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Rewiring Government

The Department of Better Technology helps governments deliver great digital services to the people who depend on them.

Becca Moore

Posts by Becca Moore


Spotlight: The best journalism in 2017 (so far)

In a time of falling trust, the best newsrooms are focusing on audience engagement, listening to readers, and finding stories that resonate widely.

We’re proud to have award-winning newsrooms on our platform, and we’d love to share a few of their projects with you.

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Winter 2017 Roundup: The best innovation projects

We love to brag about our customers, especially when they’re using Screendoor to tackle important problems and advance their organizations with innovative ideas.

Bureaucracy and innovation can seem mutually exclusive, but our customers are proving that they’re not resistant to change—in fact, they’re actively seeking it.

The projects below are a sampling of their best ideas, including accelerators and innovation challenges. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place.

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Your innovation challenge needs an intake and evaluation solution

Managing an innovation challenge is hard.

You’re juggling confused applicants, a slew of expert reviewers, and endless email threads, all while trying to identify the best possible submissions to your challenge. (You know, the ones that are going to change the world!)

Of course, you’re great at this, but wouldn’t you like to breathe a little easier during application and selection season? If so, you need an intake and evaluation system that will take care of the little things so that you can focus on your program.

Sound useful? Read on.

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Announcing Screendoor for Government

Today, we’re excited to unveil the new Screendoor for Government!

Yes, we’ve always served government, but with Screendoor for Government, we’re doubling down on our commitment to the groups that Screendoor was created to serve—cities, states, and federal agencies.

This means outlining our vision for modern and sustainable digital services, which you can see reflected in the newly designed product page and in our recently published white paper, A Vision for Paperless Government.

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GovTech 100: Department of Better Technology makes the list for 2017

For the second year running, we’ve been named as a GovTech 100 Company. This list recognizes the companies that are building technology for government as a primary customer, not an afterthought.

We’re extremely honored to be recognized, and even more proud to serve the public sector alongside the other brilliant companies on this list.

You can read GovTech’s full announcement here or view the full list here.

P.S. We made our own list of personal favorites in the industry. (Don’t miss Part 2!)

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White Paper: The future of digital government and paperless forms

We’re about to publish our first white paper.

In it, we outline our vision for the future of government, led by the complete digitization of forms and the business processes behind them.

With this white paper, we’re providing a roadmap for success and a long checklist of vital features so that anyone in the public sector can make the transition to paperless forms.

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Welcome, Victor!

We’re excited to announce another addition to our team: the talented Victor Lymar.

Victor joins us from Scribd, where he worked as a backend engineer on one of the web’s largest Rails apps in production. Before that, he studied Computer Science and Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley and graduated in 2014.

Recently, he and Adam also became lead belay certified, another stop in their quest to convert the Department of Better Technology into a rock climbing team.

Welcome to the team, Victor!

victor's headshot

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New Screendoor Feature: Say hello (or hola) to multi language forms

Today, we’re excited to officially unveil a tool we’ve had in beta for a while: multi language forms!

Great government digital services are easily accessible by default, and one big component of accessibility is ensuring users can access content in their primary language. As part of our work with the Government of Switzerland, we developed a simple way to translate your Screendoor forms into Spanish, French, Italian, or German.

Usually, we launch a feature with a simple blog post and a walkthrough, but we’d also like to let you see how one of our customers put it to use.

Want to learn how the Los Angeles Times used a translated Screendoor form to crowdsource stories for one of the coolest pieces of journalism this year? Read on for the details, along with a walkthrough video so that you can start translating your own forms today.

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Screendoor Update: Send a response to external collaborators

We think about forms all the time, since they’re what Screendoor is built upon.

Forms are the lifeblood of nearly every bureaucratic process because they make it easier to capture the correct information in the correct format, and then distribute that information to all interested parties. Often, these interested parties are from multiple offices, agencies, programs, and departments, which can make communication difficult and tedious.

We make it easy for Screendoor users to collect, review, and approve responses. But to date, it’s been harder to collaborate with colleagues who aren’t using Screendoor. Sure, you could send them an exported PDF or an Excel workbook, but those require an extra step and an extra email. That’s not exactly aligned with the goal of simplifying and automating business processes.

So, after tons of feedback from current and prospective customers, we’re working on some Screendoor updates to make it easier to make the move from your paper or PDF-based business process to an online workflow.

Our first update is a way to make working with your forms, both online and offline, a bit easier. Plus, we’ve given our PDF exports a little facelift.

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Our favorite GovTech companies (Part 2)

Last week, we shared five of our favorite GovTech companies, but, to be fair, that list wasn’t exactly comprehensive.

This week, we’re going to brag about five more companies doing great work in this industry. As an added bonus, ELGL also recognized all of them in their ELGL Choice Awards. (That’s how you know we have good taste!)

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Our favorite GovTech companies (Part 1)

We share success stories from our customers pretty often, but once in a while, we like to highlight the work of other companies in the GovTech space.

We’ve been in this business for a while, and we can testify that it’s not always easy to do business in the public sector. Despite that, we’ve seen an explosion of other companies stepping up to help government work better. These companies are helping to shepherd the public sector into the 21st century, and we’re super excited to see what they come up with next.

So, without further ado, here are five of our favorite companies, in no particular order.

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Welcome, Aidan!

We’re happy to announce the newest addition to our team, Aidan Nevin.

Aidan is a sales professional who gained experience across many industries after graduating from the University of Vermont with degrees in Psychology and European History in 2011. Most recently, he sold a SaaS reputation management platform to automotive dealerships, making him a great first hire for our sales team.

Aidan is a Vermont native living in Boston, and he and his wife recently welcomed a daughter, Bella.

(And, yes, he’s been to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory–that was our first question!)

Welcome, Aidan!

aidan's headshot

Follow @nevin802 on Twitter →

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Technology, identity, and refugees: An interview with Hannes Gassert

Recently, our CEO Joshua Goldstein sat down with Hannes Gassert, a Swiss civic entrepreneur who believes that business and government are inextricable. Gassert rejects the idea that business motivations and the greater good should stand diametrically opposed.

Simple, right?

In the United States, we don’t need to look any further than our current political climate to see what happens when this goes horribly wrong. In Switzerland, however, a direct democracy in which you can call a referendum on any topic with only 100,000 signatures, the picture looks more hopeful.

With such a direct line into the legislative process, shouldn’t citizens be more connected, more able to leverage their influence onto governmental processes? And shouldn’t government run more efficiently than in does in the US?

In his conversation with Goldstein, Gassert challenged these assumptions. He pointed to the lack of truly open, usable data and the lack of a cohesive feedback loop to facilitate real communication within his own country.

Indeed, this lack of communication is one of the largest challenges facing government, not just in Switzerland.

With stark lines drawn between government and citizens, there simply isn’t an easy way to move vital information to the people and projects that need it most, usually until disaster strikes.

Too often we try to bridge the divide when the mess is already too big.

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