CTO: Innovation help wanted

Sometimes, it’s essential for an entrepreneurial-minded chief technology officer to use an evangelist’s zeal to promote innovation.

At the Health and Human Services Department, CTO Todd Park helps run a program called HHS Innovates, which encourages employees to think like innovators because it's good for their careers.

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Employees have submitted more than 125 ideas for changing some part of the agency’s operations for the better, and now their peers can vote for their favorites. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will pick three winners from the finalists this summer. Winners will receive a cash award and the chance to pitch their ideas to the secretary for possible implementation agencywide. HHS plans to conduct the competition every six months.

“Rather than add an 87th criterion to the annual appraisal that says, ‘Be innovative,’ we decided this is a much more potent way of actually making innovation [be] seen as something that can help you advance in your career,” Park said.


About the Author

Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jul 12, 2010

HIPAA Regulations & how to fix Medicare & Medicaid challenges that it faces: 1.Rule number one: assess the current state & do not listen to contractors who promise a magic wand. Throwing more money & assigning a new set of contractors is not the answer. 2. Three key ingredients for success are: People, Process & Technology. 3. Technology is an enabler so it must & it should align with the business objectives & investing in complex & confused tools & technology is not going to solve the challenges facing Medicare & Medicaid. 4. HIPAA regulations alone cannot solve all the issues, there has to be a combination of numerous attributes that need to be considered to address the existing problems. 5. To conduct a thorough cleansing process, leadership needs to think outside the traditional approach & they need to have on board several fresh pair of eyes, a fresher outlook, individuals who have integrity, are not afraid to look beyond the norm, have thorough analytical sifting ability & who move fast, change gears and work at the speed of light rather than dwell in discussions for months, without a concrete deliverables or results. 6. Paper certifications, is not the only success criteria, with due respect to popular certifications, a piece of paper acquired by studying for a test is not good enough to address this life long challenge. Experience, education, exposure to thinking in a creative way, outside the box, sound analytical skills, research & analysis capability will be major contributing factors of success. 7. Medicare & Medicaid are at a juncture where it seriously needs to go through a over haul & transformation, invest in building new capabilities with a 21st crisp, alert, fresh approach, rather than constructing a building on a weak foundation, it is time to seriously consider the root cause, evaluate the foundation before pouring new concrete & cement and putting a new structure that too will collapse within a short duration 8. There is a saying, garbage in, is garbage out, so I have some blunt suggestions: Our Nation is heavy into debt. We have borrowed through our nose from the Chinese. We have two bloody wars on our hand and we are throwing money like water to fight the Afghani cowboys. Our economy is in shambles, although Mr. Buffet promises a brighter tomorrow the time to waste on life long projects/contracts, multi year proposlas, has gone. The old traditional approach to solicit ideas, the old mundane process of RFI & RFP is rather dated & takes up too much time, money & effort. It muffles & discourages small players to play the game. This all needs to go away. The old incumbent playground needs to be eliminated. To build new capabilities, the traditional framework must be eliminated. Cycle time reduction is must. Solutions must be simple, scalable, & cost effective. There is absolutely no reason to waste time & effort on multi year complex technology. Think outside the box. Take a holistic approach

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