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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.

By Cecilia Kang  |  November 25, 2008; 4:25 PM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
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Tracked on November 26, 2008 2:43 PM


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There needs to be an innovation system as developed and integrated as the financial system. The Ingenesist Project specifies the required structure

The Ingenesist Project Specifies 3 web applications which if deployed to social networks would allow social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to become tangible outside the construct of the traditional corporation - and tangible through Social Media. The result will be a crowdsourced innovation economy. The same dynamics that were so effective in Mr. Obama's campaign are powerful enough to balance the financial system at level that will be required.

No other viable innovation system has been proposed. Social Media and the idea of knowledge tangibility are the two most powerful tools left in the economic development arsenal. Let the people build it.

Posted by: ingenesist | November 25, 2008 11:05 PM

It's great to see President-Elect Obama put such an emphasis on the country's innovation agenda. Our path out of many problems like healthcare, energy, and the environment will take a heavy dose of innovation.

In addition to innovation, I'd also like to see Obama reshape how the government interacts with citizens. That's why I've recommended that Obama create a Citizen Experience Officer in my blog (

Posted by: BruceT1 | November 26, 2008 9:03 AM

I am glad Obama is contributing to the IT Industry..... green technology is the wave of the future...

Posted by: grayeric | November 29, 2008 10:51 PM

This is a very good news for our great country. !!!!

Posted by: akber_kassam | December 1, 2008 1:06 PM

I'm very concerned about what it means for our country and public affairs to have unaccountable tekkies decide what the "Innovation Agenda" is. I'm troubled by the inclusion of Beth Noveck of New York Law School, as her idea about the "democracy of groups" are in fact recipes for overthrowing legitimate representative democracy and institutions with structures of accountability, for the sake of anonymous, unaccountable "netroots" or casually-formed groups on the Internet that amount to mobs.

There's a very glib concept afloat now that these "netroots" who raised money in Silicon Valley for the Obama campaign somehow represent democratic grassroots. They don't. They are merely one interest group; they are merely one set of lobbyists and lawyers for one industry; they represent merely one point of view about the Internet, technology, copyright, and communications -- and these viewspoints are all decidedly of the hard left, with little debate.

All this bears a lot more scrutiny and a lot more diversity. Innovation cannot become a lobbyists' new-fangled cover.

Posted by: ProkofyNeva | December 1, 2008 3:04 PM

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