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The 2020 View: A Welcome from the Co-Directors of the CDG

Center for Digital Government Co-Directors Teri Takai and Phil Bertolini outline the CDG’s mission to inspire and connect leaders in government technology.

by Teri Takai and Phil Bertolini / January 15, 2020

Happy New Year to all government technology professionals across the country. Welcome to our new monthly column focused on the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the issues that directly impact government technology. As co-directors of the CDG, our mission is to “inspire local government leaders to act while encouraging influential engagement that will help guide innovations to make government better,” and our vision is to “nurture local government leaders toward sustainable innovation by being the pre-eminent best practices resource for the nation.” In the words of our founder and CEO, we are working diligently to “make government better.”

As 2020 begins, a new year of CDG opportunities is in the offing. Soon, the State, County and City Digital Surveys along with the Government Experience Awards Survey will be headed your way. And when we say soon, we mean it. Our Digital States Survey will be live on February 3 and our Digital Counties Survey will be live on February 12, so be ready! We will provide more information as we get closer to the Digital Cities Survey and Government Experience Awards Survey release dates.

These surveys are an opportunity to gain a foundational understanding of what you have and a structured road map for what you need. We understand that government IT is faced with incredible opportunities and challenges while working hard to serve the public. These opportunities and challenges can be daunting at times with many public servants feeling that they are in the fight alone. We are here to say, you are not alone. Government technology professionals across the country are battling the same issues but at different levels and scales. These surveys provide a much-needed benchmarking opportunity for governments to move their technology initiatives forward while managing the risks. Some government officials use the surveys as a functional annual report for their leaders and legislative bodies to help codify their strategic direction.

As former CIOs, we understand the importance of recognizing your teams for the innovative work they do for citizens. We can all agree that saying thank you and good job internally provides some satisfaction but receiving kudos from a national thought leadership organization is priceless. Government technology professionals make a point to reach out to their peers in times of need. Knowing who to reach out to for what is half the battle. Being part of the surveys and awards builds the necessary kinship with peers who have been there and done that. We are reminded of a quote used by former President John F. Kennedy, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Sharing best practices through the surveys creates a rich knowledge base that enables all the boats to rise.

As you all can surmise, we are making a strong case for you to participate in the survey process to the fullest. We stand ready to help in any way we can by providing guidance through webinars that help delineate what it takes to make the best technology case possible. The surveys will conclude with grades for states and rankings for local governments, while the Government Experience Awards will be presented to those that are serving their populations digitally with excellence. Each survey will culminate in an awards event where government technology professionals will be recognized and celebrated with their peers. These events also provide an incredible opportunity to network with those who have also earned distinction as being the best.

So, welcome 2020 and the opportunities you bring for governments across the nation. State and local governments are where the “rubber hits the road” for providing services to citizens. Innovation is happening and governments are finding ways to get stuff done. Just remember this: You are not in this alone. We are here to help.

Teri Takai and Phil Bertolini are co-directors of the Center for Digital Government.

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