4 Ways to Build Better Tech in Government

All of us engage with technology on a day-to-day basis. Whether you are responsible for IT operations or a budget analyst who faces daily struggles with antiquated software, we have all experienced the frustration of technology not working the way that it should. So how can you take take the lead in bringing new technology solutions to your organization?

Tedi Konda, Executive Director of Technology at Unison and an instructor with General Assembly, knows how and shared the four key steps necessary to developing new technology solutions in his session.

The steps detailed below give us all a way to frame new technology issues and develop possible  solutions. Of course the process of creating and/or tweaking technology products  is complex so involving experts,  be it your internal IT department or an outside firm you bring into consult, is always advisable. However, these steps can serve as a road map of what need to be done to bring new technology solutions to your organization, even for the less tech savvy among us.

  • Define the problem: Gathering the right information and clearly understanding the problem that needs to be solved is an important first step, one that many people skip in favor of jumping to a solution. Start by looking around at similar teams or organizations that have faced similar challenges and make note of the solutions they are now using.   Equally, as important is taking the time view the issue from a variety of different organizational perspectives. Imagine your boss, your coworker, your point of contact in a different department, anyone who this technology solution may touch. Then work view the problem from the perspective of each user and note the different challenges that become apparent and can be considered in your solution.
  • Create a wire-frame of the solution: This involves determining how the “insides” or operations of a program or solution will work. An important step for the IT professionals to be heavily involved.
  • Design the user interface: This involves how will people interact with your proposed solution. Refer back to the information you surfaced in your research when viewing the problem from a variety of perspectives when determining how users will engage with the technology.
  • Build it: Finally, after engaging in all of work involved in the first three steps you can implement the proposed technology system. And if you did the first three steps well, not only will you have a great solution, you’ll have a great solution that people will actually use.

These steps should help yield a promising result, a solution that not only works well but that people actually use. But the work doesn’t stop here. Technology is every changing so it is also important to build in ongoing evaluation of the solution to ensure it’s long-term success. To this end, think of the work of bringing technology solutions to life as an iterative process, where those responsible should constantly “measure, tweak and repeat” the technology’s design to ensure it’s effectiveness.

Additionally, while these steps are specifically geared towards the development of technology products, the process can have broader application. Ultimately, this process encourages teamwork, empathy and collaboration across organizations. Much like “Design Thinking’s” leap from the design industries to find ever-increasing acceptance as an effective problem solving approach in the public and private sectors, learning more about this process may improve more than the way that you tackle technology problems. It may improve the way you tackle problems and determine strategies in your organization.

From July 20th – 21st we’ll be blogging from GovLoop and YGL’s Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Follow along @NextGenGov and read more blog posts here.

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