The first panel for day two of the Next Generation of Government was called, How to Drive Big Change in Government. The session abstract reads, “We all want to make a big impact on hard problems but big change in government is tough. In this session, we will talk to senior leaders about how to drive big change in government with real world examples how they’ve navigate successful outcomes with limited budgets, changing scope, and a myriad of stakeholders.”
General Session Panel: How to Drive Big Change in Government
Frank Digiammarino, Former White House Official
Thomson Nguy, Principal Business Development Manager, Amazon Web Services
Khawaja Shams, Manager, Data Services for Planning and Execution, NASA
Lena Trudeau, Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic Innovations, General Services Administration
When speaking about the challenges of making big change in government, Lena Stated, “People are afraid of putting a number out and failing to achieve it, my view is if you never set a goal, you’ll never reach it.” She continued, “It’s all around how you set your goals and then align people to get those results.” Similar to the presentation yesterday by Todd Park, the panelist cautioned to avoid incremental changes in government. The incremental approach leads to limited changes
Khawaia spent time talking about cloud computing at NASA, one of the elements he mentioned was cloud computing. “Like in many types of projects, there is often resistance to new ideas,” stated Khawaia. Khawaia also stated that collaboration is critical to share information, gather new ideas, and how to help facilitate change across the agency. “Use their criticism to strengthen your ideas to make them stronger,” stated Khawaia, as a way to help get around people who resisting your change.
“A lot of the resistance you get in an organization is based on fear,” stated Lena. Lena has identified that it is critical, when bringing change, it is important to make it personal and show the impact on their day to day, and how the changes will increase productivity and ability to reach the goals of the agency.
Frank stated, “Language and approach matter.” Frank shared a saying he used everyday with his team, “Perfect is the enemy of the good, momentum begets moment.” Frank continued to provide advice to attendees about how to push ideas and forward ideas, “You need to have strength and conviction to believe in what you’re doing, but be open to the idea that you don’t know everything to know about that thing, you can get better,” stated Frank.
“We’re in the collaborative area, act that way,” stated Frank, highlighting the importance of finding the right people in a network, and building a dedicated team to help solve agency wide challenges.