The second area of accomplishment that I’d like to note is our support for citizen and industry engagement under our Innovation and Open Government Initiative. This initiative not only supports the Open Government Directive but also is aligned to goals within the White House’s “25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management.” We have continued to execute on our Innovation and Open Government plans, including the roll-out of an “Innovation Lab,” to help encourage out-of-the-box thinking, creativity, and actionable solution-focused ideas throughout HUD.
One program at HUD that I think is primed for an especially exciting year in 2011 is HUD Ideas in Action, our open forum with the non-profit National Academy of Public Administration that enables employees and stakeholders to contribute and comment on new ideas. We here at HUD are very interested in sharing data and ideas with both the public and our employees across the nation. A public engagement tool like Ideas in Action offers a direct channel that enhances the flow of valuable ideas throughout our organization.
As ideas are generated, the Department will leverage the Innovation Lab and new mechanisms like prizes and challenges to implement solutions. One of the ways Congress is trying to spur new thinking is by approving legislation that will allow prizes for the best ideas. Just this last week Congress granted broad prize authority to all Federal agencies through passage of the America Competes Act. Within the HUD we will leverage this legislation to make innovative ideas a reality across the HUD missions. As the Department looks to leverage prizes and challenges, I am encouraged to see existing uses of these mechanisms within HUD today. HUD is currently partnering with Ashoka Changemakers, the State Department, and the American Planning Association for a challenge called “Sustainable Urban Housing: Collaborating for Liveable and Inclusive Cities.” Challenges like these, empowered by the America Competes Act, will also soon help our offices leverage creative problem-solving techniques and crowd-source the most effective solutions. I’m looking forward to working with program offices to explore what technology-based challenges may be ideal to help us solve some of our most pressing problems.
Both the White House and HUD have carved out ambitious IT reform plans for 2011 that will shine the light on what is working and is not working within the Federal Government. I am inspired by the vision we share to build strong communities. We will use our own ingenuity and engage both existing and new partners to ensure the best ideas are applied to more effectively perform HUD’s mission. I am reassured to know we’ll have the management discipline, problem-solving mechanisms, and engagement of our stakeholders to help us succeed.