Canada nabs U.S. digital services co-founder to head its tech fix-it team

Aaron-Snow © Credit Kristina Sherk

(iPolitics)– The Trudeau government has hired the former head of the U.S. government’s digital services agency to head Canadian Digital Services, the federal in-house swat team created to help improve services to citizens.

Treasury Board announced the appointment of Aaron Snow as the first chief executive officer of Canadian Digital Service (CDS), effective in early April. The government launched a search in September and attracted candidates from around the world.

Snow has held various senior posts in agencies helping to improve the government’s use of technology and the way it serves citizens. He was the co-founder and executive director of 18F, U.S. digital services agency.

As CEO, Snow will be responsible for helping departments to think digital in coming up with ways to improve services for users. He will work with Chief Information Officer Alex Benay, who took over the CIO job about a year ago, with marching orders to shake things up and drive the Liberal’s digital agenda.

The CDS was set up last summer, housed in Treasury Board, with $25.5 million in funding over three years.

The CDA was inspired by U.S. Government Digital Services’ 18F, a group of private and public sector ‘innovators’ — in-house designers, developers and product people — whose job is to make government services simple and easy to use in the digital age.

18F is part of the U.S. government’s Technology Transformation Services, which is within the General Services Administration.

Snow, who graduated from computer science at Harvard University and law at Columbia Law School, became co-founder and executive director of 18F created in the aftermath of the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare’s healthcare.gov website.

More than 4.7 million Americans tried to register on healthcare.gov the day it launched in October 2013 and only six people were successful.

In speeches, Treasury Board President Scott Brison often compares the disastrous rollout to that of the Phoenix pay system fiasco. He says he followed the example of then President Barack Obama who claimed “never waste a good crisis” and embedded 18F within government to come up with better ways to use technology to provide service.

The group shook up the system with its software development and an open approach to everything, using open source and the methods of ‘start-up’ companies. (The name referred to its office location in Washington, D.C. in the General Services Administration at 1800 F Street.)

After 18F, Snow became a senior adviser for the government’s Technology Transformation Service before leaving government in February 2017. He then became chief operating officer at cBrain North America where he helped public sector organizations adapt their services digitally to solve process problems and better serve the public’s needs.

Snow is the latest member of the 18F team to come to Canada. CDS previously nabbed Lena Trudeau, who worked at 18F, and Hillary Hartley another 18F founding member is now the Ontario government’s chief digital officer.

The CDS was set up last summer, housed in Treasury Board, with $25.5 million in funding over three years.

The CDA was inspired by U.S. Government Digital Services’ 18F, a group of private and public sector ‘innovators’ — in-house designers, developers and product people — whose job is to make government services simple and easy to use in the digital age.

18F is part of the U.S. government’s Technology Transformation Services, which is within the General Services Administration.

Snow, who graduated from computer science at Harvard University and law at Columbia Law School, became co-founder and executive director of 18F created in the aftermath of the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare’s healthcare.gov website.

More than 4.7 million Americans tried to register on healthcare.gov the day it launched in October 2013 and only six people were successful.

In speeches, Treasury Board President Scott Brison often compares the disastrous rollout to that of the Phoenix pay system fiasco. He says he followed the example of then President Barack Obama who claimed “never waste a good crisis” and embedded 18F within government to come up with better ways to use technology to provide service.

The group shook up the system with its software development and an open approach to everything, using open source and the methods of ‘start-up’ companies. (The name referred to its office location in Washington, D.C. in the General Services Administration at 1800 F Street.)

After 18F, Snow became a senior adviser for the government’s Technology Transformation Service before leaving government in February 2017. He then became chief operating officer at cBrain North America where he helped public sector organizations adapt their services digitally to solve process problems and better serve the public’s needs.

Snow is the latest member of the 18F team to come to Canada. CDS previously nabbed Lena Trudeau, who worked at 18F, and Hillary Hartley another 18F founding member is now the Ontario government’s chief digital officer.

Source:: iPolitics

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