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FCW : January 2015
How do you measure innovation? At the Commerce Department, 27 entrepreneurs, innovators and technol- ogists are trying to find the answer to that question. At their first meeting on Dec. 12, members of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepre- neurship identified the task of defining and measuring innovation as one of the first items on their list of goals. The council works under the auspices of Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. NACIE member Barbara Bry, chief operating officer at Blackbird Ventures and a serial entrepreneur who teach- es at the University of California, San Diego, said measuring innovation has not been done before, least of all in the federal government. Stephen Tang, president and CEO of the University City Science Cen- ter in Philadelphia, said that’s largely because innovation is more intuitive than quantitative, which makes it dif- ficult to measure. “We don’t really have a measure for innovation, [but] that’s an impor- tant concept to understand,” Tang said. “What really moves the needle that makes us more innovative as a society?” The measure of all things of private-sector CIOs say their leaders see them as partners; 18% say they’re seen as cost centers 30% Trending Bry said the council also wants to look into how the government can measure the effectiveness of the grants it provides. Bry and Tang are members of the innovation subcommittee, one of three panels formed within the council. The others focus on entrepreneurship and job-driven skills training. Another item on the innovation sub- committee’s to-do list is thinking about the next generation of incubators. Bry said San Diego has about 20, yet no one has ever measured how effective they are. And with outfits like 18F springing up around the federal government, that line of inquiry could prove particularly valuable. “It’s all about having startup com- panies exist in a broader ecosystem,” Tang said. “That ecosystem is giving them a chance to fail or succeed faster and cheaper.” The group plans to meet via confer- ence call on a monthly basis and come to Washington, D.C., for quarterly meet- ings. But Tang’s hopes for the council reach far beyond the Beltway. “My hope is that we have high- impact, compelling ideas that can be implemented in two years and put in a broader agenda for innovation,” Tang said. Such an agenda “can transcend current politics and change the nar- rative and dialogue about economic development across the country,” regardless of who is in the White House or Congress. According to Commerce’s website, NACIE “is charged with identifying and recommending solutions to issues critical to driving the innovation econ- omy, including enabling entrepreneurs and firms to successfully access and develop a skilled, globally competitive workforce.” The council’s role is purely advisory, and it reports to the secretary of Commerce. — Colby Hochmuth FCW CALENDAR FedRAMP At this FCW event, FedRAMP Director Matt Goodrich and cloud security experts from HHS, NIST and NASA discuss streamlining the authorization process. Washington, D.C . http://fcw.com/fedRAMP Workforce Acting U.S . CIO Lisa Schlosser, OPM CIO Donna Seymour and GSA Associate CIO Liz DelNegro discuss the challenge of “Opening Doors to Women in Government IT” at this AFFIRM event. Washington, D.C . http://is.gd/FCW_womentech 1/22 1/15 January 2015 FCW.COM 3 Defense Army CIO Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell and Army IT Agency Executive Director Gregory Garcia are among the speakers at AFCEA NOVA’s 14th annual Army IT Day. Vienna, Va. http://is.gd/FCW_armyIT 2/4 SCIENCECENTER.ORG It’s all about having startup companies exist in a broader ecosystem. — STEPHEN TANG We don’t really have a measure for innovation, [but] that’s an important concept to understand. 0115fcw_003-009.indd 3 1/7/15 1:31 PM
November and December 2014