Jan 5, 2009

What Does A CTO Do?: DC's Tech Czar

Wash Post features the government CTO for the District of Columbia.
In the 18 months since joining [the DC government, Vivek] Kundra has gotten attention for taking an unconventional approach to government, which is not typically first to adopt the latest computing trends.

....His ideas have caught the eye of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team and landed him a role as a tech policy adviser to the new administration. His approach could serve as a model for how a federal chief technology officer, a new position Obama has pledged to appoint, might operate. Kundra has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the job.
--Read full article
How does this translate for vision and results?
  • Posted the bidding process for IT procurement contracts on YouTube
  • D.C. employees use versions of Wikipedia and Twitter in the office
  • Launched a contest called "Apps for Democracy" to encourage developers to create applications for the Web and cellphones to give District residents access to crime reports and pothole repair schedules. See award winners.
  • Aspirations include using Facebook to pay parking tickets and renew driver's licenses
Kundra is playing the role of CTO as an innovator solving business problems using technology. He is ruffling feathers and shaking up the status quo. He has had successes and not-so successes. But while innovations like these might be harder in the federal arena, it definitely represents change.

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