The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology recently hired Kevin Parker, formerly the head of government innovation for Rhode Island, as a new chief information officer overseeing technology for the state’s educational agencies and programs.
Parker began his new position in July after a decade of government innovation experience, including eight years with the city government in Boston. For the past two years, Parker led Rhode Island’s Office of Innovation, where he worked with employees from other agencies to develop new technology projects that could be applied across the state.
As Illinois’ new CIO for education, Parker’s responsibilities include enforcing digital literacy and inclusion, strengthening collaborations between state government and external partners — including the University of Illinois system — and supporting projects started by state’s data and analytics team.
“My top priority is to continue to strengthen and build up on the work that our agency and the people who work here have done and to strengthen relationships with our education partners both internally at the state and also across the state of Illinois,” Parker said during a DoIT town hall meeting last month.
Parker’s other responsibilities will largely include the Illinois Government Innovation Academy, a month-long training series for state employees to develop digital solutions. According to Parker, who ran a similar program in Rhode Island , the academy is an in-house leadership development program focused on rethinking the role of government in a digital world.
The academy is split up into five different sessions: idea generation, user observations, behavioral insights, ideas and implementation, and storytelling. From lessons on how government technology works to approaches on successfully implementing ideas and strategies, Parker and his team believe the academy will help strengthen Illinois’ current pace of government innovation.
“We are looking to create a network of co-innovators and ‘intrapreneurs’ within DoIT to design new approaches for connecting and engaging with citizens as well as make government more efficient and responsive,” Parker said during the town hall.