A new virtual hub is searching for federal experts to help agencies with source code sharing tools, web hosting challenges and related issues.
As part of the Digital Government Strategy released in May, the General Services Administration stood up the Digital Services Innovation Center. GSA’s Gwynne Kostin is leading the center’s efforts.
“The center will work with agencies to establish shared solutions and training to support infrastructure and content needs across the federal government,” including video captioning and language translation, according to a blog post by federal chief information officer Steven VanRoekel. ”The Innovation Center will support agencies lacking these capabilities, not supersede agencies’ existing capabilities, and function as a cooperative enterprise that draws on resources from across government and leverages the expertise of forward-leaning agencies.”
On its website, the center describes four ways interested feds can support its mission:
- Agency reps: The center will host agency employees for assignments from one to three weeks to three to nine months depending on projects.
-Co-Los: Work with agencies to develop their governance structure for developing and delivering digital services.
-20 Percenters: Work on center initiatives, such as code development and blogging, for one day a week. Employees will gain new experiences, skills and networks while working in place at their agencies.
- Tapas: Complete burst assignments for the center for one to five hours, such as copy editing, software testing, proofing, code review and captioning.
GSA is advertising the opportunities as a way to ”solve the problems in your agencies and to engage your high-performing staff with cutting-edge projects across agency bounds.”
The best government would be one where citizens would “never have to visit a government website again,” according to Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel.
VanRoekel and Federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park attended an industry event Wednesday where they reiterated a strategy for connecting the public to federal data.
“Part of our goal for inspiring this way of innovation is to bring government innovation and government technology to citizens where they are, where they play, where they act, anytime, anywhere on any device,” VanRoekel said.
“Data that is public should be made public, to drive the social side, the civic participation side and the application programming interface (API) side of taking government data and making it a platform,” VanRoekel said.
VanRoekel and Park are working with every agency to have a “developer” page to catalog specific data for each site’s users, which would mimic Data.gov’s initiative as a developer portal within the federal government, a one-step catalog of information and open data sites.
“However, you can’t just blindly liberate data and hope for the best,” Park said. “Data by itself is useless — data is only useful if it gets applied to create public benefit. We’re thinking about the deliverable, as an ecosystem of entrepreneurs that uses the data, continually improving the data to build services, generating improvement in people’s lives.”
About a month ago, the White House launched the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, for innovators and entrepreneurs to develop applicable data projects seeking to save taxpayers money, fuel job creation, and improve government communication with citizens across the country. Among the program’s components:
The Open Data Initiatives Program: to stimulate the creation of new apps and services and to generate greater communication between people and services such as health care providers, education systems, etc. This project uses data from governmental and non-governmental sources to create tools that can help Americans “better navigate their world.”
Blue Button for America: for Americans to securely download an electronic copy of their health information and records, and to gain knowledge on their healthcare services.
MyGov: for citizens to access federal information online, but to also personalize the information they wish to receive.
RFP-EZ: a project that will build a platform that makes it easier for small businesses to navigate the federal government.
The 20% Campaign: to use electronic payment mechanisms to support foreign policy, to reduce waste and administrative costs while stimulating a better outcome for all parties involved.
While applications for the fellowship have now closed, VanRoekel and Park encouraged many to sign up to ‘follow’ these projects on their website, to give feedback and any expert advice to help innovate and move digital government forward.
“The only way we will improve our data is if we get feedback from people who are actually trying to use it,” Park said.
For more information on these digital, government projects, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/innovationfellows.
The Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday unveiled a 12-month roadmap for agencies to speed adoption of mobile technologies and improve public access to their digital data and services.
“We need to produce better content and data, and present it through multiple channels in a program and device-agnostic way,” OMB said in the long-awaited strategy. “We need to adopt a coordinated approach to ensure privacy and security in a digital age.”
The strategy, “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People,” includes 29 action items for agencies, the federal Chief Information Officers Council, OMB and other entities to achieve in one to 12-month increments. President Obama set an August deadline for agencies to create a page on their websites to publicly report their progress.
By next month, OMB will create a Digital Services Advisory Group to develop governmentwide guidance for Bring-Your-Own-Device and promote best practices for improving digital content and services. The Department of Defense, Homeland Security Department and National Institute of Standards and Technology will develop standard security requirements within a year for mobile and wireless adoption, according to the strategy.
The 36-page document also encourages agencies to pilot, document and expand new approaches for securing mobile devices.
“For example, if applications, operating systems, and data reside in an appropriately secured cloud environment rather than on a device, this will limit the potential impact to an agency in the event a device is lost, stolen, or compromised,” the strategy said. The use of mobile devices management systems to monitor the devices and strengthened identity and access management can also provide opportunities for better security.
The General Services Adminsitration will launch a Digital Services Innovation Center to promote shared solutions. Within a year, the center will launch a shared mobile app development program to help agencies “develop secure, device-agnostic mobile applications,” and provide them with a development and testing environment for applications, and validate official government apps.
The strategy sets deadlines for agencies to make digital information readily available to the public and Web developers.
By August, OMB will release a governmentwide policy to ensure data, content and application programming interfaces, or APIs, are accessible for all new IT systems and at least two existing systems. Software developers use these programming standards to integrate applications and make data more accessible via mobile applications and other platforms.
Tags: Digital strategy