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Issue of the Week: Could mobile computing help solve the budget problem?

Welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek. Each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead.

There were a number of stories that could of been our Issue of the Week.

  • The GSA conference case lurched forward with legislation in Congress seeking to cut government conference spending — and add transparency to the conferences that feds do attend.
  • The Secret Service situation also appeared to broaden this week as there were allegations that the parties may not have been isolated to Columbia. On CBS This Morning on Friday, Sen. Chuck Grassley said, ‘Nothing changes in Washington unless heads roll’ re Secret Service
  • Even developments on federal agency spending. The Hill notes that the House and Senate Appropriations committees continued on their collision course by passing three annual spending bills tailored to different overall budget numbers. The Senate is following numbers from last year’s Budget Control Act, while the House is seeking deeper cuts in non-defense spending. And yes, there is early talk of a budget showdown.

But our issue of the week focuses on something that is touching each just about everybody these days — it’s mobile government.

The federal Chief Information Officer Steve VanRoekel is expected to issue the federal mobile government strategy any time now. But why all this attention on mobile? New data shows that is where the people are and it just may be a way to increase satisfaction with government.

Larry Freed is the president and CEO of ForeSee. ForSee does the quarterly government satisfaction survey to see what people think about the information they can find online. And they’re just out with an assessment of mobile. Chris Dorobek asked him why they did this survey.

Issue of the Week: Could mobile computing help solve the budget problem? by GovLoop Insights

Your Weekend Reads:

  • The New Yorker this week has a fascinating article out about maybe the future of education. The article talks about how online learning just could be as revolutionary to education as digital downloads were to the music business. Distance learning threatens one day to disrupt higher education by reducing the cost of college and by offering the convenience of a stay-at-home, do-it-on-your-own-time education. But the story also talks about Stanford University and how it has been aligned with Silicon Valley and its culture of disruption. Now Hennessy and Stanford have to seriously contemplate whether more efficiency is synonymous with a better education.” Ties to the nearby tech industry have made Stanford the “intellectual nexus of the information economy.” The school has generated $1.3 billion in royalties from campus-inspired tech inventions alone. And, of course, there are questions about whether this cozy relationship might be a deterent to a well-rounded education. It’s a really fascinating story.
  • Can the government learn from its mistakes? New York Times columnist David Brooks writes that prominent economists disagreed — sometimes radically — of the usefulness of passing the $800 billion stimulus package. Brooks says those kinds of debates are not surprising — given the government’s inability to learn from its history. Businesses conduct thousands of randomized trials each year, but governments are less inclined to study the effectiveness of their proposals.
  • Change management — changing culture. McKinsey Quarterly looks at how to develop better change leaders — and it involves developing leaders who change themselves. Change comes easier to companies that make leadership development part of an organization-wide improvement effort, the McKinsey Quarterly says. Far too often, leaders ask everyone else to change, but in reality this usually isn’t possible until they first change themselves.
Our Favorite Interviews from the Week:
  • We talked riding the procurement wave with the Department of Homeland Security’s chief procurement officer — Nick Nayak. Mr. Nayak has been working in federal acquisition for 20 years. He’s served in virtually every acquisition workforce role in government including program manager, contracting officer, procurement analyst, and contracting officer’s technical representative. And he about his biggest procurement challenges…a preview of agile acquisition and…insights on the controversial Eagle 2 contract.
  • Spies, Spooks and cloud computing. We talked with Kevin Jackson from government contractor NJVC about why the intelligence community is pushing for quick cloud adoption.
  • We heard from the GSA CIO Casey Coleman about how technology is changing work — and work is actually becoming something you do, not a place that you go.
  • We couldn’t do the show without addressing the GSA and secret service scandals. They’ve really hurt the perception of government employees. We talked with Tom Fox from the Partnership for Public service about how what this means for leaders across government — and how keep focus on the mission.

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Chris Cairns

All depends on how mobile computing is applied, of course. There are many government processes (think swivel-chair data processing) that could be optimized through the use of mobile apps.