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Maryland Hires Bryan Sivak as State’s First Chief Innovation Officer

Former Washington, D.C., chief technology officer now working out IT budget for Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Former Washington, D.C., CTO Bryan Sivak has landed on his feet as Maryland’s first chief innovation officer, according to Sivak’s Twitter and a post on the TechPresident blog.

Sivak told TechPresident on Wednesday, his second day working for Gov. Martin O’Malley, that the particulars of his job remain up in the air and that he’s working without a budget for now.

When Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray defeated incumbent Adrian Fenty last year, Sivak suddenly was forced to look for a new gig after one year in D.C. government.

He was in the middle of moving the district’s IT department to a Results-Only Work Environment and was expanding open government initiatives and data-driven decision-making. Sivak was also excited about federal stimulus funds targeted at Washington, D.C.’s digital divide and concerned about the district’s disparity in broadband connectivity.

In Maryland, Sivak will likely see similar challenges, strengths and weaknesses. O’Malley has received acclaim —and some critics — for supporting analytics-based management. Sivak was working on similar data initiatives during his brief time in D.C. TechPresident mentioned that Sivak might also work on the state’s portal for purchasing health insurance, and could enact processes that tolerate risk in government IT projects.

Sivak came to the public sector in 2009 after founding InQuira, a provider of business applications.

The position of chief innovation officer — a job that’s become increasingly common in IT companies —could be gaining some traction in government. The Obama White House has minted a deputy CTO for innovation, a job now occupied by former San Francisco CIO Chris Vein. (San Francisco also has an innovation manager, Jay Nath.) Boston is also moving in a similar direction, with two staffers who lead ventures within City Hall from the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics.

 

Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.
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