Delivering on Digital in Government
When it comes to adopting and implementing technology, how can government agencies avoid missing the mark? It takes careful planning and, according to William Eggers, author of “Delivering on Digital,” and remembering the three Ds, or 3D, of technology: data, digital, and design.
Organizations have the opportunity to gather data in a multitude of digital ways, such as social feedback, location-based services, surveillance, and more. Keeping in mind a user-friendly design is also part of the equation. When these three things are combined, they make for a fully engaged and successful user experience.
So what does it look like when a government organization fails to “think in 3D?” A good example of this is the somewhat disastrous launch of healthcare.gov back in 2013. It caused the President of the United States to “look under the hood” and examine how websites work rather than waiting for a congressional panel to investigate the failure. From this, former President Barack Obama learned that the way that government organizations handle IT procurement is not as efficient as it could be, and sought to change it.
So in what ways can government combine the three building blocks of technology to minimize costs and make their jobs easier?
Preventing Fraud and Noncompliance:
When it comes to certain government programs, “false positives” can cost more money than necessary. Unemployment benefits can end up being misused when those who are reliant on them misrepresent their income, or reasons why they are unemployed to begin with. Positive reinforcement can be useful in these circumstances. By making subtle changes to the user’s digital experience when filling out their paperwork, and with the use of A/B testing, certain agencies have been able to drastically reduce the number of fraudulent claims and overpayment of benefits within just a few months.
Improving Services for Citizens:
In Canada, enrollment in the Old Age Security (OAS) program was only at 50 percent. In order to make it easy for the remaining 50 percent to also enroll, the agency in charge gathered a team of researchers to find out what was stopping them. Using a combination of MRI machines and “cutting-edge analytics,” they were able to determine what parts of the signup webpage were difficult to use, and change them to a more user-friendly design.
By utilizing newly available artificial intelligence (AI) technology, public sector organizations have been able to make improvements in various ways. For example, machine learning has been used to analyze large datasets to help predict future events. Speech recognition software can help assist with translations and phone assistance.
Delivering on digital is truly a process, according to Eggers. The best agencies fully integrate the use of digital, design and data to truly be successful. For more information on Egger’s presentation at this year’s Digital Engagement Summit, see the recent coverage in NextGov.