I agree with Alex’s assessment that we need more focus on citizen-centric services. Data.gov, Recovery.gov, Open Government Directive – those things are great, don’t get me wrong. They’re absolutely needed and are a step in the right direction. But, as Mark Drapeau has said a few times before, the average citizen doesn’t see, hear, or care about Gov 2.0. I’d love to see Chris focus more efforts on improving the technology AND the practices at the citizen-to-government level. Instill a culture of authenticity, transparency, and helpfulness beyond the Beltway and into the local DMVs and TSA agents.
I’d also like to see a greater focus on hiring the right people to do this sort of work. I’m not talking about some generic “we need to hire the best and brightest civil servants…blah blah blah.” I’m talking about going out and specifically recruiting the top technology students from across the country. Technology is obviously an important part of his job (that’s the “T” in CTO), but it takes really smart people to develop, implement, and adapt that technology. Top engineers in Silicon Valley are worth their weight in gold, but our government tends to look at these roles as almost interchangeable. We need to pour more money into recruiting top talent in the tech space, training and grooming them, and then retaining them. I don’t think our government should have to settle for anything less than top talent.
At the end of the day, the technology and the programs that Chris implements won’t be his legacy – that will be determined by the people he hires, trains, equips, and empowers.