Leaders must embrace Information Age

Government leaders must embrace the digital revolution and revamp information technology policy or they and their communities will be left behind, according to a Harvard report released Monday.

The report, produced by a team of academics, elected officials and technology business representatives at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, says leaders must take eight important steps to make it in the networked world.

"Among the most important issues for [leaders] to address are those of the information age," said Jerry Mechling, director of strategic computing and telecommunications in the public sector at the Kennedy School of Government. "Both the opportunities and the threats are very significant."

The eight steps detailed in the report fall into two categories: things government leaders must do to transition into an electronic government and ways government itself must adapt.

These are the eight steps:

    1. Personally become involved in IT projects, not delegating all the technology responsibility to the specialists. Become familiar with computers — those who use the Internet can understand its power and can better develop plans to use it.

    2. Use IT for innovative solutions, not merely to automate traditional services.

    3. Use best practices when initiating IT projects.

    4. Improve budgeting and finance plans to deal with IT issues. Because traditional budgets are based on what governments did the year before, it's sometimes difficult to incorporate new things. Also, consider shared risk investments with the private sector to pay for new projects.

    5. Do not ignore information privacy and security, but do not allow those issues to paralyze new systems and services.

    6. Form IT partnerships with grassroots and private-sector leaders to stimulate economic development.

    7. Use IT to promote equal opportunity.

    8. Prepare for a digital democracy, making it easier for people to participate in politics.

J.D. Williams, controller for Idaho and part of the team that produced the report, said leaders must understand the risk they're taking by ignoring technology.

"If we want to survive in the digital age, we have to become technologically competent," Williams said. "There's going to be big winners and big losers."

The full report is available online at www.ksg.harvard.edu/stratcom/hpg.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.