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For years California’s Child Welfare System—the electronic records system that helped keep track of cases for neglected, abused and vulnerable kids—was woefully out of date. And when California decided to go out to bid for a new one, the request for proposal was typically “monolithic,” seeing a single solution. But the Department of Social Services called in Code for America, the nonprofit that has helped many institutions implement best practices—particularly agile development—and find a higher rate of success with IT projects. On today’s episode of the Public Impact Podcast, Code for America Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka talks with Public Spend Forum Founder Raj Sharma and Board Member Shelly Kapoor Collins about their work in California, their approach to innovation in the public sector, and the sea change that’s happening in government right now.

If you’re interested in how government can make the switch to agile, this episode is a must-listen. Some of my favorite moments include: 

  • Pahlka discussing how Code for America’s approach not only gets better results for California, but opens up procurement to more companies;
  • Her views on the importance of understanding where government comes from, and how that helps inform a better way of doing IT;
  • Her proclamation that a career isn’t complete unless you have dedicated some time to helping government. “Government is us,” she says.

Many thanks to Jen Pahlka for talking with us, it was hard to pick out just three favorites. You can play the show through the Soundcloud player above, but the best way to make sure you never miss an episode is to subscribe via iTunes, Android or email. And if you like the show, one of the best ways you can help support it—aside from telling all of your friends—is to give the show a review in iTunes. It really makes a difference in helping get word out about the show.

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