VanRoekel and Park Open Up about Government Innovation
One of the highlights of the FedScoop Innovation Summit was the tag team presentation delivered by Steven VanRoekel, federal CIO, and Todd Park, federal CTO. They talked in detail about the recently launched Digital Government Strategy, their open data initiatives and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program.
The centerpiece of the Digital Government Strategy is the idea that “open data is the new default” and that APIs should be readily available for enterprising developers. By way of example, GPS technology, which was invented by the Department of Defense, generated more than $90B to the U.S. economy in the last year. The federal government is hoping to replicate this economic boost by opening up other technology and data sets.
VanRoekel and Park discussed the open data initiatives that are currently in progress in the areas of health, safety, energy and education. The process involves some of the brightest minds from government, industry and academia. It usually starts at an event – a Data Jam – where these experts develop a list of services or apps that can be generated from the open data. Roughly ninety days later – at a “DataPalooza” event – the services and apps are unveiled. For example, the 2012 HealthDataPalooza took place two weeks ago at the D.C. Convention Center, “the only venue big enough to contain the awesomeness,” according to Park. Two hundred and forty-two apps and services were unveiled. And the total cost to the U.S. government? Nothing.
VanRoekel and Park also talked a bit about the Presidential Innovation Fellows, a six-month program that teams citizen-innovators with government standouts to build a better government through technology. According to Park, more than 700 people applied for fifteen open positions across various projects. In addition, more than 4,000 people have signed up to follow the projects and contribute their expertise in different ways across various initiatives.
This group of fellows will work on the following five initiatives:
You can sign up to follow the Fellows’ progress here.
Much was discussed during the FedScoop Innovation Summit, but it all came back to a single, important point: that there are initiatives within the federal government designed to move our country forward through innovative technologies. And at the heart of these initiatives are the inspired and hard-working people that are bringing these ambitious projects to reality.
Photo: Courtesy of FedScoop