At a recent Google-sponsored Big Tent event in Mountainview, Jennifer Pahlka, the founder of and executive director of Code for America, participated in a "fire side" chat with Google's SVP, David Drummond, about her various initiatives related to using technology to solve public sector problems and civic life in general.
Jennifer believes that stimulating digital citizenship and partnering private sector know-how with local governments can re-boot the business of governing; problem solving with a dash of gamification thrown in for good measure. In her discussion with Drummond, she explains how CFA sends talented game developers to work with local governments to create apps for specific purposes to solve challenges. One example: keeping fire hydrants free of snow and accessible during and after a blizzard.
It makes sense that she'd be able to pull together disparate groups because she spent eight years working at CMP Media where she was in charge of such major game industry events as the Game Developers Conference, ran the popular Game Developer magazine, worked at Gamasutra.com and helped with the Independent Games Festival - and before that she ran the Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 events for TechWeb.
Ironically enough, Pahlka says that she's not someone who can "code things," but sometimes all you need to push technology and tech-related solutions is to have some great ideas, identify the needs and have the determination to see it through. Check out the talk.