April 5, 2013 By Colin Wood
While most people agree that collaboration and innovation are good things in government, Rob White, chief innovation officer of Davis, Calif., says the public sector has additional forces at work that routinely prevent successful collaboration from happening – fear, threat and lack of rewards for taking risks.
And Phil Bertolini, CIO of Oakland County, Mich., agrees with White’s identification of these three negative forces.
Like White, Bertolini has years of experience managing successful collaborations in government. Part of his county’s experience with collaboration, he said, came from the fact that it ran out of money before most other counties did: Around 2003, the county realized it was going to have to find new ways of doing business, and a few years later, almost everyone else was in the same situation. And Bertolini said he doesn’t expect finances to get back to normal for at least another 10 years.
With that in mind, Oakland County places a heavy focus on long-term partnerships and collaboration, perhaps most notably running G2G Cloud Solutions, a technology sharing service that allows other governments to piggyback on the county’s existing services, creating cost savings for all partners.
As proven by successful collaborations in Oakland County and Livermore, Calif., the three hindrances can all be overcome, White said.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.