With state government budgets in the red, information technology leaders have found it increasingly difficult to be innovative.
But Jerry Mechling, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, said failing to change is a big mistake.
“IT-enabled innovation is a key leadership challenge, and the leadership to make this happen is an important element,” Mechling said. “Failing to change is the biggest risk.”
Mechling was the first of two keynote speakers who addressed an audience of state government technology leaders May 5 at the Kentucky Digital Summit in Frankfort. For the ninth consecutive year, Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT) partnered with Government Technology Magazine and industry sponsors to host the one-day summit.
The audience was also captivated with the story of Al Collins, basketball coach at John Ehret High School in Marrero, La., who, despite adversity, guided his team to a state championship in 2006.
The team’s perseverance became the inspiration for the film "Hurricane Season" which is expected to be in theaters this fall.
Collins lost his home, money, school facilities and just about everything he needed to do his job in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
“To say it was challenging is an understatement,” Collins said.
Jack Mortimer, national conference director of executive events for Government Technology magazine, said the summit was a “huge success,” and attendees ranked the overall experience as very high in a satisfaction survey.
“A phenomenal 100 percent of the surveys rated their satisfaction as positive, and an even more phenomenal 92 percent rated it either exceptional or very good,” Mortimer said. “Clearly the summit was of real value.”
Best of Kentucky
Each year, COT recognizes the most important and creative achievements in Information Technology in state government through its Best of Kentucky Technology Awards. This year’s winners include:
Best App Serving the Public
Kyleidocope: Exploring Kentucky History
Kyleidoscope is a network solution that improves access to historical Kentucky archival materials for the citizens of Kentucky, the world, and in particular, the educators and students working in Kentucky classrooms. Kyleidoscope expands the Kentucky Virtual Library’s statewide mission to allow all citizens of Kentucky access to quality library and information resources.
Most Innovative Use of Technology
MegaDEAF Conference 2009
The MegaDEAF Conference 2009 was a 2 hour video conference that brought together deaf schools at the same time to view student designed and conducted presentations and activities focused on both academic and cultural issues. This project was designed to give Deaf students in elementary and secondary schools around the world the opportunity to communicate, collaborate, and contribute to each others learning in real time, using multi-point video conferencing technology. The conference connected 42 schools from the United States, Canada, Ireland and England. Participants included K-12 grades, colleges and universities, and interested educators.
Best Online Services
Secretary of the State – Online Services
The Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) has transformed itself over the last decade into an online service center. In most instances, a citizen no longer has to wait to contact the office or mail documents in order to conduct business. Instead most work can be done online and processed in near “real time”. The Secretary of State’s website currently receives millions of hits a year, making it one of the most frequently visited websites for a government agency in Kentucky. The SOS site has been recognized by various international associations for being one of the best government websites in the world.
Best IT Collaboration (two winners)
Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) State Championship, Kentucky Dept of Education
The Student Technology Leadership Program spans statewide and is a great collaborative effort between our communities, schools, universities, vendors and state government.
Commonwealth eScrap Initiative, Finance Cabinet, Environment and Energy Cabinet
This program was developed to identify and prioritize projects and investments with the greatest potential for energy efficiency, environmental stewardship and cost savings. The program was also developed to compliment the greening of government efforts currently underway by the Governor’s office, the Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Finance Cabinet.
The first major accomplishment of this initiative was a statewide contract for recycling of Commonwealth eScrap. This new contract, which was activated Jan. 1, 2009, was awarded through a competitive bid process to Creative Recycling Systems of Tampa, Fla.
The Commonwealth conservatively disposes over five million pounds of electronic eScrap each year. This new contract provides assurances that this large volume of scrap will be recycled in an environmentally sound manner and also ensures the proper sanitation of any data/information remaining on hard drives and memory.
This category recognizes a government manager or official who has demonstrated vision, leadership and support of technology initiatives in their organization. The recipient possesses a clear record of driving the use of technology, a demonstrated ability to identify future needs, and a passion for serving the public.