Stuck in traffic? Read the Pre-Memorial Day Round-up (only for passengers!): 05.23.2014

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

  • Dare to Share. Though the Fast CoExist article “How To Build A Circular Economy That’s Less Wasteful And More Prosperous” focuses on private-sector organizations, many of its recommendations are a good fit for government agencies–especially at the state and local level.
  • A Low-Lying Cloud. And here comes “fog computing.” The idea is that instead of sending all data to the cloud, and doing most of the processing there, data and processing is distributed to machines all over the network. Comparisons to ‘vaporware,’ alas, are all too easy.

Dan Chenok

John Kamensky

  • A Recent History of Government Reform. Aneesh Chopra, who was President Obama’s first Chief Technology Officer, offers his version of the Obama Administration’s early government reform efforts in a column for NextGov, boldly titled “How a Small Group of Entrepreneurs Transformed Government Services.”
  • A Longer History of Management Reforms. Alan Balutis, in Federal Times, sums up highlights of a forum held at the National Academy of Public Administration that reflected on presidential management initiatives stretching back over the past five presidential administrations – and why these reform efforts often failed to achieve what they set out to do.
  • A History of How the DATA Act Became Law. Here’s an interesting story on Vox.Com by Andrew Prokop of a recently-signed piece of bipartisan legislation and how it became law in the midst of what has been called a gridlocked Congress.
  • Governance Matters. Richard Spires is writing a series of columns for Federal Computer Week on the five key elements to help ensure the success of major IT programs. In this column, he explores how to put “a program governance model in place that recognizes the proper roles and authorities of the important stakeholders.”
  • Project Management Matters, Too. William Jackson, Government Computer News, sums the highlights from a FOSE Panel examining the challenges of effectively managing large IT projects. Panelists conclude: “The task of integrating people and organizations in a complex IT project is more difficult than integrating the technology itself.”
  • Closing the Contract Officer Training Gap. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, writes: “Federal contracting officers now have a consistent set of certification requirements no matter where they work. . . . The Office of Federal Procurement Policy updated the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C) policy May 7 to bring civilian agencies more in-line with the Defense Department.”
  • GAO on Creating Acquisition Incentives. The Government Accountability Office examines Defense acquisition reforms in recent years and concludes: “Reforms that focus mainly on the mechanisms of the acquisition process are only partial remedies because they do not address incentives to deviate from sound practice.” It offers a series of recommendations on how to use incentives instead of processes and compliance as a path forward to improve procurement actions.

Michael Keegan

Remembering the human element in innovation
nnovation is not just about technology. And for an administration that prides itself on its drive to innovate, there is still room for improvement. “It’s heavily technology focused,” said Kathryn Stack, adviser for evidence-based innovation at the Office of Management and Budget, in an interview. ”

Program management: Governance matters
Getting stakeholders to agree on desired outcomes and ways to achieve them is crucial to ensuring the success of IT programs.

Federal HR reforms demand an inside/out strategy
Several agency chief human capital officers say wholesale changes to the federal hiring, recruiting, retaining and firing processes are needed now more than ever. It’s no longer just a matter of using the authorities available, they say.

4 viewpoints on trust in government
Trust is fickle and just a few small events can cause that trust to break. In part 3 of Federal News Radio’s special report, Trust Redefined: Reconnecting Government and Its Employees, we asked federal employee groups and union leaders about how they define trust between employees and the government now, and what this trust will look like in the future

Looking back to move forward
Alastair Mitchell argues it is a good time to revisit the goals and guidelines of the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy.

FITARA in play in House defense bill
Call it the federal IT bill that wouldn’t quit. The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act is getting another chance at passage in the defense bill set to be debated in the House of Representatives.

Building the systems for innovation
The decisions you make regarding strategy guide where you focus your innovation efforts. The structure you put into place acts as the foundation for the innovation process. However, even with the proper strategy and structure in place, innovation could fail if your systems are inadequate. The management systems are the mechanisms that, to a great extent, make innovation happen. In small organizations, innovation usually happens as a natural occurrence through the insight, talent and interaction of a small group of people. But as organizations expand, innovation no longer happens so naturally — the right people may not interact, the information may not flow to the right places, and the motivation to take risks may diminish. Organizations as large as General Electric or Proctor & Gamble may develop silos — compartmentalized departments that barely communicate with each other, much less strive to innovate. This is why larger organizations need systems to manage innovation. Ignoring this and staying anchored in the idea that innovation naturally occurs lead to frustration and failure. The argument that large institutions are not able to innovate may reflect the lack of acceptance of this basic idea: Innovation has to be managed; it does not just “happen.”

The Business of Government Radio Show: Curtis Coy

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government.

Curtis “Curt” L. Coy was appointed deputy under secretary for economic opportunity in the Department of Veterans Affairs on May 9, 2011. In this role, Coy oversees all education benefits (GI Bill), loan guaranty service (VA loans), vocational rehabilitation and employment issues.

How does the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs promote employment opportunities for veterans? What is VA doing to enhance opportunities for veterans to obtain knowledge and skills to properly transition into civilian life? What programs provide opportunities for veterans to obtain, retain and adapt at home? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Curtis Coy, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED

If you can’t wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week’s program and all our previous interviews at and by searching our audio archives.

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