US CIO Steven VanRoekel and US CTO Todd Park launched the US Digital Government Strategy at TechCrunch Disrupt NY on May 23, 2012. They both stood in the centre of the stage and presented without notes, using only a few slides (a style many government presenters should learn). Todd Park in particular is full of energy and uses enthusiastic, informal language - a good match for the TechCrunch audience.
Note this is much more a technology innovation strategy than an open government or transparency strategy.
VanRoekel and Park announced two major initiatives: a Digital Government Strategy and White House Innovation Fellows.
Addressing the latter first: Innovation Fellows is an initiative to partner entrepreneurs and experts directly with the government. The language the site uses is "pair top innovators from the private sector, non-profits, or academia with federal government employees to collaborate on game-changing solutions". At wh.gov/innovationfellows the five projects are listed
- MyGov - radically simplify and reorganise the government web presence to serve the needs of citizens, not simply reflect bureaucratic structures - "a streamlined and intuitive system for presenting information and accepting feedback". On Twitter: @ProjectMyGov
- Open Data Initiatives - "scale the Health Data Initiative and roll out new open data initiatives in the energy, education, public safety, and nonprofit sectors" (see verticals: health.data.gov , energy.data.gov , education.data.gov , safety.data.gov ). On Twitter: @ProjectOpenData
- Blue Button for America - enable all citizens to download their own health records
- RFP-EZ - make it easier for small businesses to submit to government RFPs
- The 20% Campaign - for a second I thought this would be "Google Time" for the government, but it's about moving from cash to electronic payments particularly for things like foreign assistance payments
The second piece is the strategy - Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People. The document is available in PDF but they are also "walking the walk" and providing it in HTML5 (using the Bootstrap framework). The strategy was accompanied by a Presidential Memorandum - Building a 21st Century Digital Government.
There's a lot in the digital government strategy, but a few key elements are:
- Make Open Data, Content, and Web APIs the New Default
- Make Existing High-Value Data and Content Available through Web APIs
- agencies will be required to: Identify at least two major customer-facing systems that contain high-value data and content; Expose this information through web APIs to the appropriate audiences; Apply metadata tags in compliance with the new federal guidelines; and Publish a plan to transition additional systems as practical.
- Establish a Digital Services Innovation Center and Advisory Group
- develop government-wide BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] guidance leveraging their findings
- Deliver Better Digital Services Using Modern Tools and Technologies
- Best practices for standards-compliant, next-generation web development, including use of content delivery networks; content management systems; common code libraries, frameworks, and tools; and responsive web design (e.g. using HTML5 and CSS3 to provide a mobile-tailored experience);
- Standards for structuring and tagging content and data to be machine-readable;
On May 24, 2012 VanRoekel & Park spoke at an ACT-IAC event. The stream was at http://onlinevideoservice.com/clients/ACT-IAC/ ; I don't know if will be available afterwards.
These are clear directions for an agile, intelligent government. It is also interesting to hear CTO Todd Park say clearly that he finds the innovation within the government - there are lots of people who have great ideas. The Innovation Fellows project is just to give them some outside support to help things happen even faster. Both the CIO & CTO describe their initiative as giving people permission to act, to take risks, to collaborate and be innovative.
Related to data specifically Todd Park talked about mechanisms like hackathons, meetups and "datapaloozas". The next datapalooza will be about health information: Health Data Initiative Forum III - Health Datapalooza, June 5-6, 2012.
- US CIO @StevevDC
- US CTO @Todd_Park
- Hashtags: #digitalgov and #tcdisrupt (the TechCrunch Disrupt conference)
Here's a Storify of some of my notes from these presentations