As someone who has successfully implemented a major management reform across the entire federal government, I consider innovating in government to be one of the highest callings of civil servants. The purpose of our government is stated beautifully in the Preamble of the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
The Challenge of Government Innovation
To achieve this purpose, our government must continually find new ways to serve its people because the challenges of our society and people are ever-evolving. Unfortunately, a giant bureaucracy is slow to change, inefficient, and ineffective in many areas.
Open data and open source concepts were formed in 2007, and that has helped public leaders in recent years began to develop and implement innovative programs in government. As a result, significant progress has been made through the efforts of some talented and committed political appointees and career civil servants.
Still, much remains to be done, as innovating in government requires courage and perseverance. It requires courage because the resistance to change is strong and the commitment to maintain the status quo is deep. It requires perseverance because changing course takes hard work and time. Many government leaders have tried to break the entrenched bureaucracy only to be driven out by institutional maneuvers or due to burnout.
Thankfully, there are still many executives in the government who continue to push for innovation and improvements despite these challenges, especially when it comes to the use of data and technology to solve complex problems. We are seeing amazing work being accomplished by multiple agencies and see opportunities for more.
Pioneers of a More Data Driven Union
To encourage such courageous government leaders Elder Research is creating an interview series called Pioneers of a More Data Driven Union to spotlight those who are leveraging technology and analytics to solve complex problems for the public good, as expressed in the Preamble, “in Order to form a more perfect Union”. By sharing their stories, we aim to honor their commitment and courage, and hope that their examples will inspire more leaders to do the same.
Our first series, focused on “Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Public Good”, will include six segments:
- What is AI and how is it used in industry and government?
- What is the role of federal policy in maintaining American leadership in AI?
- How is AI being applied to improve $700B worth of grantmaking?
- How is AI being applied to maximize the Oversight community’s impact with limited resources?
- How is AI being applied to gain insights and detect anomalies for federal regulators?
- What can the Chief Data Officer and Chief Information Officer community do to accelerate AI adoption in government?
Each segment will include an interview with experts on the topic and will be published as a video and podcast. Our first episode is scheduled for release by mid-November so be on the lookout for it.
To achieve the timeless purpose of our government given the complexity of our challenges, let us all aspire to be pioneers who are committed and innovative problem solvers for public good.