Speaker Interview – Charlene Huggard
How is your presentation relevant to the theme of this year’s BBC conference: Innovation in the Fast Lane?
My presentation “Freedom of Information — an old dog with new tricks” is all about innovation in an area of government transparency that has been around for 40+ years (the Freedom of Information Law), as well as innovation personally – an “old” business analyst diving in to the fast lane of Lean BA, design thinking, customer experience, DevOps, cloud technologies, Zen Data Center and rapid application development of an award-winning, first of its kind application. In the presentation I’ll touch on all the buzzwords!
What are your top tips for companies or employees wishing to innovate?
First, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, but be able to back up your position with facts. It took a while to convince the people that hold the purse strings in New York State that we could create a single application that could be used by more than 59 state agencies faster and cheaper than purchasing a third-party product. This had never been done in New York State, and especially by an IT agency that is not even 6 years old yet.
Second, which ties in with the first tip but maybe is a corollary, is a carry-over from a presentation by Paul Crosby at last year’s BBC: Fail Fast. Our experience was not without some pretty significant challenges and outright failures, but the team knew we could get through each problem encountered and succeed.
Finally, be engaged. Believe in what you are proposing to do … own it — especially the reasons for doing it. Is the Freedom of Information Law an interesting topic? Maybe mildly, but there are other public issues that are more exciting, like medical marijuana and the opioid crisis. But the underlying concept of transparency in government is critical to democracy, and that’s pretty important.
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