Innovation, Aneesh Chopra and Open Government

by | Apr 25, 2012

I found it interesting and extremely exhilarating to read the interview in The Atlantic with the outgoing CTO of the USA. I had to remind myself that this was a CTO talking, not a CIO (Chief Innovation Officer). Let me give you some quotes from the interview:

What is the elevator pitch on what you've been doing since you were named Chief Technology Officer of the United States?

"What I do is advance the president's innovation agenda by incorporating his bottom-up theory of change. To be very specific about it, I execute the president's innovation strategy in a manner that taps into the expertise of the American people to solve big problems."

Remind yourself that this is the CTO talking........

or how about:

As an advisor, what buttons are available for you to push?

"We have four policy levers that reflect our open innovation philosophy. We're opening up data for innovators and entrepreneurs. We're taking on the role of impatient convener. We're initiating prizes, challenges, and competitions. And we're attracting top talent at the intersection of technology and policy."

or this for example:

The White House's Open Government Initiative focuses on three areas: transparency, participation, and collaboration. Can you rate the progress that has been made on each thus far?

"I'm the wrong person to grade them, but I will rank them. That might be safer. We've seen great results in transparency, and we have absolutely delivered. It's never enough, for sure, but I'm very pleased with our experience opening up data. We've seen wide-spread adoption of publishing data [in the executive branch]. I'm, ah, excited about the prospects of collaboration, because so much of the open innovation story is built on collaboration and the idea that to solve the big challenges of our time, we're going to have to tap into the expertise of the American people. In the markets where we've focused, we've seen results -- they just haven't scaled across government. And on participation, the arrow is trending up. There were a lot of regulatory and administrative burdens that made it very hard to take advantage of social media and other techniques, but we've spent the last year and a half minimizing the barriers."

What is astounding is to hear a CTO of the United States talk so freely about openness, collaboration, transparency, innovation and connectedness rather than putting the emphasis on technology. It is almost a given that these issues are on the table for the WHite House, and that technology underpins the solution. Would the conversations have gone this way some 5 years ago? I think not.

Very inspiring!

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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