November 25, 2008

Vivek Kundra: Democratizing Data and Putting it in the Public Domain I'm hoping most enterprise CTOs have had a chance to learn more about Vivek Kundra's Apps for Democracy initiative. I'm really impressed by this activity for many reasons, but primarily because it got results of use to the citizens and visitors of DC. This initiative proved yet again that Vivek Kundra is a CTO who gets things done. From his bio: Vivek Kundra was appointed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on March 27, 2007 to the Cabinet post of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia. As CTO, Kundra leads the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), an organization of over 600 staff that provides technology services and leadership for 86 agencies, 38,000 employees, residents, businesses, and millions of visitors. Prior to this Vivek was getting things done in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the private sector, and in Arlington Virginia. In his current position he became an instant hero to an entire enterprise when he took the bold step of moving his enterprise to a Google Apps foundation. The video below provides some background on this move. An equally wise, and similarly bold move was Vivek's initiative called Apps For Democracy. This contest began with Vivek insuring that the DC government is being as open and transparent with data as possible, exposing data in a variety of common formats. This was no simple task, requiring vision, perseverance, and a dedication to plow through city hall obstacles that only a motivated leader could tackle. Vivek set the groundwork for success by working with a great thought leaders like Peter Corbett at iStrategyLabs and by coordinating with Internet enthusiasts like the crew at Mashable. The Strategy Labs team created a proposal for this project and brought this project to life in six days! created a page encouraging mashup entries, and the result was an incredible generation of capabilities that serve DC citizens and visitors to our Capital. 47 applications were created in a way that did not require long procurement processes or costly integration contracts. What do the apps do? Check them out yourself here: medal-winners My favorite: DC Historic Tours. This is really really cool. Thanks Vivek! For more see the video below: Apps for Democracy from Shaun Farrell on Vimeo. What else can I say about Vivek? He also has great models for internal program management. His approach is nothing like the one I learned from Gartner the everyone trys to implement. And it is better than the one I learned in the corporate world that worked very well for us at TRW and Northrop Grumman. His approach is nothing like the one we used at DIA. In fact, if I had it to do over again I would use his approach in my old enterprise. For more on his way, see the write up for his 2008 InfoWorld Top 25 CTO award. So hey, what's next? My hope is that the methods and models of Vivek (and iStrategylabs) are applied across the nation and up to state and federal levels. Think of the good that could be done.
Three Events of Federal CTO Interest: Will You Be At These? FYI, in case your schedule will allow us to connect in person I wanted to update you on a few events I plan on being at over the next few weeks. The Advanced Technical Intelligence Association TECHINT conference will be held 9-11 Dec 2008. This conference focuses on the technical dimensions of intelligence, and has a theme of "integrated performance." The theme refers to the need to integrate capabilities from all the agencies engaged in national security to better perform in meeting our national security challenges. On 9 Dec I'll be speaking at a panel on the real and growing threat in cyber space. There will be no blogging or tweeting from the conference. But if you are going to be there please drop me a note and lets connect in person there. For info see The AFCEA Solutions conference on Cyberspace will be held 10-11 Dec 2008 at the Ronald Reagan Center in DC. This conference will be focusing on the challenges and solutions of cyberspace related to national security. Speakers include Secretary of Homeland Security the Honorable Michael Chertoff, The Deputy Secretary of Defense the Honorable Gordon England, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration the Honorable John Grimes, Ms. Melissa Hathaway, senior adviser and cyber coordination executive for the Director of National Intelligence, LTG Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Information and Identity Assurance Mr. Bob Lentz and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Information Management Mr. David Wennergren. I'll be speaking on a panel on Wednesday at 1530 on formulating a common response. This unclas conference follows a model that AFCEA has been using for several similar events. They are actively seeking ways to enhance the value of these conferences by leveraging more Web2.0 capabilities before, during and after the formal presentations. Blogging and tweeting from the conference is encouraged. You can visit the site at: For the event schedule and program details can be found online here: The US Army Intelligence Warfighting Summit will be held 15-17 Dec 2008. This one will also be a conference where blogging and use of twitter is not appropriate due to the sensitivity of info discussed. However, I would appreciate knowing if you will be going so we can connect there in person. Speakers will include the most senior Army intelligence leadership, plus Vice Admiral Bob Murrett from NGA, LTG Alexander from NSA, and Scott McNealy from Sun Microsystems. For more on the event see: So, if you are going to any of these please let me know. And please follow me on Twitter so I can send you a few bursts from the AFCEA conference. I'm at Cheers.