The U.S. Digital Service is a start-up within the White House that is “restoring the fabric of democracy.” They’re “disrupting how the government does business from the inside out.” Because when people’s interactions with government are difficult, complicated, and absurd, that’s what they think government is. A great website makes a big difference in how we see government – just remember the first version of the Obamacare site.
“We don’t care about politics,” Haley Van Dyck says. “We care about making government work better, because it’s the only one we’ve got.”
Her TEDTalk about how she is disrupting our federal government to create a more efficient and accessible government is amazing.
Two of their first projects are already making a big difference for Americans:
- Immigration used to be nearly entirely paper-based in six centers around the country, so applications to 6-8 months to process. They’ve tried to fix it before, but it was an expensive failure. But the U.S. Digital Service used techniques from private tech companies to break the problem into small, solvable chunks, and now people can renew green cards and study for their civics test online. It’s a big start.
- For veterans, U.S. Digital Service is building Vets.gov to centralize all veterans needs and services in one place. As they migrate services like education benefits and disability services over, the old websites across agencies will be shut down.
These are huge programs that millions of Americans access every year. And there are so many programs to come. With the U.S. Digital Service, Haley Van Dyck is ImagineGov’ing in a big way. How will you ImagineGov?