Photo: USAID Afghanistan

How government can enable peace through entrepreneurship

In “Peace Through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development,” former State Department staffer Steven Koltai makes the case that world peace can best be achieved through nonmilitary means, especially entrepreneurship that leads to global job creation.

Government Issue: Comics for the People, 1940s-2000s

Government comics

For public communications and engagement enthusiasts, Government Issue is a great coffee table book and perhaps point of inspiration for government leaders to re-think how to better communicate with constituents.

Photo: ResistFromDay1

‘You’re More Powerful Than You Think’

Whether you’re an agitated activist frustrated with the current state of politics, a civic hacker, government technology entrepreneur or public servant trying change the foundations of democracy from inside or out, “You’re More Powerful Than You Think” is an accessible guide for helping us all rethink what it means to have power and how to obtain it.

Photo: U.S. Marine Corps

‘Smarter Faster Better’ government

I finished reading Charles Duhigg’s latest book, “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business,” and in it are two great government-related anecdotes around motivation and agile thinking.

Delivering on Digital

‘Delivering on Digital’

I 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.

Start-Up City

How to be a ‘Start-Up City’

Former Chicago and District of Columbia transportation head Gabe Klein highlights eight lessons leaders should follow when building innovative approaches to better cities in his book “Start-Up City.”

Originals

Government ‘Originals’

Grant cites two government originals, Central Intelligence Agency analyst Carmen Medina and U.S. Navy lieutenant Josh Steinman, who both worked to change traditional thinking within two large bureaucracies.

President Barack Obama, left, Air Force Col. Lee Rosen, Commander, 45th Launch Group, center, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk talk with Dr. John P. Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology during a tour of the commercial rocket processing facility of Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

Elon Musk as government innovator

After reading Ashlee Vance’s new Elon Musk biography, I find myself wondering whether we should really worry about bad government websites, and instead chalk them up as inspiration for those who will change the world.

7 books for better digital government

7 books for better digital government

Continuing on my book cleaning spree, I wanted to highlight a few web product design and development books I’m getting rid of that are helpful for anyone focused on providing government digital services.

12 books for better government

12 books for better government

I’m doing some spring cleaning and parting ways with a number of my beloved government-focused books. Before I do, I wanted to share the ones I’m letting go of that I highly recommend to those involved in re-thinking the way government works, and its changing role given the way the world is evolving.

The Foundation for an Open Source City

Open source all the cities

Finally finished reading Jason Hibbets’ “The Foundation for an Open Source City,” a must-read for anyone interested in building a strong civic community, whether you’re an elected official, public servant or citizen.

The Foundation for an Open Source City

Help crowdfund this open source city book

Jason Hibbetts is a great guy and a true leader in the open government community, and he is asking for your support in helping fund the first 500 copies of his upcoming book, “The Foundation for an Open Source City.”

Building civic ‘Startup Communities’

I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of a more structured approach to community with respect to the civic technology movement, which is why I picked up Brad Feld’s ‘Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City.’

Leveraging Social Media for Change

Stephen Goldsmith’s new book, The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good, written with Gigi Georges and Tim Glynn Burke, offers tools for innovative government and nonprofit professionals to develop and scale their new solutions to public problems. The book is based on Goldsmith’s experience as chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service for nine years under Presidents Bush and Obama, mayor of Indianapolis, and Professor of Government at Harvard Kennedy School. Relying also on interviews with more than 100 top leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, The Power of Social Innovation features illustrative case studies of civic leaders and entrepreneurs and the catalyzing role each plays in transforming a community’s social service delivery systems. The excerpt below—taken from Chapter 5 “Animating and Trusting the Citizen”—highlights innovative ways that private citizens, nonprofits and government officials are using digital media to “crowd source” or otherwise engage their communities in decision making and actual participation in solving their shared challenges.

Engineering Good Government

Looking back over the history of the United States, it is not just remarkable to see how 13 former colonies of the British Empire could come together to form what became the longest continuously functioning government in recorded history, but it is also incredible that such a durable government was set up as a republic. Until the United States, history records few examples of even moderately successful republics, and even those moderate successes were aided by factors external to the specific system of government employed. How, then, did the framers of the U.S. Constitution succeed in creating a republican-style government where so many had failed?

A Peace Corps for Programmers

The federal government should fire me. Like the thousands of other contractors who develop software for government agencies, I am slow, overpaid, and out of touch with the needs of my customers. And I’m keeping the government from innovating.

In recent years, the government has become almost completely dependent upon contractors for information technology (IT). So deep is this dependency that the government has found itself in a position that may shock those in the tech industry: it has no programmers of its own; code is almost entirely outsourced. Government leaders clearly consider IT an ancillary function that can be offloaded for someone else to worry about.

Download two free preview chapters of new ‘Open Government’ book from O’Reilly Media

Two preview chapters from Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice are available for download. The book, available January 2010 from O’Reilly Media, is a “collection of essays, interviews, and case studies provides a multi-faceted and nonpartisan account of government as it becomes more transparent, collaborative, and participatory.”

Preview chapters include ‘Disrupting Washington’s Golden Rule’ by Ellen S. Miller and ‘Visualizing Policy and Politicians’ by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg.