A Pivotal Moment

A programmer builds a website that lets parents and their children choose between public schools. A user experience expert redesigns a benefits portal so immigrants and counselors can look at case files together. A data scientist works to create a database to encourage the federal government to start tracking police use of force.

In 2015, NetGain focused on strengthening this emerging field of public interest technology.

Technologists around the world are needed to help governments, social service providers and advocacy groups use technology to find new ways of working, and confront and address the challenges and inequities that inevitably arise from technological change.

These contributions are essential for public interest organizations to be effective in the digital age.

But public interest organizations are facing a talent pipeline crisis: there are not enough technologists working or interested in joining public interest fields to meet growing demand.

“A Pivotal Moment: Developing a New Generation of Technologists for the Public Interest” is a new report that demonstrates how to improve the quality and number of technologists working in civil society organizations and government at every level.

It identifies opportunities to build the field of public interest technology, and ways that philanthropy and other stakeholders can invest to best support such efforts. The new resource also details best practices that will help everyone design smarter interventions across government and civil society to develop the talent and capacity of public interest technologists.

A product of the inaugural year of the NetGain partnership, A Pivotal Moment is a first step in ensuring that the technological innovations of today and the future are built, used, and governed in ways that create opportunity for all.

Eric Sears