portrait of Amita Arudpragasam

Aadhaar, Sanskrit for “foundation” or “base,” is a 12-digit unique identity number that has taken India by storm. While Aadhaar is not the first of its kind — it follows other Indian identification schemes such as the Multipurpose National Identity Card and the Smartcard Programme in the state of Andhra Pradesh — it is certainly the most successful. And while Aadhaar has nonetheless... Read More

portrait of Edgar Tejada

The Republic of Panama is rightly known for our newly expanded canal, being an important hub for global commerce, producing world-class athletes, and being a great place to visit. What is generally not known as widely is that we are also making tremendous progress in innovating citizen services in a variety of ways including our Citizen Services Center or 311, as non-emergency assistance... Read More

Portrait of Wen Hoe

Open data and open government are often confused with each other. The phrase “open government” was first introduced in the 1950s, a call for public accountability after little government information disclosure during WWII. However, in recent years, the two ideas have been conflated. Former President Obama’s Open Government Directive called for executive branch agencies to “publish... Read More

Zoila Llempen

I still remember the last work meeting I had as a public servant at the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion in Peru before coming to Harvard Kennedy School in which we spent about three hours discussing whether one ministry was willing to share its data with another one, even though the two ministries were working together on a common project. Months later, the news was not so... Read More

Debs Schrimmer
1 Comment

In January 2015, we piloted a new type of “Senior Fellowship” program, a six-month partnership where one alumni Fellow worked with the City to develop new approaches and tools to support deep and broad community engagement. During this project, the City of Boulder and Code for America partnered on “Housing Boulder,” the community engagement process that would inform Boulder’s 2015/2016... Read More


Each day, throughout the world, public officials and practitioners face the daunting task of creating solutions to society's most pressing problems, as they strive to improve the lives of their citizens. These dedicated public servants are under pressure to do more with increasingly limited resources, and to be more effective and efficient. Repeatedly, history has shown that continuing to... Read More