Aneesh Chopra was the first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Unites States government, and served in this position from 2009 to early 2012. Since then, he has run for the office of Governor in Virginia (but has not succeeded) and created Hunch Analytics, a company which crunches public and private data to “help executives and industry leaders in health care, education and energy to make smarter business decisions.” But this post is not about the latter, it’s about Chopra’s experience as the USA’s very first CTO, and his vision of how technology can improve governments.
I enjoyed reading Innovative State very much, not only because it mirrors some of the phenomena I study in academia, but also because it reminded me of Gilles Babinet‘s book about his experience as a digital champion in France (disclaimer: Gilles Babinet is co-founder and board member of eYeka, where I work part-time). While Babinet had a much more consultative role, Chopra was leading the action in the White House – which also shows how seriously digital technologies are taken in France (not a lot!) compared to the US. Anyway. His views on how new technologies can transform government, shared in Innovative State, are highly interesting. According to him, four priorities (open data, impatient convening, challenges & prizes and attracting talent) should drive the US’s agenda toward becoming “a 21st century government that elevates the role of everyday Americans.” Continue reading →