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Designing and Building Services Inside Government

The past few years have seen the emergence of a new trend in government. Where once government IT projects were characterised by large out-sourced projects, the skunkworks philosophy has begun to infect. Where once there were large non-functional specs there are now committed teams of startup-minded developers iterating fast, designing for mass adoption and defaulting to openness in source code, APIs, and their very way of being.

What happens when these teams come up against the reality of some of the world's most conservative institutions? How do these new open approaches stand up when the world's media are waking up to the reality of cybercrime? Is the promise of changing millions of citizens' experience of government service real, or will the rhetoric have to pivot?

Join a group of practitioners who are living the reality of this new trend, building software in the heart of the government to discuss that experience and whether they truly herald a change in how government works

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What happens when startup-minded teams come up against the reality of the world's oldest institutions?
  2. What challenges are there for working in an open-source way and with a focus on service and product design within a large institution?
  3. Can in-house teams within governments really help them innovate?
  4. How can teams achieve the necessary support to change working practices and attitudes?
  5. Does this shift in how government builds services herald a wider change?



James Stewart, Technical Architect, Government Digital Service

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