState 11B @USArmy
  3. 3. How I got Involved
  4. 4. The “Legacy” System Runs on DOS Mainframe system – One screen fails, they ALL FAIL Not run in real time Paper reports From 1975 – Before Apple Computer, The Space Shuttle, before Saddam took power in Iraq, and before AOL Put it this way:
  5. 5. Worst recession since the Depression and our system was surprised to learn who Luke’s father was… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  6. 6. Meanwhile…
  7. 7. You give me a paper…  I stamp it, copy it, give you the copy  Scan it into system as TIF file  Tell system what it is and whose it is  System puts it in file  Adjudicator pulls it up  Takes questionnaire and enters it into text box  You employer’s HR company generates a letter through it’s system, prints it  I get then your employer’s paper via FAX stamp it  Scan it into system as TIF file  Tell system what it is and whose it is  System puts it in file  Adjudicator pulls it up  Takes questionnaire and enters it into text box  Adjudicator decides your unemployment claim  System generates letter in PDF, mails it to you and your employer  Employer sends their appeal via FAX generated by their computer system.  Fax machine breaks due to overuse
  8. 8. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !
  9. 9. But it is true...and it not uncommon CGI Federal’s epic failure to launch Healthcare.gov California fired & *sued* SAP after MyCalPays failure Massachusetts fired & *sued* Deloitte after unemployment system disaster A system glitch by an Accenture-built platform caused food stamp payment delays for thousands of North Carolina residents
  10. 10. Meanwhile…you have these people…
  11. 11. And these people…
  12. 12. And don’t forget this team…
  13. 13. What’s the difference? An ECOSYSTEM built for Civic Innovation City of Chicago seeing DATA AS FUEL An active and ENGAGED civic technology community Real SIGNIFICANT investments by local foundations
  14. 14. A community that fights for the users
  15. 15. The CUTgroup
  16. 16. Collaboration
  17. 17. The Civic Works Project A Knight Foundation / Chicago Community Trust Grant that will:  Build five civic apps focused on non-profit issues  Build five civic apps focused on government issues  Write 200 Content Pieces  Run the Illinois OpenTech Challenge  We’ve just received an extension and will be running this for a second year.
  18. 18. Get involved! To get involved with Code for America Brigade Codeforamerica.org/brig ade To get involved with the Code for America Peer Network Codeforamerica.org/abo ut/peernetwork To get more information about Smart Chicago Smartchicagocollaborative.org
  19. 19. Questions? @civicwhitaker christopher@civicwhitaker.com

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