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12 Ways to Bring Silicon Valley to DC – NextGen’s Ryan Allis

How exactly do you bring Silicon Valley innovation to government?

“You have to give a damn about other people. You can make a difference no matter what sector of the economy you are in. My goal is to use tech to help solve the big human challenges,” said Ryan Allis.

Ryan Allis was the co-founder and CEO of iContact. Now Ryan is the CEO of Connect.com. He was the morning keynote at the Next Generation of Government Training Summit.

Allis kicked off his session asking the crowd to make silly faces. Why? “Because in order to be creative you have to allocate time for innovation, time to think outside the box. The crazy faces help open you up to thinking differently.”

What’s Wrong Now?

“Right now you are doing something that matters. But sometimes there might be a little disconnect. Something just feels off, and you lose track of the big picture. There are people who aren’t motivated. People who are lazy, people who haven’t worked in two years.”

Space for Creativity Can Wither

“Creativity gets slotted at the end if at all. And when you go into a brainstorming session, many people who are older don’t understand creativity. It is your job to cut through the bullshit. You are Gen Y, and you don’t have to deal with it, because we are going to be running the country in 20 years.”

“If you want government to improve you have to embrace technology and efficiency.”

12 Ways to Bring Silicon Valley to Gov

  1. Create awesome workspaces
  2. Data, Data, Data
  3. Ensure the supportive environment
  4. Managers provide real-time feedback
  5. Let people go who aren’t performing
  6. Make processes simple and efficient
  7. Open internal communication (Wiki, IM)
  8. Put up real time dashboards in lobbies
  9. Treat customers like god
  10. Have immense empathy for the customer
  11. Constantly improve the user experience
  12. Even make the customer experience enjoyable

7 Takeaways for your boss

  • Real-time dashboards
  • Real-time performance feedback
  • Open and quick communications
  • Simplify processes
  • Remove bad performers
  • Practice true empathy for customers
  • You have the power for innovation

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David Kuehn

What really seperates Sillicon Valley from most everywhere else: outrageous paydays. Would you get young people working at all hours in St. Louis, Detroit, or Buffalo if there were the same chance at capital for their ideas? So what does this mean for government? The paydays will not be there, but people could get the same chance at capital for their ideas through stage gate funded pilot programs using SBIR for services not just technology and providing more coaching for concepts that are technical feasible to work through market risk.