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An app that runs Britain

Posting in Design

"I'm tellin' ya, Barack. You GOTTA get this app."

Forget policy advisers and debate. All you need to run a country is an iPad and an app.

That's hyperbole of course, but the point is that British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken his digital dealings to another level. Cameron, already a tweeter, is now trialing an app on his iPad that helps him make executive decisions, according to the BBC.

"Mr. Cameron has been using it to keep track of live data relating to jobs, housing and other areas. It also monitors polls and posts on social media, giving the PM an at-a-glance view of how the country feels about him and his government."

TAP FOR EMPLOYMENT FIGURES

A government web page notes that, "With a few taps or swipes of his fingers, he can see very quickly what important new information has come to light, how certain government services are performing, and a selection of relevant and important news reports." It pulls in vital information such as economic growth date and bank loans to small businesses.

The app seems to have a future, as Britain's Cabinet Office plans to offer it to other government figures next year.

And Cameron is "looking forward to showing it to President Obama at the G8" summit notes Alice Newton, the young digitally-bred civil servant who designed the app. Newton describes herself as part of the "first generation of digital natives" who will help more senior officials in the ongoing cyber transformation.

She received some key input in the design's early stages.

"I was able to meet the Prime Minister and show it to him and get some direct feedback," Newton says in a video, which you can watch via the link below. "Which was of course incredibly valuable to be able to speak to your end users."

PUSH BUTTON GOVERNMENT

No word yet on whether the technology would allow end user Cameron or Obama to order pizzas for late night political wrangling sessions.

But if it's doing its job, there won't be any late nights, as affairs should proceed at a digitally efficient pace.

Ah, push button government.

Push a button on the video below to watch Alice Newton describe her "Number 10 Dashboard" (Number 10 Downing Street is the PM's official office and residence).

Photo: From israelmatzav.blogspot.com. Video from UK government cabinet office, via YouTube.

— By on November 7, 2012, 8:41 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure