Today, the top leadership and middle managers at government agencies need to understand enough about information technology to be able to:
- Ask the right questions;
- Identify new opportunities and technology trends that could fundamentally change how their organization does business; and
- Identify cultural, regulatory and organizational barriers that could prevent realizing the full benefits of new digital technologies (e.g. social media, wireless technologies, sensor and cloud computing).
This course is part of the Executive Pathways series, and is required for the Master of Science in Leadership.
The Power of Digital Government
In the second decade of the 21st century, technological savvy for members of the Senior Executive Service—and those who aspire to it—is no longer just a desirable skill. Rather, technological savvy is one of the most critical leadership competencies to possess in order to effectively manage today’s government agencies.
Technology expert Dr. Michael Nelson is instructing Brookings Executive Education course on Digital Government. The course will focus on answering twelve IT questions for government managers and executives, which he identified as critical:
- Where did the Internet come from and what comes next?
- How can our agency have a world-class website?
- What can we move to the Cloud?
- What happens when my employees bring their own technology into the workplace?
- How do we design an effective social media strategy?
- What about cyber security and privacy?
- What is our transparency strategy?
- How do we deal with information overload?
- What are open standards and open source software and why do they matter?
- How can we foster an ecosystem of innovation?
- How do we “future-proof” our IT systems and strategy?
- How do we hire, nurture, retain and manage effective IT-savvy staff?
Participants in Digital Government will gain a better understanding of how digital technologies developed and are evolving, how people and organizations use and adopt new and existing technologies, and what government policies influence which technologies can be used and how. In addition, participants will explore the many organizational and management issues related to digital technologies and, in an era of budget constraints, public leaders will gain insight into the economics of the digital marketplace. This course will also give participants opportunities to become acquainted with a range of tools and technologies and to better understand how the government adopts and uses them.
Participants will leave the course with renewed insights on how to ask the right questions of technological experts, identify new opportunities to be more effective with the latest technology, and identify cultural, regulatory and other barriers. Further, participants will learn how to more fully integrate IT processes within their agency’s mission and manage the evaluation of results from all major investments in those IT systems.
The instructor for this course, Dr. Michael Nelson, is currently visiting professor of Internet Studies in Georgetown University's Communication, Culture and Technology Program. Before joining the Georgetown faculty, Dr. Nelson was director of internet technology and strategy at IBM, where he managed a team helping define and implement IBM's Next Generation Internet strategy. Prior to joining IBM, Dr. Nelson was director for technology policy at the Federal Communications Commission, where he helped craft policies to foster electronic commerce, spur development and deployment of new technologies, and improve the reliability and security of the nation's telecommunications networks. Dr. Nelson was also a special assistant for information technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he worked with Vice President Al Gore on telecommunications policy, information technology, encryption and online privacy, electronic commerce, and information policy.