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Archive for December 22nd, 2008

VA CIO Bob Howard reportedly has a new gig

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VA CIO Robert Howard

VA CIO Robert Howard

I don’t have it fully confirmed yet, but… I’m hearing from VA and industry sources that VA CIO Robert Howard has post-January 20 job.

Howard, a political appointee, is reportedly going to be the COO for a small, women-owned company. I don’t know which one — leads welcome and names will be kept quiet, of course.

Howard has served as the VA CIO since September 30, 2006. He is one of a few CIOs that have control over VA IT spending — and the only one to have that authority by law. Howard came on board as VA was reeling from a unencrypted laptop that was stolen from a VA employees home in the DC suburb of Montgomery County, MD.

If anybody knows where he is going, let me know.

You can read Howard’s bio after the break.

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Written by cdorobek

December 22, 2008 at 7:43 PM

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.
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Written by cdorobek

December 22, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Most read DorobekInsider items for the past 7 days

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As we head into the holidays, things this week will really start to calm down. (I’ll be away starting Christmas and return Jan. 5. I’ll probably continue to post, but it will be somewhat less regularly.)

Anyway… the most read items on the DorobekInsider over the past 7-days:

  1. HUD CIO Lisa Schlosser to join to EPA
  2. Federal News Radio — the next generation (As mentioned below in number 10, there is also a video tour of the new Federal News Radio studio.)
  3. The big government CIO challenge: people… The most critical technology: Web 2.0, CIO survey finds (We had the authors of the report on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Friday. Hear that conversation here.)
  4. IAC transition reports are out… and we’ll hear from them Tuesday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM
  5. A happy birthday to… Joanne Connelly and Lisa Schlosser
  6. 1105 GovInfo’s Nancy Ferris to retire
  7. FCW’s Fed 100 Awards: Recognizing the good work done by people… nominations are open for FCW’s annual Fed 100 awards (Yes — nominations for the Fed 100s close this week — Dec. 23 — so guess what I’m working on this week — and as promised, I’ll post my nominations here on the
  8. IAC meets with Team Obama
  9. poll: What do you think of Team Obama’s team? (You can still vote, but… you seem to like the team so far… 33 percent give them an “A”; 50 percent give them a “B”; 17 percent give them a “C”; and nothing falls ‘below average.”)
  10. Hearing that Interior has named a new CIO — and, in fact, Interior does have a new CIO — Sonny Bhagowalia started earlier this month.
  11. FCW gets a new editor: David Rapp
  12. A video walking tour of Federal News Radio 1500 AM
  13. The president-elect announces his science and technology team — but no CTO yet
  14. A government 2.0 movie — really (We had the director of the movie on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Friday. You can hear that conversation here .)
  15. What would you ask Team Obama — is now open for questions
  16. Interior’s Howell to move to OMB
  17. Microsoft federal names a CTO — a chief transition officer
  18. Read a draft of the much discussed OMB CIO memo
  19. Obit: Christina Nelson, formerly of the Digital Government Institute

Written by cdorobek

December 22, 2008 at 8:27 AM

Posted in DorobekInsider