“The last several days of lectures and travel has been eye opening and exciting. I was especially intrigued by Dr. Ahmed Darwish, Chairman, IEEE Egypt Section, who spoke of his struggles to utilize technology to improve government services and access to the government. Not surprisingly, it has been a struggle for Egypt to bring together various levels of government and pull together information that is separated in individual data silos. This is a challenge being faced across the world, including in Los Angeles. For instance, Los Angeles is working to identifying those who qualify for services (reduced rates for utilities, EITC, etc) and reaching out to them proactively - rather than waiting for them to apply to individual programs. The goal being to create efficiencies for both government and the individual constituent, and ensure families and individuals are receiving the services for which they qualify. Dr. Darwish had s similar goal - but expanded it beyond just services to the concept of creating greater public involvement in decision making (e.g. text message voting on hot topics). To me, this is a fascinating concept, and could either result in the public feeling closer to decision makers or hijacked by a small group of special interests, which could further alienate the population from the government. I look forward to reading more about the Egyptian case studies and seeing if there are lessons and/or best practices that could be integrated into our work to improve the use of technology in government in LA and beyond.”
Becca Doten, Gabr Fellow. June 6th 2013

4th February 2016