Another nice TED Talk, by Jennifer Pahlka on “Coding a Better Government.” How to crowd source improvements to bureaucracy? She gives some interesting examples, and while many big tasks of government won’t fall such techniques, some will and it seems useful to try.
Pahlka calls her operation Code for America, a catchy title I wish we had used first. It is in many respects what SEAM was about – Software Engineering @ Maryland. SEAM was a co-op arrangement which connected our upper level capstone courses with real customers, chiefly drawn from local governments or NGOs which if not for free software often got none at all. It was a nice arrangement – until the present CS department undergraduate office quashed the business model by disallowing the offering of some of the courses needed to sustain the offerings.