Blog Insights
Insights on Fostering Innovation from Federal CIO, Clare Martorana

This post was written by 2021 Forum One summer intern, Feru Deshong (BSc ’23 Babson College).

On a recent episode of ACT-IAC’s “The Buzz”, US Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Clare Martorana shared valuable insights on fostering innovation amidst a pandemic, as well as the importance of long-term investments in modernization. 

Clare Martorana has a deep understanding of what it takes to deliver modern and secure digital platforms. In her role as the federal CIO within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), she is focused on bringing enterprise perspectives and innovative insights to the ever-evolving and complex world of government. 

Speaking recently on an episode of “The Buzz” podcast, Martorana shared valuable insights and ideas that agencies and partners tasked with modernizing digital government should consider as they look toward 2022 and beyond.

Invest in long-term change 

In government, things are constantly shifting, and agencies must be able to adapt to these changes while still providing excellent service to citizens. When evaluating technology’s role, agencies need to invest the necessary resources and funding to accelerate reach and improve the customer experience. An investment in modernization gives agencies the ability to reimagine and transform how they use technology to advance their mission-driven efforts. Funding vehicles such as the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) drive impactful projects throughout government and demonstrate how technology delivers necessary services to citizens while accelerating modernization, innovation, and flexibility.

Any technology being implemented and operationalized—whether at the Federal, State, or Local level—must not only be up-to-date but accessible for a wide range of audiences. No matter a person’s age, level of technology experience, physical abilities, or location, the public must have easy access to online government platforms and tools. Without access, many citizens are unable to use the digital tools.

Keep citizens safe 

In modernizing digital solutions, online systems that collect data must have excellent security to ensure citizens and federal employees are protected. As Martorana emphasized, the government must focus on advancement while also prioritizing the safety of its people. Cybersecurity cannot be disregarded when improving the customer experience of an online transaction. Positive digital interactions that marry security and a strong online experience are absolutely critical to providing an effective digital service.

Regulate data 

Data is a critical piece of government modernization. The Federal Data Strategy (FDS) aims to leverage federal data for public use with the understanding that data transparency helps ensure the data is more widely used. Data fuels artificial intelligence and machine learning and inaccessible or unorganized data can be an impediment to using these technologies. For the government to supply ethical and attainable assistance, data distribution needs to be analyzed and improved.

Reducing barriers between government agencies is necessary to satisfy constituents and provide high-quality services. By regulating data where necessary, and making it accessible where possible, data consumers will have increased access to high-quality data. This is especially important when discussing cross-governmental collaboration. Due to a lack of standards, there are often cycles of wasted time and repeated mistakes. Accessibility and management are what data thrives on and are what’s needed to continue aiding the federal government in supporting citizens.

Prioritize innovation 

Whether focusing on employee training to improve federal growth efforts or testing new systems, innovation needs to be at the forefront of federal modernization efforts. Martorana put a spotlight on the Presidential Innovation Fellows program for driving such powerful and innovative change in terms of how technology is used in mission-driven organizations. With more funding and advocacy for change, the federal government will be even more effective and efficient in serving the public with ease.

As the current federal CIO, Clare Martorana’s pivotal advice on digital modernization for government provides valuable insights as agencies plan for long-term modernization. To listen to the full interview, check out the episode here

“The Buzz” is a weekly podcast run by ACT-IAC covering the top issues affecting the federal technology market. Each week’s episode features government and industry leaders.

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