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.