The IBM Center for the Business of Government Expands Its Focus on Innovation

This articles was originally posted by Dan Chenok on the Center for the Business of Government Blog.

In the last several years, the focus on innovation as a core driver to government performance and transformation has increased significantly. The role of Chief Technology Officers, and new positions of Chief Innovation Officers and new Innovation offices in a number of agencies, pose challenges for leaders regarding how best leverage this burgeoning areas of expertise. In that light, the Center for The Business of Government is enhancing its focus on innovation as a key element in helping government solve hard problems.

Two years ago, the Center entered this space when we our first Social Media Director. The impetus for that move was obvious: as government opened up and became more participatory, the demand on agencies to incorporate social media into their operations would only rise. For the Center to incorporate this into helping agency leaders to achieve their missions and perform more efficiently and effectively, we brought in Gadi Ben-Yehuda, a subject matter expert in social media.

In the two years since, both the Center and federal agencies have seen a shift in the open government landscape. While social media is still a dominant feature, it now shares the topography with other issues, and chief among them is innovation. In a way, innovation is the mountain chain of which social media is one of the higher peaks–along with data analysis, mobility, and other topics. To continue providing value to meet the evolving needs federal agencies, Gadi has become an increasingly important player in the innovation arena, and we have redefined as the Director for Innovation and Social Media.

This introduces a new set of challenges and questions to explore, in our blog and in discussions with government and its stakeholders. Such questions include: What innovative technologies, and uses of those technologies, loom on the horizon? How can we encourage a culture of innovation within government? And how do we measure the success not simply of one or two innovative programs, but of instilling the value of innovation with respect to government work?

Our goal is to observe, and where appropriate, assist, as agencies develop and implement new technologies and methodologies for accomplishing their missions. Two years ago, much of the innovation that was happening centered on social media. Today, innovation requires more than a social component. In this new role, Gadi will strengthen our capacity to help government to understand and embrace what’s coming next.

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