I really appreciate the blow out of a few actual projects he’s taken on:
The role of the CTO is to provide visionary leadership, to help a company (or in this case, a government) explore the transformative potential of new technology. Try a few of these Virginia technology initiatives on for size:
- the first officially-approved open source textbook in the country, the Physics Flexbook.
- integrating iTunes U with Virginia’s state education assessment framework;
- the Learning Apps Development Challenge, a competition for the best iPhone and iPod Touch applications for middle-school math teaching;
- a Ning-based social network to connect clinicians working in small health care offices in remote locations;
- a state-funded “venture capital fund” to allow government agencies to try out risky but promising new approaches to delivering their services or improving their productivity;
- a lightweight approval and testing process that allows the government to try out new technologies before making a full, expensive commitment.
What’s GREAT is the EFFORT, not so much the specifics. There is no ideal use of technology in government – it’s about the constant process of course corrections and experimentation. Who cares if it’s web 2.0, social networking, podcasts, micro payments, etc. etc. The idea that there’s someone in charge that will TRY to DO something is what’s important. Chopra seems to be a great pick.
Also, can anyone name any other Federal CTO or CIO ever? I can’t. Seems strange to me that an economy and a culture so driven by technology hasn’t made a bigger deal out of the technology leaders in government.