U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

Summary: Newly-instated U.S. chief information officer Steven VanRoekel discusses his priorities for the federal IT landscape and how technology can enable the government to do more for Americans.

TOPICS: Banking, CXO

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Innovation has been the driving force in American history and the way we work, enjoy life, and interact with others, according to U.S. chief information officer Steven VanRoekel.

"The government plays a nice role in igniting that spark," said VanRoekel during a lecture hosted by the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley on Tuesday evening. "Government needs to have a role in removing barriers to growth and investment."

Cyber security, interestingly enough, could actually be construed as one of those barriers. VanRoekel noted that online security is often used as an excuse to not move forward and innovate, whether it be going mobile or into the cloud.

"It makes a false choice between security and innovation," VanRoekel argued. "Security and innovation should dovetail into an opportunity."

VanRoekel remarked to anyone who doubts that now is the time to invest, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies today were founded in the worst economic times. He added that opportunity speaks to access to people looking for jobs and the next big thing, citing that the social media revolution right now is speaking to those themes.

"America's future depends on our ability to innovate," VanRoekel asserted, adding that innovation is needed to drive the next wave of end user benefits and change the way we do business, among other benefits.

VanRoekel was appointed as CIO earlier this year after Vivek Kundra stepped down and the position itself has only existed for a few years. VanRoekel described his job as one that sets policy and strikes "the great balance between inspire and push."

Thus, VanRoekel listed some of the topics he plans to address as U.S. CIO, including redefining engagement with and addressing the productivity gap in government

More specifically, he unveiled a new initiative dubbed "Future First," which aims to open a dialog between the government and citizens about the way we should invest in government technology. Examples of ideas include whether or not we should focus on virtualization, developing web services first, etc.

So far, some of the services under this umbrella include building a new talent pool with the Presidential Technology Fellows program as well as Entrepreneurs in Residence, which is piloting at the FDA and Department of Health and Human Services to bring in experts to run these teams and work on agile development.

"The beauty of innovation is that it is an endless resource unlike many things in our lives," VanRoekel concluded, "That opportunity has never been greater to seize and drive forward a phenomenon."


Topics: Banking, CXO

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  • RE: U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

    America's future depends upon getting out of debt to foreign investors. The U.S. Treasury owes The People's Republic of China more than $1 Trillion.
    • Debt to China is miniscule compared to the debt to Americans,

      who have bought most of the rest of the $15 trillion of debt that we do have.
      • RE: U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

        @adornoe@... The Federal Reserve!
      • ktreier: "The Federal Reserve"? Explain yourself.

        The debt is owed to people, and people own the debt, and those who have "invested" in the debt won't just simply forgive that debt, not $14 trillion worth.
  • RE: U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

    --> ???It makes a false choice between security and innovation,??? VanRoekel argued. ???Security and innovation should dovetail into an opportunity.???

    Try telling that to the DOD where trying to use better, more secure versions of software, or using better, newer tools is not allowed by default and takes basically an act of congress to get approved.
  • RE: U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

    The future of America should not be in the hands of the CIO's in this country. It should be in the hand of the American people. If the American people can keep our politicians from passing law that allows CFO's and CEO's from moving our jobs over seas, then we have a chance to benefit from CIO's innovations. As it is now, it really doesn't matter what innovations come from American companies, the majority of the jobs they create are job for other countries and the American people are left in the cold.
    • You have absolutely no understanding about economics, and no clue about why

      we are losing jobs and company operations to overseas competition.

      Hint: You are blaming the 'result' instead of the real cause for our problems and for so many jobs going out of the country.

      If the government were to force those companies to bring back their operations and the corresponding jobs, the result would actually be the killing of more jobs, because, those companies would have to go out of business altogether. So, instead of gaining, the losses would be a lot deeper.
  • A public servant talking about innovation

    Had me on the floor laughing;-)
    Richard Flude
    • It's not a laughing matter, because, while we laugh, they continue

      causing harm to the economy and the country.
  • RE: U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

    It will be hard to get CEO's to stop sending jobs overseas when they must generate a profit at least equal to their competitors or face the threat of replacement.

    If a company wants to move a percentage of their R&D overseas by setting up a division there, and the government finds a way to block that move, the company will simply hire a company in India or China to do the R&D. Telling a company that they cannot outsource is like telling the American people that they cannot buy a product because it is made outside the U.S. If that were the case, you would find there was a thriving black market in TVs, cars, toys, cell phones and all the other things they now buy at Wal-Mart because the prices are lower. Companies will automatically stop outsourcing if what they can obtain in the U.S. has more VALUE. It doesn't have to be cheaper if it is clearly better. If U.S. made products were technologically superior, or had much greater quality, then the fact that Chinese-made goods were cheaper wouldn't be much of an issue.

    The world is becoming "flat". Wherever in the world a company or a person can get the greatest value is where that product will be made and sold. Our only hope is to become so talented, so innovative and so customer-oriented that everyone in the world will demand U.S. made goods even if they do cost a bit more.
  • RE: U.S. CIO: America's future depends on ability to innovate

    Good food for thought here... Thanks, it???s very interesting.
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