The government of the United Kingdom is years ahead of that of the United States in adopting new technology, according to Megan Smith, chief technology officer of the U.S. government.

Formerly the vice-president for business development at Google Inc., Smith was appointed U.S. CTO by President Barack Obama in September last year.

At the recent Building the Business of Civic Tech conference in New York, Smith held up the U.K. as a model of digital government.

Megan Smith, United States Chieft Technology Officer
Megan Smith

She commended the British government for incorporating computer science into its national school curriculum as well as launching an online marketplace for cloud services.

Britain’s G-Cloud program, which serves as a platform where government agencies and departments can shop for cloud computing services, was established back in 2012. Since then more than 1,200 cloud providers have signed up with the marketplace. No less than 13,000 services are being offered in G-Cloud and sales have grown in excess of $70 million.

The U.K. recently convened D5, a G8-style summit of digital governments that include New Zealand, Estonia, South Korea and Israel.

Smith is optimistic that the U.S. will soon become part of the group.

She noted that she is seeing hackathons held in places like the Department of Interior. The U.S. also has a new government digital services called 18F Digital Service Delivery and the government is installing a tech team inside every government agency to promote innovation.

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