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One of the President’s first priorities after taking office in 2009 was to bring a government built for the 20th century into the 21st century. Over the last four years, we’ve made great progress to advance this goal, thanks in large part to the integration of new technologies and innovations across the Administration.
This morning, the President held a meeting with his Cabinet and senior officials to lay out his vision for building a better, smarter, faster government over the course of his second term. During the meeting, the President directed Cabinet members and key officials in his Administration to build on the progress made over the first term, and he challenged us to improve government even further.
To help members of the Cabinet and Administration officials find more innovative ways to deliver better results, the Administration recently welcomed a second class of Presidential Innovation Fellows – 43 highly talented and motivated individuals chosen out of more than 2,000 applicants. The first class of 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows worked hand-in-hand with top government innovators to develop solutions that are delivering smart-government solutions to taxpayers at a lower cost.
Today, President Obama highlighted innovations taking place in our government that are already making a difference:
Digitizing disaster recovery: FEMA use of data analytics and internet/mobile apps to deliver better results: In response to Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partnered with the U.S.Geological Survey, Civil Air Patrol, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to utilize imagery and data that identified inaccessible and destroyed homes, which enabled FEMA to expedite assistance funds to eligible applicants. FEMA has also succeeded in getting 304,000 survivors (57% of applicants) registered for assistance following Hurricane Sandy through internet and smartphone apps. The FEMA disaster recovery app also tell users how to assemble basic emergency kits and help them locate disaster recovery centers and apply for financial assistance following a disaster. This has enabled better, faster service delivered at lower costs.
Ushering out old technologies, bringing in new: The Administration has eliminated duplicative systems and accelerated the adoption of new technology used by agencies through “PortfolioStat”—a comprehensive look at agencies’ IT portfolios to identify savings. To date, the initiative has identified more than $2.5 billion in cost reductions. Read more about this effort in this blog post.
Opening government data to fuel innovation and problem-solving: For the first time in history, the Administration opened up huge amounts of government data to the American people, and put it on the internet for free. At Data.gov, you can search through and download more than 75,000 data sets – data on everything from what different hospitals charge for different procedures, to credit card complaints, to weather and climate measurements. And entrepreneurs and business owners are using that data to create jobs and solve problems that government can’t solve by itself. Learn more about the Open Data Initiative in this blog post.
This morning, the President stated, “We need the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges. In this democracy, we, the people, realize this government is ours. It’s up to each and every one of us to make it work better. And we all have a stake in our success.” Read the President’s full remarks here, and see all the graphics from his speech.
Learn more about these innovations:
Steve VanRoekel is the Acting Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Chief Information Officer. Todd Park is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer.