The Obama administration’s top tech man told a crowd of web gurus on Tuesday that he’s seeking “quick wins” that demonstrate a “big impact,” aiming to aggressively expand the government’s online presence by launching tech-friendly fixes in the next six months.
“Not all of these initiatives require laws… This is just about mindset,” Aneesh Chopra told a standing room only crowd at the Open Government and Innovations Conference, a gathering of federal employees, contractors and other web gurus committed to spreading Web 2.0 technology across the government. (Follow conference updates on Twitter by searching for #ogi.)
President Obama appointed the the former Virginia technology secretary as the nation’s first chief technology officer. Chopra said that while the White House has historically placed different policy priorities into special offices headed by directors like himself, technology will be treated differently.
“When Obama was a candidate, he acknowledged that for too long, America had been treating technology and innovation as a box unto itself,” he said.
“We need to incorporate the ideas, the principles, the opportunities that are presented by this emerging capacity. Not just in technology policy, but in almost every significant decision we confront as a nation.”
For example, “When we build roads, we want those roads to beam out data to you so you can figure out how to get home.” Chopra also pointed to Obama’s late June announcement that the the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office will soon launch a new Web site allowing applicants to get status updates via text message, e-mail or through the new site. Obama gave USCIS, Chopra’s office and Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients only 90 days to launch the project.