Bruce Nussbaum’s excellent Business Week blog has a post called Letter to President-Elect Obama: Here’s How To Build Your Innovation Dream Team. It recommends candidates for roles in Obama’s administration and also identifies a couple of new roles: Chief Innovation Officer and Creativity Advisory Board.
I agree with Nussbaum. President-Elect Obama needs to make significant changes in the way government operates and should infuse innovation and design thinking into his administration. But I would also propose another position: Citizen Experience Officer.
I often advise large organizations (banks. retailers, telcos, etc.) to put an executive in charge of their customer experience efforts; creating a position like Chief Customer Officer if they are committed to making improvements. These execs motivate, coordinate, and accelerate the focus on customers across an organization.
If President-Elect Obama wants to significantly improve the relationship between the US government and the US people, then a Citizen Experience Officer (the public sector version of a Chief Customer Officer) makes a lot of sense. What would a Citizen Experience Officer do? As the rest of the Cabinet overhauls governmental policies, this person can help make the government easier to work with, one interaction at a time.
In particular, a Citizen Experience Officer could:
- Establish a comprehensive Voice-Of-The-Citizen program to make sure that the needs of citizens are driving the design of all interactions and are incorporated in decision making.
- Improve the usability of federal government Websites and other self-service channels like kiosks and phone self-service to lower the cost of interactions.
- Make all government communications (instructions, etc.) easier to understand so that government will become more accessible.
- Redesign processes to make them more citizen-friendly and to simplify interactions with government agencies.
- Develop and execute a communications and training plan for government employees to infuse a citizen-centric focus across all government organizations.
- Share best practices for citizen-centricity across federal agencies and departments.
The bottom line: It’s not audacity to hope for better government experiences