Today is the last day of the Code for America Summit.  I am simply inspired.

I attend a lot of conferences, seminars, and work events.  This one is different.  Very different.

For two days I immersed myself with people who are committed to using technology to change the way government interacts with citizens.  Honestly, 28 years of working with and for the government, that is a novel concept.

The Department of Defense does not think that way – we are not educated, trained, or encouraged to work *for* citizens.  We are encouraged to work for the warfighter, or the mission.  Indirectly this support our citizens, but very indirectly.

What I saw over the last few days is a group of people who have banded together to literally make government better.  A lot better.  As best as it can be.

And it was inspiring.

I am not the inspired type.  I don’t have epiphanies, I don’t have life changing movements, and I don’t get emotional about these things (I’ve written about that before).  I am most certainly committed to my job and passionate about making things better, but that is not the same as emotional.  At least not in my eyes.

I had the opportunity to meet, talk with, engage with people who have no idea what the beltway is.  What defense contractors care about.  What the politicians of DC push.  People who have their own challenges for sure, but who are committed to solving the hard problems of the world to make a better society.

My inspiration is really the open-ended question of how can I apply this level of commitment to the greater good to the Department?  How can I make a difference?  How can I Cultivate the Karrass?

With any luck I will return to the conference next year and I will have applied some of what I learned to make a positive and lasting difference.

Perhaps luck doesn’t have anything to do with it, but I am sure it will be no small feat.  Perhaps I’ll do it in my current agency, or a different one, but I am committed to doing.

For the first time – perhaps ever – I have a near and long term career goal and it makes me happy about being a government employee (I don’t like the term “civil servant” for obvious reasons).  Over the coming weeks I need to plan how I can engage smartly, drive change, and demonstrate usefulness.

Over the coming months I need to read this again, and remind myself how a small band of committed individuals can change the world.