Can Congress Work Like A Tech Startup?

from the as-long-as-they-don't-drop-vowels dept

We've discussed a few times in the past Rep. Darryl Issa's Madison platform for crowdsourcing ideas around legislation. Over the last few months he's used it to create a productive discussion around the OPEN Act, the more reasonable alternative to SOPA/PIPA, and also used it to post the text of ACTA for discussion. While the platform may need some tweaking and advancement, it's still quite a feat to see someone in Congress actually innovating, and that should be encouraged. Joshua Lamel -- who admits that he's politically at the other end of the spectrum from Rep. Issa -- has a really nice profile of how Issa is trying to treat his job in the House like a "lean startup," with projects like Madison. It is a bit of a slog going up against the entrenched ways that Congress acts today, however:
"I try to bring a lean startup mentality to my work making government more efficient, open and participatory," he said.

"This technology-centered approach, however, is disruptive to the government bureaucracy and many in Congress because it demands experimentation, data-driven analysis and actually listening to our users -- the American people -- about how to make government work better for them. That's why social media and innovation are so central to my work: we in Congress do not have all the answers, but we can have a relentless drive to adapt technology to let taxpayers re-engage with government on their own terms. I firmly believe that just as new technologies are revolutionizing nearly every aspect of life in America, nascent tools like Madison show the transformative impact technology will have on government, and ultimately overcome the inertia of the bureaucracy."
While not a traditional industry, it sure seems like Congress could use some significant disruption -- and having people in there treating it like a startup might just be a good way to start.

Filed Under: acta, congress, crowdsourcing, darryl issa, madison platform, open act, pipa, sopa, startups


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2012 @ 7:00pm

    We can change things by changing the field.

    Don't play in congress, play it in the streets, in the open.

    The same tools people use to write open source code can be used to write any code and that means laws.

    But that is not enough, politicians are only part of the problem, they are not experts in every field and so they rely on others expertise those others are the positions that people with power target and they put their people in there, that is what the revolving door is for, we also need to map the political landscape to see what is happening.

    Politicians in a sense are just distractions, the real people formulating the policies are hidden is time to shine light on those people and open discussion and mapping are key to that effort.

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