Todd Park talks innovation in new anthology

McKinsey anthology cover

Federal CTO Todd Park is among the 30 political leaders and civil servants, economists and policy experts, generalists and specialists featured in a new anthology from the McKinsey Center for Government.

The anthology, entitled “Government Designed for New Times,” features essays, interviews and other short pieces organized around four themes: Transforming Government; Innovating Government Services; New Competencies;  and Understanding Government in New Times.

In a Q-and-A interview, Park talked about the value of datapaloozas, ideas for replicating the Health Data Initiative, and his general disdain for larger-scale, "waterfall" projects.

Park argued in favor of "lean," iterative development efforts, saying: "I actually think what’s even more dangerous than catastrophic failure is mediocrity. At least you can recognize catastrophic failure, whereas a lot of waterfall processes don’t do us the favor of failing—they just produce something mediocre and deeply entrenched. It’s ironic that we use the waterfall approach precisely because we think it’ll help us manage risk, when it’s probably the riskiest approach to making change happen."

Other experts in the anthology include IDEO CEO Tim Brown, former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Lockheed Martin CTO Ray O. Johnson.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of, Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.

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