Code for America was founded in 02009 by Jennifer Pahlka “to make government work better for the people and by the people in the 21st century.”
The organization started a movement to modernize government for a digital age which has now spread from cities to counties to states, and now, most visibly, to the federal government, where Jennifer served at the White House as US Deputy Chief Technology Officer. There she helped start the United States Digital Service, known as "Obama's stealth startup."
Now that thousands of people from "metaphysical Silicon Valley" are working for and with government, what have we learned? Can government actually be fixed to serve citizens better—especially the neediest? Why does change in government happen so slowly?
Before founding Code for America, Jennifer Pahlka co-created the Web 2.0 and Gov. 2.0 conferences, building on her prior experience organizing computer game developer conferences. She continues to serve as executive director of Code for America, which is based in San Francisco.
Jennifer Pahlka is the founder and executive director of Code for America. She recently served as the US Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is known for her TED talk, Coding a Better Government, and the recipient of several awards, including MIT’s Kevin Lynch Award, the Oxford Internet Institute’s Internet and Society Award, and the National Democratic Institute’s Democracy Award. She spent eight years at CMP Media, where she ran the Game Developers Conference, Game Developer magazine, Gamasutra.com, and the Independent Games Festival. Previously, she ran the Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 events for TechWeb, in conjunction with O’Reilly Media. She is a graduate of Yale University. She writes @pahlkadot and codeforamerica.org/author/jen/.
Code for America's Jennifer Pahlka describes a process where a State of California project was changed from a 6-year, $600 million contract to one that could be implemented at a fraction of the cost with a tech-centered approach.