When Jonathan Reichental became CIO of Palo Alto, Calif., he was warned repeatedly that government moves slowly.
But the former CIO of O’Reilly Media was used to moving fast. In all, Reichental had spent 15 years in various private-sector tech positions, and he was ready to cut past some of the bureaucracy and get projects under way.
Since joining the city in December 2011, Reichental and his team have delivered more than 100 projects — revamping the city’s website, launching an open data platform and a city finance tracking website, and overhauling a 25-year-old legacy analog phone system.
“My personality is to take an idea, move it through and get it out so it’s valuable,” he said.
But launching projects quickly can mean not getting them perfect in their initial phase. Reichental is a vocal proponent of a “lean startup approach” for some government IT projects. The approach involves releasing beta versions of technology projects to users and incorporating their suggestions.
Reichental also is a leader in public-sector use of social media. In February 2012, he coordinated the city’s first Twitter Q and A, which let citizens ask officials about city issues. The tweets were captured and stored on social media archiving platform Storify.
What’s next for Reichental? “The best stuff is coming,” he said.
Photo by David Kidd