Last week I was in Washington DC to take part in great event, a White House Champions of Change event, focused on open innovation. Here is the email I received last week for the event:
“You have been selected by United States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to be highlighted as a ‘Champion of Change’, which is part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative… As the White House executes President Obama’s plan to “out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world”, entrepreneurs like you are being recognized for the innovative work you have undertaken in your community.”
Each week, we feature a group of Americans who embody the President’s commitment to ‘Innovate, Educate, and Build’.
CTO Aneesh Chopra and CIO Vivek Kundra as well as other Administration officials will host an Open Innovation / Champions of Change event at the White House on Friday, June 10th , 9am- 11am.”
I talked about open data platforms and how they give citizens more powerful ways to interact with government. Other presenters included Leigh Budlong of Zonability and Conor White-Sullivan of Localocracy.
It was an incredible experience, not only to speak and be honored as an innovator, but even more so seeing the incredible energy and enthusiasm for innovation in our government. Aneesh Chopra, the White House CTO, is leading the charge with enthusiasm and an understanding that combining government resources with entrepreneurs is a potent mix.
My favorite quote came from Vivek Kundra the Chief Information Office of the White House: “Think big. Start small. Scale fast.” That characterized what many developers see happening with open platforms. We also heard from Eric Reis, the author of The Lean Startup who commented on his blog : ” He (Vivek) said that “Data.gov was as a minimum viable product.” In two years, it has grown from just 47 datasets to over 390,000. The process they used to build it is distinctly different from the old paradigm of slow-moving bureaucrats in league with even-slower-moving contractors.” That gives you an idea of what the event was all about. When government makes data sets accessible and enables entrepreneurs that care about the information, things start to happen quickly.