There is a false perception that government technology is always slow in embracing innovation. Based on my recent experience at the recent 2015 ACT-IAC Igniting Innovation Conference and Awards (Igniting Innovation), I would say that innovation not only exists in the public sector but that the federal government is leading the way in using more efficient, cost-effective and innovative technologies to solve society’s problems. The Igniting Innovation event is an opportunity for IT leaders in the public and private sectors to converge and recognize the Top 30 IT solutions, services and products that best exemplify collaboration and innovation in the federal government. At the event, Departments and Agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, to name a few, shared their innovative IT solutions. Recognized as a Top 30 Igniting Innovation award recipient because of our work on a cloud based application, Insite, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Corner Alliance found itself surrounded by over 600 conference attendees who shared similar beliefs that technology can improve how the government functions.
While the event had public sector technology innovations that covered a wide spectrum of topics, such as the National Cancer Institute’s smoking cessation program, TSA’s travel pre-check services, and the event’s winner New York City’s crowdsourced permit management system, there were still predominate themes across many nominees.
3 Trends Shaping Government Technology:
One of the first big themes from the Top 30 Igniting Innovation recipients without a doubt was big data. Government agencies have access to more data than they they often know what to do with at times. Previously various sets of data would sit in separate silos and analyzing connections was an arduous process. But with innovative programs like the Department of Labor’s Open Government Initiative, which pulls information from 6 disparate information systems, not only the government but the public as well can search and analyze this data. While we at Corner Alliance believe that not all data sets need to be big data sets to be useful, those agencies with access to more data can see huge benefits.
Mobile and Apps are King
As we walked around the event, the other theme that was hard to ignore was the use of mobile devices and apps to make government more accessible. Smart phones have completely altered the way we live our day-to-day lives and we want to interact with our government in many of the same ways we interact in our personal lives. Mobile devices and apps were being used for the National Cancer Institute’s smoking cessation program, the winning New York City crowdsourced permit management system, and even helping Utahans keep track of their hunting and fishing licenses. Mobile and app based innovations will be huge for government going forward in every sector from health to public safety.
As supporters of innovation on a budget one of our favorite themes was the use of open sourced technology. Many agencies think that innovative technologies are out of their reach because of perceived cost, but with the availability of open sourced technology many of the top 30 recipients instituted their programs for little to no cost. That’s a trend that all taxpayers can appreciate.
We were excited to see and be amongst so many government innovators. It was a good reminder that the public sector is pushing the boundaries of what technology can do for citizens. What innovations do you most want to see from government?