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At what point does the federal government start leveraging this country's IT infrastructure and talent as opposed to developing its own?
I think that moment is now. The central thrust of our approach with open data initiatives and the digital government strategy is that we shouldn't build the tools that should be useful to citizens ourselves; we should open up that data so innovators outside of government can leverage our data to build useful services and applications with their infrastructure, technology, ingenuity and people. We are very big believers in something called "Joy's Law," which states: "No matter who you are, you have to remember that most of the smartest people in the world work for somebody else."
What's your plan to deal with "Policy Lag" where the current federal policies have not kept up with the advancement of technology?
Initiatives like the digital government strategy can close that gap dramatically. If you think about the implications of a move like open data, what we're doing is future-proofing the U.S. government from a technology standpoint because we are saying, "we are going to open up our data and when the world evolves, it will utilize that data in a number of ways." It allows our data to evolve and advance at the same speed that technology is advancing.
If you could give our audience one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would actually give them three pieces of advice.
The first is based on the idea that there is immense innovation talent locked in your organization (I think this is true in every organization), and the most important thing you can do as an innovator or IT leader is to unleash that talent and unleash that mojo.
The second is to embrace the power of the lean start-up approach to change management (an idea first established by Eric Ries). Lean start-up is all about recognizing that strategy, technology and operations are not phases of a project, but rather different facets of the same underlying problem or opportunity with a solution that you have to build.
The final piece of advice is to embrace the power of open innovation and to embrace the idea of Joy's Law. It is to recognize that if you came up with lots of other people to get something done, you will actually deliver much better results, much faster with a much lower cost than if you try to do it all yourself.