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Commentary: Grassroots Effort Works to Re-Imagine Solutions for DMV

"A small group of civic-minded designers and technologists has started CivicDMV, a community project working to re-imagine the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you’re working inside of DMV, we’d love to learn about your issues and what open projects we can develop to help solve them. If you’ve ever experienced DMV in any form and have ideas on how it can be made better, we want to hear from you."

The Department of Motor Vehicles has long been the poster child for government inefficiency. When we rail against government, often it’s about or because of our experiences with DMV.

Far removed from direct input of the people  —  despite being perhaps the most visible and having the most in-person engagement with the general public of any local government organization  —  it’s an agency that traditionally has worked for and not with those outside of the bureaucracy.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In an age of open communities, asynchronous collaboration and iterative mindsets, anyone  —  be it the person on the street or the lifelong bureaucrat  —  can play a role in changing how government works, especially when there’s a home for it.

To this end, a small group of civic-minded designers and technologists have started CivicDMV, “a community project working to re-imagine the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

We’ll work on various projects, such as writing and analyzing current DMV efforts throughout the United States and prototyping new ideas, such as what we’ve started to do with the prototype DMV website.

We will be inclusive, empathetic and highly collaborative. If you’re working inside of DMV, we’d love to learn about your issues and what open projects we can develop to help solve them. If you’ve ever experienced DMV in any form and have ideas on how it can be made better, we want to hear from you.

Get involved
If you’re interested in re-imagining DMV, join the CivicDMV Slack community and share your ideas. As with any open community, we want to keep it fluid, asynchronous and iterative, allowing for folks to work on areas that are of interest to them, leveraging like-minded DMV enthusiasts to support and collaborate with.

We’ll document our work in the CivicDMV handbook, where you can learn how we operate, what we’re working on, and how you can get involved.

You can connect with CivicDMV on Slack, Medium, Twitter and GitHub.

If you’re interested in playing in the sandbox to re-imagine DMV, learn more at civicdmv.org.

Luke Fretwell is co-founder and chief executive officer of ProudCity  the founder of the civic innovation and technology blog GovFresh. He advises civic leaders and businesses on how to best leverage digital strategies to create more effective, collaborative governments. He has worked with a number of government-focused companies and media and has been involved in broad-focused community efforts, such as GovPress, CityCamp, CivicMeet, Agile Government Leadership and Open Source for America.