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Neon signs and dives into fire

neon open sign

Innovators in the government would be easier to spot if they had neon signs over their heads, says CTO Todd Park -- maybe one like this indicating an innovator's likely working hours. (Stock image)

U.S. CTO Todd Park knows the government has innovators. They're all over the place and can do "miraculous" things. The problem, he says, is that not everyone knows where to look.

"One thing we discovered—and I was very, very happy to learn early in my government career—the government isn't devoid of innovators," Park said Feb. 22 during a conference call with the President's Management Advisory Board. "The problem they have is that they don't have an innovator label and neon over their head."

Government innovators also have asked leaders to connect them with industry's best change agents. So for the next round of Presidential Innovation Fellowships, Park plans a "concrete, non-academic, super-tangible, hard-hitting" initiative that can also hook up government and industry innovators.

Park, never one to avoid mixing metaphors, said he was confident that it was possible to raise innovators' visibility so that actual neon signs are no longer necessary -- and that he and others are up to the task: "There's nothing that innovation likes better than a challenge. So there are fires that we started that are beginning to burn quite brightly, and we'd love to actually dive more deeply into them with you."

Because nothing is easier to spot than a flaming innovator.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Feb 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM


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