Information Revolution in Government

Data Science, Design, Open Data
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The UK Government’s ground-breaking GOV.UK project started with a tool to capture and understand user data about user needs called need-o-tron. Need-o-tron was the heart of the project helping the team understand the vast landscape of what citizens might need of government, and focus in on the genuine, core needs that only government can serve. It was a useful tool in itself, but its true power was in the conversations it stimulated and the mental processes it hacked.

The child of need-o-tron is “the Performance Platform”, a suite of tools to understand the performance of government services, helping service managers and their teams understand the performance of their services and how they can be improved. That’s a huge step away from immensely detailed value stream maps about a call-centre and paper process (which might be an inherently 5-day long journey), to something that’s digital, lightweight, fast and pleasant to use. The Performance Platform will publish the existing (call-centre volume) data and capture new data about conversion funnels and our 4 core metrics about digital transactions. And it’ll make the vast majority of that data public.

Building tools for well over 600 government services isn’t something that can happen overnight and is never solely going to be a technical challenge. We’ll talk about the iterative approach underway to move from the world of need-o-tron to a world of truly data driven government services, and the huge cultural shift that’s involved in getting us there. Along the way we’ll explore techniques that can be applied in many large organisations, or anywhere that a little culture hacking is required.

Photo of James Stewart

James Stewart

James Stewart is an independent consultant helping senior leaders embed modern technology and security in their strategies and lead transformational change. Previously, James was a cofounder of the UK Government Digital Service and served as deputy CTO of the UK government, where he was instrumental in the UK government’s use the public cloud, embrace of open source, and changing approach to security, all with the goal of increasing government’s ability to focus on user needs. James speaks regularly around the world on organizational transformation, technology strategy, and cybersecurity.

Photo of James Abley

James Abley

Government Digital Service

Systems / Software Engineer / Web Ops guy. Working as a Technical Architect for the Government Digital Service transforming government services for the 21st century.


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