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Policy Innovation Series: Building a More Digital U.S. Government

  • HBH 1204 - Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA, 15213 United States (map)

How tech and innovation teams in the United States are changing the way we serve the American people.

In recent years, the U.S. federal government launched the U.S. Digital Service, 18F and the Presidential Innovation Fellows to increase tech and innovation talent across the 100 departments and agencies in our national government. These teams partner with civil servants and government leaders to improve service delivery for crucial government programs like access to health benefits for military veterans, education data showing graduation rates and pricing for our colleges and universities, and security of defense department websites. Now, U.S. states and cities are beginning to follow this model as they launch their own digital service efforts. Former Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Cori Zarek helped to stand up and support these national teams from 2013-2017 at the White House and is now working to support states, cities, and other government efforts to build digital service teams. She will tell us how the these teams have been stood up to support government digital transformation and share some early learnings five years into this work.

Cori Zarek works on technology and policy projects with a goal of helping governments better serve the public. She leads the principles and practices work for Code for America and is working on a technology and ethics project with the Mozilla Foundation. From 2013-2017 at the White House, Cori advised the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and led the team’s work to build a more digital, open, and collaborative government including helping to stand up and support the U.S. Digital Service, 18F and the Presidential Innovation Fellows. Cori also led the U.S. government’s development and implementation of commitments to the Open Government Partnership.

Previously, Cori was an attorney at the U.S. National Archives, and before that, at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press where she worked on free press, free expression, and freedom of information issues. She has consulted on civic tech, tech policy, press freedom and freedom of information issues with leaders in countries around the world and teaches First Amendment law as an adjunct professor. She is the President of the Board of Directors for Muckrock, a nonprofit, collaborative news site in the U.S. that promotes transparency for an informed democracy, and also serves on the Advisory Council for the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.

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