Practice Makes Perfect | The 4A’s Strategy Festival Workshop: Code for America
Today at the 4A’s Annual Strategy Festival, nine teams of advertising executives and planners presented strategy to build awareness for Code for America, a non-for-profit dedicated to increasing government service effectiveness and community awareness via technology. Participants were briefed on October 25 and challenged to answer the following questions:
- How can we get citizens to value the work that local government does, while pushing it to do even better?
- How do we get citizens to see themselves as the hands, as well as the voices, that make their local governments and communities work?
- What would society look like if we felt about government the way we feel about our iPhones?
The judging panel, selected by Code For America, included Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media; Beth Noveck, former Deputy CTO of the United States; Anne Milgram, former Attorney General of New Jersey; Kevin Slavin, founder of Area/Code; Tim Dierks, former Google engineering lead; and Owen Washburn, Brookings Institution.
An overarching theme that emerged from the event was a lack of community knowledge about government services and the disconnect between local governments and individuals.
Here are some examples:
- Team 4: Sought to enable “city-fication” – a two-way rating system for community and government to interact, report and score service and contributions to the community – empowering “individual moaners to create a platform for social change.”
- Team 5: Recommended that government pair their functional services with individuals’ passions like running, their pets and more via a challenge hosted on a website with a clever title like “guvluv.org.”
- Team 6: Presented “The Hero Next Door” in which the community sees their government employees as “real people.” For example the “librarian” she reads to your kids or the “police officer” the one that keeps your family safe.
The judges declared Team 6 as the winner. Overall the Code for America workshop was an impressive and thought-provoking exercise that allowed participants to activate on the themes and strategies discussed at the conference.