Obama Names Team To Create "Innovation Agenda"
President-elect Barack Obama today unveiled who will oversee his "Innovation Agenda," a set of policy proposals that aim to make government operations more transparent, use high-technology to create jobs and get average citizens more involved in government.
Lead members of the group, Blair Levin, Sonal Shah and Julius Genachowski, will divide the group into four sub-teams: 1) Innovation and Government 2) Innovation and National Priorities 3) Innovation and Science 4) Innovation and Civil Society.
The agenda "includes a range of proposals to create a 21st century government that is more open and effective; leverages technology to grow the economy, create jobs, and solve our country's most pressing problems; respects the integrity of and renews our commitment to science; and catalyzes active citizenship and partnerships in shared governance with civil society institutions," according to the president-elect's Web Site.
What does that all mean in practice? Gigi Sohn, executive director of public interest group Public Knowledge, said the announcement sounds like the group will focus largely on transforming the way government works so that average citizens will be able to understand the process at agencies, such as the Federal Communicaiots Commission, and get involved in issues there.
"You have a system there where basically you have to be an expert to participate. The average Joe wouldn't know how to submit FCC comments and get things from the FCC because the processes are opaque and the Web site is so difficult to navigate," Sohn said. "The President-elect's idea is to say let's let people participate but also be actually part of policy making."
Sohn said Levin and Genachowski, both veterans of telecommunications and tech policy, are "civic-minded" and have the desire to make the government, including agencies like the FCC, catered less for lawyers or telecom lobbyists. This role fits under what has been described so far as the responsibilities of the nation's Chief Technology Officer, who hasn't yet been named, she said.
Members of the group: Howard Buffet, David Burd, Dan Chenok, Aneesh Chopra, Jack Chorowsky, Cheryl Dorsey, Joshua Dubois, Judy Estrin, Tom Freedman, Jim Halpert, Mark Johnson, Michele Jolin, Tom Kalil, Kei Koizumi, Vivek Kundra, Don Lamb, John Leibovitz, Bruce McConnell, Andrew McLaughlin, Parry Norling, Beth Noveck, Spencer Overton, Lori Perine, Kartik Raghavan, Alec Ross, Paul Schmitz, Clifford Sloan, Steve Spinner, Marta Urquilla, Chris Warren, Daniel Weitzner and Irving Wladawsky-Berger.
November 25, 2008; 4:25 PM ET
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