Marina Nitze and Nick Sinai: Hack Your Bureaucracy
We all likely want to improve the organizations we work in. We might want to improve the employee experience, improve the customer experience, or be more efficient and effective. But we all likely have had the experience of feeling like our organizations are too difficult, too entrenched, and too complex to change. Any organization—large or small, public or private—can feel like a faceless bureaucracy that is resistant to change. So what can people do who want to affect change? How do you accomplish things that can seem impossible?
To answer these questions, we talked with Marina Nitze and Nick Sinai about their recently published book, Hack Your Bureaucracy: Get Things Done No Matter What Your Role on Any Team. Marina and Nick have deep experience in one of the largest, most complex bureaucracies in the world: the U.S. government. As technology leaders in the Obama White House, Marina and Nick undertook large change programs. Their book contains their stories and their advice for anyone who wants to affect change.
We find the hacks in their book quite valuable, and we wish this book had been available early in our career when we were both in much larger organizations. We love the fact that their hacks focus on the people and working within a system for change—not the move fast & break things mentality of Silicon Valley. Above all, we appreciate that it’s clear that Marina and Nick thought deeply about what they would have wanted to know when they embarked on the significant technology change programs they undertook in the White House and Veterans Administration.
Marina Nitze is currently a partner at Layer Aleph, a crisis response firm that specializes in restoring complex software systems to service. Marina was most recently Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under President Obama, after serving as Senior Advisor on technology in the Obama White House and as the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the U.S. Department of Education.
Nick Sinai is a Senior Advisor at Insight Partners, a VC and private equity firm, and is also Adjunct Faculty at Harvard Kennedy School and a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Nick served as U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the Obama White House, and prior, played a key role in crafting the National Broadband Plan at the FCC.
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