In cleaning up our shared drive and docs, I came across the “We Believe” principles we created back on August 2nd during an early ideation session. Among other things, we talked about what we wanted to accomplish with the project. By getting aligned our first week here in DC, it helped us lay the blueprint for how to deliver on the Project MyGov charter:
To reimagine how citizens interact with government through an experience designed around their needs rather than a confusing and fragmented bureaucracy.
In re-reading them, we agreed it’s inspiring how many we stuck to.
About the project
- Change the culture. Don’t just build a product — disrupt bureaucracies and challenge assumptions.
- Be responsive. Solve for actual needs and problems, not perceived ones.
- Serve the people first, and the government second. We’re here to serve the American public as a whole (and even foreign visitors), so they should always be our primary focus. We can also strive to make it easier for agencies to fulfill that mission.
- Create simplicity. Reduce cognitive burden. Absorb the complexity on behalf of the public to give them a delightful experience.
- Be smart. Informed decisions over superfluous options.
- Be personalized. Reach people where they are with contextually relevant experiences.
- Be sexy. Go beyond intuitive functional designs to deliver an aesthetically beautiful experience. Design for the ideal, not the lowest common denominator. Create loyal and passionate users, not passive ones.
- Be an open platform. Build for the future. Be lean, modular, and decentralized. Expose APIs. Encourage reuse and collaboration through interoperability. Eat our own dog food.
- Embrace unpredictability. Evolve with the experiment. Respond and pivot as needed.
- Share. Keep the public informed, and actively seek out feedback.
About our creative process
- Be badass. Apply can-do jujitsu (instead of being risk averse) when challenging unchecked assumptions within institutional culture.
- Treat every interaction as an opportunity to delight. From pixels to copy, code to community, each part of the process should be a positive experience to engage and defy expectations.
- Design with emotion. Actively engage users with a voice, tone and personality that fits the context of the interaction, and heightens and improves the experience.
- Always ask: Are we solving for the right thing?
- Mobile first. Bake responsive web design into the DNA - it’s not an afterthought, but core to the experience.
- Be lean and agile: Use prototypes and experiments to validate learning and make data-informed decisions. Ship unfinished code and be prepared to fail fast.
- Embrace ignorance. Run with our naiveté on government constraints as well as the public’s lack of familiarity with the bureaucracy.
- Don’t unnecessarily handicap the creative process. Say “Yes, and” instead of “no, but.”
- Meaningful deadlines are not arbitrary. Milestones should have a purpose.
- No HIPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion). Titles and hierarchy don’t impact weight of ideas.
- Meetings are the exception, not the rule. Have a clear understanding of who the meeting is with, who they are, the purpose of the meeting, and the intended outcomes.
The MyGov Presidential Innovation Fellows