Ainsley Wagoner: Why I’m Coding for America

I’m Coding for America because I believe in complex problem solving. I believe in design thinking. I believe in incorporating user feedback, research, and rapid prototyping into important decision making processes as a way to bring about real improvement. Not just change for the sake of change– an improved and sustainable model for meeting the challenges on a civic, state, and national level.

I’m Coding for America because I think the government is in danger of alienating its citizens if it doesn’t look for new ways to distribute the information which it is so good at collecting. I’m Coding for America because I believe government employees fundamentally want to serve and make a difference, and that citizens want to believe, trust, and be proud of their government. We want our cities, states, and our country to be efficient and good and intelligent. We want to have civic, state, and national pride.

Unfortunately this is not the trend. Frustration with the federal government and both political parties abound. But unlike the typical bipartisan way of solving problems, it’s not a matter of throwing out the old way in favor of a new way (or one side’s in favor the other). It’s not about one side winning. It’s not black and white. It’s about the right combination of knowledge from citizens being incorporated into the decision-making process of those in office. It’s about everyone playing to their strengths. It’s about working together. It’s about complex problem solving.

I would like my government to treat me as a test user. I want my reactions, opinions, problems, and particular expertise to be taken into consideration when a solution is developed that might make my city/state/country better. I’m Coding for America because I believe in design thinking, I believe in feedback loops, I believe in the Internet, and I believe in America.

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