Thursday, August 23, 2012

What Difference Does a Person Make

This FCW post reports the Obama administration has 22 "rockstar innovators" coming in to help transform the government.  I wish them luck, I really do. 


There's always a but. My guess is only 5-10 percent of them will have the desired impact.  They may know software and they may know people, but they probably don't know government. 

Point number one: in 90 days they're dead meat if Obama doesn't win reelection. There may be one or two who know someone in Romney's camp with sufficient pull to stay on, assuming they want to but that's all.  And everyone in the bureaucracy knows they're dead meat if Obama's polls continue to fall, so how much cooperation will they get?

Point number two: to be effective the innovator needs to hook up with someone in the bureaucracy who has some clout and is open minded about sharing credit with the innovator.  After all the innovator isn't the secretary's person, he's the president's; he's from the Innovator initiative and he's here to help. ("He" because there appear to be only 2 women in the list.) 

Point number three: during the next 90 days the bureaucracy is going to move slowly simply because of the impending election.  It takes a unique blend of chutzpah and dedication to push full steam ahead on something when it's much more interesting to spend the day checking realclearpolitics and hashing over Obama's chances in Florida or Ohio.

My bottomline--one or two of the innovators may land in the right place where their skills and personality fits with someone already there, and together they may make significant changes.  That's better than not having any changes in the next 6 months, but it's not a silver bullet.

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