The Gov 2.0a conference had a busy first day on Thursday at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. There’s a lot of good work being done both in Oklahoma and nationally in terms of government transparency, technology and citizen engagement.
I gave an abbreviated version of this presentation on an afternoon panel with Matt Mueller, city manager of Guthrie; Stephen Nolen, chief information officer for Shawnee; and Craige Baird, technology services director for Ponca City.
Developing a Data Ecosystem: Media’s Role in Gov 2.0
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to recap all the presentations from Day One, but among the highlights were presentations by Laurel Ruma, the Gov 2.0 evangelist for O’Reilly Media Inc., and a keynote speech Thursday evening by Oklahoma’s new chief information officer Alex Pettit.
Pettit, who has held technology positions with the Denton, Texas, and Brown University in Rhode Island, had a refreshing take on the technology landscape in state government. In his experience, Pettit said vendors have gained most of the power in technology procurement and processes and often work with information specialists inside agencies to block changes. (Read more on those types of “iron triangles” and “regulatory capture.”)
Pettit has been on the job for a little over one month. In a humorous aside, he described his efforts to reach out to some of the technology heads at various state agencies to ask them about their plans for fiscal year 2011. Aside a few who ignored the e-mails, some e-mailed back to ask just one question: “Do we have to comply?” with Pettit’s request.
“My mother would call that chutzpah,” Pettit said.
Pettit said he had no silver bullets to reform state technology and that he was committed to active consultations with the users, buyers and managers of technology at state agencies. (Keep in mind that Pettit’s position does not cover any technology controlled by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, which lobbied to be kept off the law that created the CIO position at the end of the 2009 legislative session.)
He said state technology should move to a “one state” focus on the ultimate end user: the citizen. Part of the solution will be recognizing that political leadership and citizens are “outcome oriented,” while those in charge of technology at state agencies are often “process oriented.”
Written by Paul Monies