Governments Look to Private Sector, CIOs

Innovation is not a new phenomenon, but many companies have begun formally recognizing its importance by promoting their most innovative minds to the corporate level.  By late 2010, industry leaders Coca Cola, Citigroup, AMD and many others had placed Chief Innovation Officers (CIOs) in leadership positions, with several competitors following suit.  Mark Johnson, Chairman and Co-Founder of the innovation consulting and research firm, Innosight noted that the “relatively new” role of the CIO has emerged to meet the demands of a digital age where a company’s average shelf life on the S&P 500 has dropped by almost half since the 1980s. The ability of corporations to reinvigorate “mature industries” through innovation, as GE is attempting to do with its “Ecomagination” initiative, helps companies weather market shifts.  While innovation once held importance only in the IT world, revolutionary “disruptive innovation” can threaten the status quo and requires agile responses that conform to new economic trends

Joel Levinson, CIO at Maximus Canada Inc., a business process outsourcing provider of government and public sector services, described the unique benefits of his position at the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum in March.  Removed from the daily operational responsibilities, a CIO can “see across multiple divisions” in order to offer “innovative, clever solutions” about technology integration.  Knowing the limits and possibilities of technology’s applications, the CIO can offer the “art of the possible” to help companies remain aware of all available economies.

In an effort to improve their own efficiency and handle rising expenditures, governments at all levels are beginning to adopt the private sector’s CIO model.  Maryland recently installed Bryan Sivak, former Washington D.C. Chief Technology Officer, as its first CIO to work on tracking health care costs.  In February, President Obama hired Chris Vein to be his new CTO for innovation from his post as San Francisco’s CIO, where he championed innovative solutions across departments.

Information Week ranked their top 50 government CIOs in a March report that celebrated innovators across federal departments for their important role in “driving IT innovation, efficiency, and new levels of performance.” Government agencies have long been a step behind the private sector adopting new technology, what federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra called the “tech gap” of the U.S. government. The report noted that “many of the CIOs on our list are taking steps to change that by deploying a newer generation of tools, and…shifting away from long-term, monolithic IT projects to faster, nimbler ones.”

Posted by: John Coit

Sources: Business Week,,, Information Week,

Photo Credit: The Great Leap Forward by flickr user caribb


You are Invited: India’s Quest for a Lower Carbon Footprint



India’s Quest for a Lower Carbon Footprint

Tuesday, May 10, 2011    4:00 pm–5:30 pm

6th Floor Board Room

Featuring: Ajay Shankar

FICCI Scholar, WoodrowWilsonCenter

Media organizations are requested to contact the Asia Program in advance at 202/691-4020 or Otherwise, RSVPs are NOT necessary. Please allow for routine security procedures when you arrive at the Center. A photo ID is required for entry. The Center is located in the southeast wing of the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. The closest Metro station is Federal Triangle on the blue and orange lines. For detailed directions, please visit the Center’s website,

Posted by: PAGE Staff

You are Invited: A Conversation with Ricardo Martinelli, President of Panama: Economic Growth and Democratic Stability in Latin America

A Conversation with
His Excellency Ricardo Martinelli,
President of the Republic of Panama:
Economic Growth and Democratic Stability in Latin America

To RSVP acceptance or to receive further information, send an email to Maria-Stella Gatzoulis at  Please provide your name and professional affiliation.
Please allow time on arrival at the building for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required.Individuals attending Woodrow Wilson Center events may be audiotaped, videotaped, or photographed during the course of a meeting, and by attending grant permission for their likenesses and the content of their comments, if any, to be broadcast, webcast, published, or otherwise reported or recorded.

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You are Invited: Liberal Arts at the Brink

United States Studies and the Program on America and the Global Economy (PAGE)


Liberal Arts at the Brink

Featuring Author: Victor Ferrall, President Emeritus, Beloit College

Commentators: Scott Jaschik, Founding Editor, Inside Higher Ed; Francis Oakley, President Emeritus,

Williams College

Liberal Arts College represent a tiny portion of the higher education market – no more than 2 percent of enrollees.  Yet they produce a stunningly large percentage of America’s leaders virtually every field of endeavor.  The educational experience they offer – small classes led by professors devoted to teaching and mentoring, in a community dedicated to learning – has been a uniquely American higher education ideal.  With Liberal Arts at the Brink, Victor Ferrall hopes to send a wake-up call for everyone who values liberal arts education.  A former college president trained in law and economics, he shows how a spiraling demand for career-related education has pressured liberal arts colleges to become vocational, distorting their mission and core values.  Despite the daunting realities, he makes a spirited case for the unique benefits of the education they offer – to students and the nation.  Ferrall urges liberal arts colleges to stop going it alone and instead band together to promote their vision and ensure their future.

Tuesday, April 26th:  3:00 to 4:30 p.m Woodrow Wilson Center

Fourth Floor Conference Room

RSVP (acceptances only) to

Posted by: PAGE Staff

STEM Vital Signs

This morning, Change The Equation, a non-profit, non-partisan CEO-led initiative designed to address America’s innovation challenges, unveiled their Vital Signs Report.  The report aims to mine the data on all 50 states and the District of Columbia with the goal of improving STEM education nationwide.  In his remarks this morning, Craig R. Barrett, current Chair of Change The Equation and the former CEO/Chairman of the Board for Intel, noted that after over fifty years of concern over our country’s science and mathematics education, and after fifty years of mixed progress, now is the time for action as it relates to America’s educational system.

Posted by: Clark Taylor

Sources: Change The Equation

Photo Credit: Change The Equation

Public-Private STEM Collaboration

At its annual summit of education and business leaders last week, the Chamber of Commerce hosted superintendents and CEOs to discuss the “essential role business plays in the success of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.” The Chamber’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce released a report at the event, written by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, entitled The Case for Being Bold: A New Agenda for Business in Improving STEM Education to outline industry’s role in innovating how America teaches its children.

The report called on leaders to “apply innovative and fresh thinking to areas of protracted debate, such as academic standards, human capital, and new school models.”  Joel Klein, former New York City Schools Chancellor and current NewsCorp Executive Vice President, suggested that school systems invest in more technology that can be used to tap into the interests and learning styles of today’s youth.  He noted that “remedies engineered to fit comfortably within today’s system will be hard-pressed to fundamentally transform STEM education… most [proposals] leave largely undisturbed the organizing assumptions of schools designed to process the masses and educate the few.”

In Memphis, the private sector and educators are collaborating to create just such a cooperative atmosphere that will encourage innovative curricula and reward schools that enrich their STEM education.  The Mid-South STEM Alliance is already “hosting summer camps and developing specific objectives and programs that can be instituted throughout the K-12 system” to encourage student interest and perfect teaching practices.  The programs aim to instill creative thinking-based classrooms with real-world applications in hopes of developing as a “STEM hub” that will attract business to the region.

Posted by: John Coit

Sources:, Institute for a Competitive Workforce,, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Photo Credit: Business Class courtesy of flickr user Tulane Public Relations

Reminder – You are Invited: Perspectives on the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement

The Program on America and the Global Economy (PAGE)


Perspectives on the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement

Featuring: Jose W. Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of State for

Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs

Moderated by: Kent Hughes, Director, Program on America and the Global Economy, Woodrow Wilson Center; Discussant: William E. Craft Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Programs; Discusant: William Krist, Senior Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center

Mr. Fernandez serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. He leads the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development, and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas.

Mr. Fernandez served as a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins, and Global Chair of the firm’s Latin America practice. For nearly three decades, his practice has focused on Latin America, Europe and Africa, advising clients on international mergers and acquisitions, financings, trade and other matters as the economies of these regions have evolved. Mr. Fernandez was named one of the “World’s Leading Lawyers” by Chambers Global for his M&A and corporate expertise, an “Expert” in International Financial Law Review’s “Guide to the World’s Leading Project Finance Lawyers”, and one of the “World’s Leading Privatization Lawyers” by Euromoney Publications.

Assistant Secretary of State Jose W. Fernandez will speak about the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).  He will focus on the positive economic implications of the agreement – exports, jobs, and its impact on the American economy – as well as its strengthening of a vital strategic alliance in the Asia-Pacific.  President Obama intends to submit KORUS to Congress in the next few weeks and will work with Congress to secure its approval this spring.

Tuesday, April 19th:  3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

6th Floor Flom Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center

RSVP (acceptances only) to

Posted by: PAGE Staff