Data-Driven Performance: The Hearing

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Data-Driven Performance: The Hearing

Friday, December 11th, 2009 - 15:30
Senator Mark Warner chaired another hearing of his Taskforce on Government Performance, on “Data-Driven Performance:  Using Technology to Deliver Results.” The Obama Administration’s chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, testified.  Here are some...

Senator Mark Warner chaired another hearing of his Taskforce on Government Performance, on “Data-Driven Performance:  Using Technology to Deliver Results.”

The Obama Administration’s chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, testified.  Here are some interesting excerpts from his statement:

. . . .I’ve focused my government performance efforts in three areas in which technology can spur rapid innovation and drive results:

  • R&D: Moving Research into Development and Deployment
  • Open Standards:  Enabling “Government as a Platform”
  • Prizes and Competitions:  Aligning Innovation toward National Priorities.

When combined, these three pillars can drive high-performance government.  By “platform,” I mean a government that uses low-cost information technologies to do what it uniquely can—make high-quality data available, coordinating standards activities across may disparate actors, moving federally-funded research into development and deployment, hosting prizes and competitions – while leaving it to citizens, companies, non-profits, and academic institutions to build innovative tools and services on top of the platform.

His testimony gives examples of how agencies are moving forward on each of these pillars already.

Chopra was accompanied by Vivek Kundra, the federal government’s chief information officer, who talked about using technology to drive performance via the use of dashboards.  He described the use of the Obama Administration’s IT Dashboard to reduce wasteful tech spending, and doing it with a lower reporting burden on agencies.

Sen. Warner noted that the Executive Branch probably needs to focus on other areas of reporting burdens, such as the overlap between the reporting requirements for Recovery.gov, USASpending.gov, and GSA’s contract database, the Federal Procurement Data System.  Organizations have to report to each, with different timeframes, different data elements, and using different standards.  Kundra agreed.

Post Script:  Toward the end of the hearing, Senator Warner mentioned that both Chopra and Kundra were featured on a segment of the Jon Stewart show the night before, where Stewart poked fun at their announcement of the Open Government Directive, calling Chopra the “Indian George Clooney.”  It’s worth watching!