Exciting updates will be announced soon!
Held in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, Reboot Congress 2017, is an invite-only conversation that will bring together a dynamic mix of problem solvers - civic tech innovators, engineers and designers, elected officials, senior staffers, policy experts, and other stakeholders working to modernize Congress. Hosted in Partnership with Democracy Fund, DAY ONE will highlight ongoing transparency and modernization efforts, amplify the impact of existing change agents, and further define a roadmap for collaborative success into the future.
We have partnered with the Jack Kemp Foundation on DAY TWO in order to further expand the bridge between the technology world and Washington, D.C. The Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity is an invite-only conversation that will convene leading influencers in the policy and tech worlds to explore workable solutions for greater innovation and more broadly shared economic growth in America.
“Congress and the tech world share a similar learning curve - both must rediscover how they can remain relevant to and reconnect with everyday Americans.”
The aim of modernizing Congress is not about getting Members to use the latest whiz-bang technology. One clear message that emerged from the 2016 election was that many Americans feel disconnected from what’s happening in Washington D.C. and threatened by the rapid pace of technological change being driven by regions like Silicon Valley. In this unique instance, Congress and the tech world share a similar learning curve - both must rediscover how they can remain relevant to and reconnect with everyday Americans.
Congressman Seth Moulton
Representative for Massachusetts's 6th Congressional District
Congressman Will Hurd
Representative for the 23rd District of Texas
Executive Director of 18F
Betsy Wright Hawkings
Director of Governance Program at Democracy Fund
Deputy Digital Director for Leader Charles E. Schumer
Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Mark Takano
Digital Director for US Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman
Policy Director at Demand Progress, Founder at Congressional Data Coalition
Co-Founder and Executive Director at OpenGov Foundation
Co-Founder of Quorum
Founder of TechCongress
Director of Technology Innovation at John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Research and Systems Associate for the Governance Program at Democracy Fund
Founder and Ceo of Venture for America
Ceo at Fireside 21
Morgridge Fellow in Education at the American Enterprise Institute
Director of Strategic Initiatives at Congressional Management Foundation
COO at cBrain North America; formerly co-founder/Exec Director at 18F
The longstanding contract for email service in Congress is held by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. Yes, it’s a fact. Despite a close relationship with many sectors of our government, this otherwise great company has no real expertise in communications or software. Their legacy tool restricts offices to email functionality far below the minimum features required for even a mid-sized company to operate effectively. Unfortunately the focus is on capturing and retaining market-share, with no demonstrated incentive for innovation.
Basic functions like creating custom email lists, rich visual templating, the ability to A/B test communication strategies, exporting data, and targeting content to specific constituents are a distant pipedream Congressional offices have been deprived of for almost a decade. And when Members of Congress have their hands tied on communicating with constituents, low- and middle-income Americans - those who typically don’t have a direct line to members of Congress - are impacted the most.
Beyond this one example, the rules that govern Congress’s use of technology are generally outdated, arcane, and prevent the use of new vendors or customized solutions. Basic knowledge of the tool sets and technologies at play in today’s market are often absent from the individuals charged with developing and maintaining these rules.
Indeed, today’s information environment is overwhelming. Staff often do not even know what question to ask, or where to find credible advice. In addition, the approval and compliance processes in place to vet new technology vendors is so onerous that it creates functional monopolies.
We can and must demand more from the first branch of government. Reboot Congress 2017 has convened the leading civic innovators and domain experts who are already driving forward transformational efforts to increase transparency, improve efficiencies in governance, expand citizen engagement, and bring Congress into the 21st century.
Lincoln Network and The OpenGov Foundation are joining forces to present the 2017 Door Stop Awards for Congressional Innovation and Transparency. Awards will be presented on May 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. at an evening party as part of Reboot Congress.
The Door Stop Awards will recognize Members of Congress, top government officials and staff who are advancing durable and genuine changes to bring Congress into the 21st century. These good government successes almost always happen quietly and outside the limelight, but have resulted in long-term transparency, greater openness, and improved efficiency or effectiveness. The Door Stop Award winners didn’t just open government to the public once, they placed "door stops" ensuring that government remains open and accessible to the American people.
Small businesses drive our economic growth in America. While there is a concentration of startup investment in Silicon Valley, Austin, New York and other tech hubs, many areas lack access to the capital needed to start or grow a business. With 50 million people living in distressed communities, according to Economic Innovation Group, genuine opportunities for prosperity have been greatly reduced for individuals in a large part of our nation.
This trend is exacerbated by an increasingly tech-driven economy, undergoing transformational changes due to artificial intelligence and automation. However, the innovative business models underpinning the sharing economy, the promise of 3D printing, the educational opportunities presented by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - among many other advanced technology trends - could offer new pathways for economic mobility in every part of the country. In order to harness and maximize this potential, it’s vital for leaders in the new economy to be at the policy-making table.
The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people.