The innovation fellowship is fundamentally different from the traditional “contractor” relationship. The fellowship enlists passionate technologists and entrepreneurs from outside government to work alongside experts within the civil service. They work to deeply understand the technology and service context and jointly brainstorm solutions, all while sharing knowledge and invigorating latent internal government innovators to explore problems and create novel solutions.
Around the world, forward-thinking governments are using the power of the Internet to change the way they engage with citizens. This civic technology is enabling new approaches to delivering public services and creating new ways to serve citizens better.
Embracing lean principles centred around citizen engagement allows partners to explore new approaches to problems, while understanding what works and doesn’t work early in the development process. Instead of committing large amounts of time and code, creating extensive paperwork, with limited local engagement, this approach saves time and costs through learning-by-doing.
The software built during the fellowship is engineered for re-use and scaling across and within governments. All software is licensed and built with replication, easy modification and adaptation in mind. The goal is to enable government investments in technology to benefit from network effects, as solutions built by one government agency can more easily be deployed by another. Improvements funded by one can benefit all who are using the tool.
Open government and open data are revolutionary. They allow states to become digital platforms for facilitating innovation both inside and outside of the civil service. By opening up data, building public APIs, and engaging with citizens, government service delivery creates network effects by leveraging the ideas, resources and skill sets of innovators and partners outside of government.