America’s new CIO wants to disrupt government and make it a startup

October 27, 2011
Steven VanRoekel

Steven VanRoekel (credit: Phase2 Technology)

Steven VanRoekel, America’s new CIO, wants to overhaul the federal bureaucracy to become more agile in an age of services delivered via mobile apps, and where information is atomized so that it can be mashed up by anyone to provide deeper insights, Talking Points Memo reports.

He launched a new “Future First” initiative Tuesday night at Xerox PARC to establish new principles for how the federal government develops technology projects.

He called on the technologists in the audience to submit their ideas on what those rules should be, and he intends to further crowd-source the project for ideas at He also wants to break down massive multi-year information technology projects into smaller, more modular projects in hopes of saving the government from getting mired in multi-million dollar failures.

Instead of having to go to an office to fill out piles of paper, or waiting for months in an inscrutable process for permits to build projects for example, VanRoekel wants to build mobile apps and web sites that let citizens and businesses interact with the government remotely.

Previously, he worked at the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Microsoft.