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Innovation means finding efficiencies fast

Florida’s CIO talks transparency, analytics and defines what innovation means in his state.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives

Jake Williams is currently the Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives for StateScoop, based in Washington, D.C., where h...

Warm beaches are not the only reason Florida is known as the Sunshine State.

Jason Allison, the chief information officer of Florida, told StateScoop last month that the state’s transparency efforts stand out as a national leader in making government more open. From a "right to know" portal to a budget site focused exclusively on transparency, Allison emphasized how the state’s Agency for State Technology bolsters Gov. Rick Scott’s commitment to transparency.

“The way we’re structured — the Agency for State Technology — we do a lot of the back office stuff,” Allison said. “Florida is very well known for transparency, for being the Sunshine State — everything’s open in the sunshine.”

In addition to supporting the state’s transparency efforts, Allison said the agency is looking into how to use data analytics to combat fraud in unemployment, compensation and reemployment cases. These aren't pipe dreams. Last week, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that the state saved more than $20 million in fiscal year 2016 thanks to data analysis on healthcare fraud cases.

“It’s not like we’re out there creating new technologies or anything like that,” Allison said. “I think innovation means taking what is out there and bringing it into state government. To me, that’s completely innovating because it’s usually been an area that’s quite a bit of a laggard.”

The idea is to use technologies like analytics and mobile platforms to make government more efficient, Allison said.

“We serve the public. So, from an innovation standpoint, it’s about how best to take those technologies and implement them quickly,” Allison said. “Making sure that we’re able to deliver quickly and efficiently — to me, that’s innovating in state government.”

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