18F has developed a framework for how it helps agencies with digital transformation efforts and has created a deck, “Transforming U.S. government services in a digital world,” that offers a blueprint for others looking to do this on their own.
18F’s Chris Cairns shares more about the work around this effort.
What’s the background on this service and how did it come about?
The founders of 18F, including myself, believed we could further advance an agency’s digital transformation effort by embedding technology consultants inside their organization. By shipping a cross-functional team, we could help them foster the right conditions for changing their culture around technology, particularly with regards to how they acquire and leverage it.
Several conditions had to be in place for 18F to emerge and work the way we do. GSA was an ideal incubator for 18F and our approach to transforming government technology. GSA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer worked with us to make it easy to work collaboratively and virtually — an important element since much of our team is distributed across the country. GSA’s central office gave us an ideal work environment with open-space facilities and modern technology. Most importantly, we had the backing and support of “enlightened leadership,” who ultimately empowered us.
From our experience, it’s the critical foundational pieces that will help agencies unleash the benefits of fast, agile, human-centered teams and succeed in adopting modern management and digital delivery practices. It’s a lot of plumbing work and we’re here to help. We’re bringing government-wide learning, talent, tools, and culture to build and sustain digital capacity inside agencies.
Who’s using the service now and how are those engagements going?
The service is primarily targeted at Chief Information Officer (CIO) organizations. CIOs are one of the most critical actors in an agency’s journey toward becoming a digital-first organization. An agency is digital first when it habitually makes appropriate use of modern practices and digital technologies to deliver services that are easy, delightful, and secure to use.
We started experimenting with many of the elements of this service nearly two years ago with agencies such as TSA and DOL. We pivoted what we learned from those engagements into a comprehensive transformation solution framework, which is what this slide deck represents. After receiving positive and enthusiastic feedback from over 10 technology executives, we have begun piloting the service with a few CIO organizations.
18F cannot drive an agency’s digital transformation. Ultimately, that responsibility falls on the agencies and their industry partners. Our aim is to help kickstart that process and support them along the way through a comprehensive digital transformation framework.
What are your plans for the future of this?
True to the agile spirit of 18F, we’re going to focus on delivering value to our initial pilot clients and then taking what we learn to make the necessary adjustments. The digitization of government services is inevitable and with the right guidance and tools, federal agencies can more effectively serve their users, the American people. The future of government services is filled with potential and we look forward to working with industry and our partners at the federal and local level to make these ambitions a reality.