January 22, 2009 By Emma Newcombe
Along with new positions such as the nation's first CTO, the Obama administration has created a new group, the TIGR (Technology, Innovation and Government Reform) Team.
According to a video recently posted on the Change.gov site (now http://www.whitehouse.gov following the inauguration), TIGR is dedicated to fostering innovation within government. As TIGR team member and Washington, D.C., CTO Vivek Kundra explains on the video, "One of the biggest problems of the federal government is that process has trumped outcome ... everyone is focused on compliance; nobody is thinking about innovation and how to drive change within the government." TIGR hopes to foster innovation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government programs.
Members of the TIGR team have a variety of experience, coming from backgrounds in both the private and public sectors. Along with CTO Kundra, the team includes Beth Noveck, professor of law at New York Law School; Dan Chenok, senior VP and general manager of Pragmatics Inc.; Blair Levin, managing director of Stifel Nicolaus Research Team; and Andrew McLaughlin, head of Global Public Policy and Government Affairs for Google.
Besides focusing on innovation, the TIGR team is also working to increase transparency in government. The team recently launched the Citizen's Briefing Book, an online program that allows citizens to put their proposals and ideas about government issues online. Noveck explains that, with the Briefing Book, the government "will be sure to get the best ideas for the beginning of the administration."
The TIGR also wants to bring other innovative and cost-effective changes to government, such as creating mash-ups with government data and utilizing cloud computing.
The reform team has high hopes for the new administration's ability to accept and implement these IT changes. Andrew McLaughlin explains, saying "I think you're going to see a lot more experimentation across the federal government and a lot more implementation of these kinds of tools that are really commonplace on the Web right now."
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