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IAC’s transition documents… read them and hear about them

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I mentioned last week that the Industry Advisory Council has posted its two overarching transition recommendation documents.

On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we have been featuring some of the authors of these reports. Last Tuesday, we had Leslie Steele, the chairwoman of IAC, offering her insights — hear that conversation here… and on Friday, we had Mark Forman, partner at KPMG and former administrator of e-government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget — hear that conversation here.

Read the documents for yourself after the break. The two documents are “Using federal information technology as a strategic weapon to strengthen the economy” and “Drive Change for America and Returning Innovation to the Federal Government with Information Technology.”

Not surprisingly, IAC favors the Obama chief technology officer. But one of the better recommendations in the documents is about spurring innovation in government. As we all know, that can be difficult because government tends to be abnormally risk adverse. There are all sorts of reasons for that, but one of the big factors is lack of tolerance for mistakes. Many people will herald that as the fight against waste, fraud and abuse. In the end, the drive to eliminate so-called waste saps any innovation because people simply aren’t willing to risk doing something that might not work.

So IAC’s recommendations include having a series of projects and programs that are high-risk, but also high-reward. Here is from IAC’s innovation report:

It also would be wise for the new administration to consider choosing a small percentage of projects selected for investment to be designated as “high risk/high reward,” and managed with a risk acceptance approach that recognizes that failures will occur. Agency program and executive managers must be educated in managing and encouraging innovation and risk, and better options for encouraging risk acceptance and risk sharing with industry must be developed.

There are some people who have been very good at doing this — EPA’s Molly O’Neill has been particularly good at providing her team with the ability to try new things with the understanding that, when you try something new, there is the chance that something might not work. And she has been particularly good at selecting projects that can provide lessons learned while mitigating risk. The result is that EPA is transforming. I was thrilled earlier this year by the wonderful project to create radon public service announcements — and I was even more excited when I larned that O’Neill didn’t drive it. It said to me that the organization was transforming — people felt empowered to try new things.

Both reports are not that long and worth some time. I have posted them… after the break.

As promised, the two overarching IAC transition documents. There are other, more specific documents that will follow in the coming weeks, but… these two are interesting. (See the list of other reports that will be coming out here.)

The two are:
* Returning Innovation to the federal government with information technology.

View this document on Scribd

* Using federal information technology as a strategic weapon to strengthen the economy drive change for America

View this document on Scribd
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Written by cdorobek

December 22, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. [...] commenting on the Industry Advisory Council’s innovation agenda transition paper. (You can read that transition paper and find links to our conversations with IAC officials here.) You can hear our conversation with Burton [...]

  2. [...] The first two documents focused on innovation and then on the strategic use of IT to spur change. Read them and hear from IAC officials here. [...]


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