Promising new startup of 2009 - Executive branch of the US federal Government
Posted Aug 16 2009 10:32pm
The video below is from the "Disruptive By Design" conference from “Wired”. It is about 45 minutes and covers a lot of areas the government is working on, like getting Social Security out of Cobol and the new FDA Sentinel system. You do have to admit this is the most IT action the US has seen at government levels in years, now that we have some “smart” people in positions of authority.
U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra pretty much lays it out on what’s happening and where he has plans to go. He focuses on transparency and releasing data to the public so they can analyze read and even help the government solve problems in the process. Data.Gov is growing by leaps and bounds and we may have all visited that page for information. Healthcare is right up there with putting the Swine Flu is available.
He states the government is still working with systems that were built 30-40 years ago. Also all of the transparency is opening many doors that have been closed for years and he promotes the use of open source when it works. The Patent Office is requiring a 10 million dollar upgrade. He talks about leveraging Cloud computing with information that is not sensitive, but needs to be accessible. He states the government has not been very friendly with inviting new technology and is playing catch up. He states the government should be able to lead and not feel they are always behind and uses DARPA and NASA as examples.
People that want to keep “status quo” are being the most disruptive, those who resist change. Lobbying groups may be upset over losing some old Cobol contracts he states as an example with some of the legacy systems. He also talks about President Obama being very “tech savvy” and supportive.
At the end of the video he does a question and answer session with the audience. He also talks about the quality of data we have today. If you are in IT, this is one to watch. BD
What's remarkable about these sites is not merely that they exist; There had been some efforts to provide this kind of information in the past. Rather, what stands out is that they exhibit a lot of the traits of some of the best tech startups in Silicon Valley or New York City. Each site has remarkably consistent branding elements, leading to a predictable and trustworthy sense of place when you visit the sites. There is clear attention to design, both from the cosmetic elements of these pages, and from the thoughtfulness of the information architecture on each site. (The clear, focused promotional areas on each homepage feel just like the "Sign up now!" links on the site of most Web 2.0 companies.) And increasingly, these services are being accompanied by new APIs and data sources that can be used by others to build interesting applications.
And it's just as essential to note the way in which these changes have happened. Something like the USA Spending dashboard would have taken half a year or more to deploy in any large-sized corporation; Our government got it done in just a few months. How did they do it? Well, the team in the CIO's office was working nights and weekends, borrowing time and resources as they were able in order to get something useful shipping as quickly as possible. In short, they were working startup hours, with a startup's level of intensity, because they knew they were making something cool and useful.
Data.gov, providing open access to feeds of valuable facts and figures generated by the executive branch.
USAspending.gov, allowing any of us to drill down into the details of spending from various federal agencies.
Recovery.gov, perhaps one of the best-known of the new sites, offering up details of how resources from the Recovery Act are being allocated.