Note — Oct 18, 2020

Using Government IT to Teach and Build Public Infrastructure

The reliably smart and insightful Bianca Wylie on the potential and opportunities for governments (particularly cities) to reappropriate the direction and creation of technology. She reminds us that tech doesn’t have to be created for commercial purposes, there’s nothing in code that’s inherently capitalist, there’s space for collaboration with the public, as well as an “opportunity for governments to engage as both a funder and resource creator for digital literacy.”

Nothing about software code is inherently capitalist; code can be used as a civic material for non-commercial ends. It can also be open source and shareable when the conditions are right. And governments are perfectly situated to give public technology more oxygen and attention. […]

Technology offers a way to build out new spaces for collaboration and design. This moment could be used to evolve government technology work into something better funded and supported, including how unionized positions impact how government tech is created and maintained. […]

Newness of approach and organizational design is where there is more opportunity. This is about looking at maintenance with fresh eyes as well, including the options to retire programs, services, and even roles.