The Business of Government Magazine - Winter 2019/2020 Edition
Harnessing the Power of Data to Improve Government Services
For decades, governments have developed policy and programmatic frameworks that promote collecting, analyzing, deciding on, and disseminating information in ways that drive better results and make most effective use of public resources. In the U.S. government, law and policy—ranging from the Paperwork Reduction Act and E-Government Act to the Privacy and Federal Information Management and Security Act—have guided agency actions around using and protecting information, based primarily on effective management of information systems that store that information.
From the Editor’s Desk
Government has many diverse and unique missions, but a single constant remains regardless of the mission set: serving the public above all else. From improving government management to building a weather-ready nation, compensating the sick and injured from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, providing development and humanitarian assistance, to envisioning transportation and supply chain infrastructure for the future, this edition of The Business of Government magazine offers insights from leaders who are advancing many of these initiatives.
Leading the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund: A Conversation with Rupa Bhattacharyya, Special Master, Victim Compensation Fund, U.S. Department of Justice
In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, Congress created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provided compensation for economic and noneconomic loss to individuals, or the personal representative of individuals, who were killed or physically injured in the attacks.
Providing Development and Humanitarian Assistance: A Conversation with Bonnie Glick, Deputy Administrator, United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) seeks to deliver sustainable development solutions.
Building a Weather-Ready Nation: A Conversation with Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, Director, National Weather Service
Americans are increasingly dependent on timely, reliable, and accurate information on weather, water, and climate for the protection of life and property, as well as the enhancement of the nation’s economy.
Modernizing Government to Meet 21st Century Realities: A Conversation with Margaret Weichert, Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget
Most Americans may not think about the U.S. federal government every day—but when they need government services, they expect it to work.
Managing Enterprise Risk: Insights from Tom Brandt, Chief Risk Officer, U.S. Internal Revenue Service
Federal agencies are hardly immune to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and uncertainty.
Providing Mission-Support Services Across Government: Insights from Allison Brigati, Deputy Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration
The world has become vastly more interconnected and federal agencies are striving to match the pace of change, evolving to meet new domestic and global challenges and better serve the American public.
Modernizing the U.S. Federal Data System: Insights from Nancy Potok, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget
An effective and efficient U.S. federal government requires evidence about where needs are greatest, what works and what does not work, where and how programs could be improved, and how programs of yesterday may no longer be suited for today.
Role of IT in the Delivery of Rail Service: Insights from Al Short, Chief Information Officer, Washington Metro Area Transit Authority
The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) runs the Washington D.C. Metro system, a powerful economic engine for the national capital region, connecting residents in the state of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to jobs, housing, entertainment, and schools while providing transit service for close to 20 million visitors each year.
Rebuilding Foundations and Driving Innovation: Insights from Dr. John Zangardi, Former Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The single most important responsibility of government is securing the homeland—protecting a nation from terrorists and the instruments of terror, while at the same time, fostering the country’s economic security through lawful travel and trade.
Evolving Use of Artificial Intelligence in Government
The use of artificial and augmented intelligence (AI) in government is expanding as the application of these tools and techniques continue to evolve.
The Future Has Begun: Using Artificial Intelligence to Transform Government
In our first discussion, we highlight two case studies. The first is how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), used AI to make tedious tasks a thing of the past. The second case focuses on how the U.S. Department of the Air Force is applying AI to conquer the complexities of federal purchasing.
More Than Meets AI: Assessing the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Work of Government
Our second contribution to this forum addresses how government can best harness AI’s potential to transform public sector operations, services, and skill sets.
More than Meets AI—Part II: Building Trust, Managing Risk
The next contribution to this forum explores the benefits of AI, but also underscores the importance for government agencies to manage real and perceived risks associated with AI. What follows is excerpted from the report More Than Meets AI—Part II: Building Trust, Managing Risk, with a focus on significant challenges such as bias, security, transparency, employee knowledge, and federal budget and procurement processes.
Agile and Inquisitive—AI Leadership
Finally, this contribution explores two leadership qualities essential for meeting the demands and challenges of a continuously evolving technological landscape. With the promise of artificial intelligence no longer in some far-off future, government leaders must comprehend and harness both its perils and possibilities and doing that effectively will require these leaders to be agile and inquisitive—AI leadership.
Driving Digital Transformation: A Perspective from Erwin Rademaker, Program Manager, Port of Rotterdam Authority
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe. From all indications, the port is preparing for the future today, focusing on safety, efficiency, and sustainability.
Improving Program Outcomes with Behavior Science
For years, government policymakers encouraged workers to increase their investments in tax-free retirement savings. But they were baffled by how many workers were leaving “free money” on the table by not signing up to participate in employer-matched 401K pension plans. However, when some companies changed their enrollment process from having workers “opting in” to the program vs. automatically enrolling them (and allowing them to opt out), enrollment rates increased by 50 percent.
How Open Innovation Can Transform the Government Technology Playing Field
“Open” tournaments in sports—such as the U.S. Open in tennis or golf—bring together the best players in the world, and the public sees high performance achieved as the field narrows. But a key feature of open competitions is the possibility of new entrants who bring innovative play to qualifying tournaments that precede the main tournament. These new entrants can develop approaches that allow them to raise the level of play for all players based on creative strategies, and strong execution.
An Agile “Tipping Point” for Governments?
Author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the expression “tipping point” as a moment “When an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” My more than 50 years of experience in and around government leads me to believe that we may be at such a point now.
Cognitive Enterprise: Transforming Delivery of Government Services
My favorite place to take my daughters when they were growing up was the Sony Wonder Technology Lab in New York City. The museum had a display case that included every step in the evolution of each of their core technologies: music players, cameras, phones.
Algorithmic Auditing: The Key to Making Machine Learning in the Public Interest
As the burdens for collecting enormous amounts of data decreased in recent years, advanced methods of analyzing this information rapidly developed.
Integrating Big Data and Thick Data to Transform Public Services Delivery
Big data has revolutionized the delivery of business and government services.
Buying as One: Category Management Lessons From the United Kingdom
The federal government spends about $500 billion a year on goods and services. More than half of this amount is for goods and services common across federal agencies, such as training, overnight delivery services, copier machines, and travel services.
Improving the Delivery of Services and Care for Veterans: A Case Study of Enterprise Government
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system and manages a wide range of federal benefits and services for veterans, their dependents, and survivors.