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Archive for June 21st, 2010

DorobekINSIDER: Connecting Toy Story and government and innovation

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Toy Story 3 opened… big… great reviews… and a big box office.

What does that have to do with government?

But did you know that the technology that spurred the creation of Pixar was funded in the 1960s by… anybody? … the Advanced Project Research Agency, the precursor to today’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Yes, one of the biggest users of the Pixar-like animation technologies is the Defense Department — for simulations and other purposes.

Pixar Touch bookThat is one of the delicious facts that are packed in a wonderful bookThe Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company by David Price. The book is about the creation of Pixar. (Many more wonderful tidbits here, such as… did you know that Steve Jobs made big bucks from Pixar, not from Apple?)

The story is also one of remarkable innovation and learning to take risk. Wired magazine last month had a wonderful story headlined Animating a Blockbuster: How Pixar Built Toy Story 3.

Pixar has been owned by George Lucas… and then by Steve Jobs… back when it was a software company. Yes, Pixar was originally seen as a software company… and evolved into a movie studio — and one of the most successful movie studios out there. Pixar was sold to Walt Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion, the studio has seven consecutive blockbusters.

The book also talks about the process of innovating — and taking risks.

The book is a fun read — and interesting even if you didn’t grow up in California. And as you watch the box office of Toy Story, the government can relish in the role it played in innovation.

Written by cdorobek

June 21, 2010 at 10:28 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Treasury’s Gross to be deputy CIO at Interior

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Lawrence Gross, the Treasury Department’s associate CIO for e-government, is moving to the Interior Department.

Gross will leave Treasury at the end of this week. Starting June 28, Gross will be the Interior Department’s deputy chief information officer.

Prior to his tenure at Treasury, Gross served at the Energy and Justice Department. He also served as the Chief, Information Technology and Telecommunications at United States Navy Reserve.

Last month, Interior named Bernard Mazer to be its new chief information technology officer. Mazer, who has been CIO at Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), will start his new post June 7. That came after Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia left to become the deputy associate administrator for innovative technologies at GSA.

Written by cdorobek

June 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Green government – and telework

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I had the pleasure of moderating a panel last week… ostensibly on green IT, but it ended up being about the larger issue of green government.

The program was sponsored by the Java Team of the American Council on Technology and Industry Advisory Council’s Partners program, which is a marvelous development program designed to help government and industry understand each other better.

And we had a great line-up:

Jeff Eagan, Energy Department, who is on assignment at the White House reviewing the agency sustainability plans. I should note he is a 2010 Fed 100 winner.
Emile Monette, director of GSA’s Federal Technology Service’s sustainability division
Kimberly T. Nelson, Microsoft and former EPA CIO
Marian Van Pelt, a principal at ICF and a carbon inventory expert.

And we discussed Executive Order 13514: Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance [PDF] — read more from the White House about EO 13514 here… and a blog post on the green initiative here.

The executive order essentially calls on agencies to cut energy use by 28 percent… and they were required to submit “sustainability plans” to the Office of Management and Budget by the begging of this month. (I understand all are in now.)

There were several issues that came out of our discussion.

One was that this just seems overwhelming. One CIO for one of the big agency departments asked, essentially, help me know what are the best things to do out there. Agencies — and agency CIOs — have scores of mandates on them… and most of them generally want to be as green as possible. That being said, the greening discussion became so broad that it became almost overwhelming.

The general response was…
1. Work with your sustainability officer… Each agency is required to appoint a chief sustainability officers. I can’t seem to find a list of those names, unfortunately, but the first recommendation was to find out who that person is and work with them.

2. Measure… The second was to come up with a plan for measuring what your organization’s energy footprint is… so you can then determine if you are having an impact.

3. Just do it… Start doing something… turning off computers at night… turn off lights in buildings… reduce your data centers… GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has actually taken this issue quite seriously. At recent conferences, GSA executives were prohibited from renting their own cars. Instead, GSA organized a bus to shuttle people where they needed to go. And, it was pointed out to me, GSA actually sought public input on its sustainability plan.

4. See helpful links below for other ideas.

The other big issue that was discussed was — ready for it — telework. I should note that this is now the third green focused panel that I have moderated — and it is the third time the panel has been dominated by telework issues. And again, people asked why the government seems to be so reluctant to institute telework — and why there isn’t more of a push for telework.

Last week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Dorobek Insider, we spoke about telework — and a new FedScoop survey on the government’s attitudes towards telework [PDF]. The survey shows the government is still behind, but that attitudes are changing.

Anyway, during the discussion, there were a number of helpful sites mentioned… I promised I would round them up.

* The Federal Electronics Challenge:
The Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) is a partnership program that encourages federal facilities and agencies to:
Purchase greener electronic products.
Reduce impacts of electronic products during use.
Manage obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way.

EPEAT is a system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. The system currently covers desktop and laptop computers, thin clients, workstations and computer monitors.

* Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program
The Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program’s (FEMP) mission is to facilitate the Federal Government’s implementation of sound, cost-effective energy management and investment practices to enhance the nation’s energy security and environmental stewardship.

Other resources from Federal News Radio 1500 AM:

* For Earth Day, we spoke to Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive in the Executive Office of the President. She is the person who is leading the oversight of the agency sustainability plans. Hear that conversation here.

* Somebody who just did it: Want to have hope in what you can do… and in young people… Last week, I got to talk to a 29-year-old woman who is making a difference. Saskia van Gendt is a resource conservation specialist at the EPA… and she is working in the field of “climaterials” — essentially the greening of all the materials to make buildings. And she launched a contest — the Lifecycle Building Challenge, a yearly online competition that recognizes cutting-edge building design and challenges students, architects and builders to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. This ‘just do it’ attitude scored her a place as a finalist for the Service to America Medals — the SAMMIES. Hear Ms. van Gendt talk about what she did here.

* Beneath the Green Dome: My colleague Amy Morris did a series looking at the greening of the Capitol. Find that series here.

Tomorrow… is there a better way to do sustainability plans?

Written by cdorobek

June 21, 2010 at 9:51 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Week in review: June 13-19 — telework, pay freeze, and salaries

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What stories made news for the week of June 13-19?

Here are the most read stories across Federal News Radio 1500 AM … on the … for Mike Causey’s Federal Report… on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris… and for

…from the

  1. Government still faces numerous teleworking challenges
  2. Obama orders cuts in federal building costs
  3. How to get your TSP questions answered
  4. DOJ sues Oracle for alleged overcharging
  5. How to create the best federal cybersecurity workforce
  6. Agencies to compile ‘do not pay list’
  7. Agencies to crack down on waste, fraud, abuse
  8. Google Apps could help agencies move to the cloud
  9. Are Katrina/Deepwater comparisons appropriate?
  10. Report endorses pay for performance for Intel community
  11. Dorobek Must Reads – June 11
  12. Military Health System works out e-record kinks
  13. Dorobek Must Reads – June 17
  14. Web inventor discusses importance of open data
  15. Rep. Towns supports MMS restructuring
  16. Dorobek Must Reads – June 14
  17. How to get more minorities, women to participate in TSP
  18. What the cuts in federal building costs really mean
  19. Analysis: New cybersecurity bill promises big changes
  20. GAO: Collaboration is important for national security
  21. DHS requires agencies to provide network monitoring data
  22. U.S. electrical grid faces cybersecurity challenges
  23. House members support Senate cyber bill
  24. Dorobek Must Reads – June 15
  25. Why there’s still worry about the Conficker worm
  26. Is blaming the MMS really fair?
  27. Analysis: SCOTUS upholds ‘sexy text’ search
  28. DorobekINSIDER: Most read on Federal News Radio 1500 AM: June 6-12
  29. Learn all about the new Good News Czar
  30. Worldwide cybersecurity framework needed
  31. DoD: Improvements coming soon for health e-records
  32. Dorobek Must Reads – June 16
  33. How to improve the leadership skills of executives
  34. American man in custody after plot to kill bin Laden fails
  35. Agencies must justify non-competitive contracts
  36. Hiring reforms could mean big changes for veterans
  37. Senate cybersecurity bill: one step closer to passing
  38. Enterprises need to be proactive in cyber war
  39. Friday Fun Day: Plan to go to the National Harbor
  40. Most TSP funds suffer losses in May
  41. Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn launches new museum tour app
  42. Chances good for passage of TSP/annual leave bill
  43. U.S. agencies now collaborate to fight drug cartels
  44. DorobekINSIDER: Is cybersecurity over-hyped?
  45. Preview: Your monthly TSP Snapshot
  46. A look at the level of technology in federal offices
  47. House committee examines SBINet success
  48. Should feds be allowed to telework from anywhere?
  49. House says cybersecurity threat worse than it thought

… for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. Pay Freeze? We Need To Talk
  2. Pay Freeze: Everybody in the Pool!
  3. The Smartest Fed Investors Work For…
  4. The $3 Million G-Man
  5. Time is Running Out for FEHBP Dependents
  6. Federal Pay Freeze: A November Surprise?
  7. Travel, Training, Hiring Hit List
  8. Good Son of NSPS or Bride of Frankenstein
  9. TSP Millionaires & Record Rollovers
  10. NSPS Express: Train Wreck or Rest Stop?

… on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris

  1. Cyberthreat of Joe Biden leads to arrest
  2. Monday Morning Federal Newscast – June 14th
  3. Friday Morning Federal Newscast – June 18th
  4. Federal retirees should consider the Roth IRA
  5. How to succeed in the SES
  6. Tuesday Morning Federal Newscast – June 15th
  7. OMB redefines performance expectations
  8. GAO: Agency rules allow conferences at resort locations
  9. Thursday Morning Federal Newscast – June 17th
  10. GPO reassures your passport is secure
  11. NSPS move cuts raises of the ‘best and brightest’
  12. Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – June 16th
  13. Agencies allow conferences at resort locations
  14. How to translate language skills into success
  15. USPTO turns to Google for help with TMI
  16. The ten biggest errors federal employees make, pt. 2
  17. ‘Shady’ porn site practices pose cyber risks
  18. DLA and FEMA prepare for hurricane season
  19. U.S. seeks allies in battle against cyber warfare
  20. Friday Morning Federal Newscast – June 11th

… and from

  1. OPM wants to settle the fed salary debate
  2. Federal pay freeze proposal defeated
  3. GSA plans to take e-mail, collaboration to the cloud
  4. OPM freezes transfer of employee files, for now
  5. Navy CIO Carey leaving
  6. OMB pressing agencies to get IT projects on track
  7. House bill would require manager training at all agencies
  8. Air Force saves cash by changing cell phone rate plans
  9. DoD shows off health IT progress
  10. OMB preparing performance management dashboard
  11. Support snowballs early for Senate cyber bill
  12. Exclusive: OMB to propose major changes to financial management systems
  13. Bill would put DHS in charge of all civilian networks
  14. VA tries to speed claims processing for vets
  15. Cybersecurity bill gets first Senate hearing
  16. Telework success depends on clear expectations
  17. DHS women convene inaugural diversity forum
  18. Senate’s newest cyber bill on fast track to passage
  19. Critical tests to decide future of DHS’s virtual fence
  20. Feds lead Smart Grid development effort
  21. White House tells agencies to use data analysis to reduce improper payments
  22. Task force seeks comments on small business contracting
  23. HHS creates process to certify health IT systems
  24. NTEU slams federal pay freeze
  25. HUD embraces Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
  26. NIH faces economic strains in 2011
  27. Hearing offers suggestions for reducing Medicare waste, fraud
  28. No federal pay freeze for now
  29. Federal News Radio Reports
  30. CIS upgrading E-Verify Web site
  31. Feds lead smart grid development effort
  32. Mobile apps, TechStat lead OMB’s IT evolution
  33. VA reaping rewards from IT oversight
  34. OMB must sell Congress on budget cuts
  35. Section: WFED Stories
  36. Executive Order seals OPM hiring reforms
  37. OMB finally details broad management doctrine
  38. SBA CIO Naylor resigns
  39. OPM tests letting feds work without a schedule
  40. TSP Snapshot: What goes up does go down
  41. GSA SLAMs its IT modernization project
  42. White House asks agencies to cut spending by 5 percent
  43. GOP lawmakers pitch fed workforce reduction bill
  44. House lawmakers uneasy about hiring reforms
  45. GSA reissues RFQ for cloud computing
  46. OPM to test new employee health services
  47. OPM proposes changes to management of personnel files
  48. OMB’s Werfel lays out new plan to follow agency money
  49. DoD vows to become a leaner organization
  50. FISMA’s facelift focuses on four areas, for now

Written by cdorobek

June 21, 2010 at 7:23 AM