Data accessibility apiece with equity, says Colorado CIO

Colorado Chief Information Officer David Edinger told StateScoop in a recent interview that improving accessibility for all state residents is a key priority that’s been furthered by recent pushes in cybersecurity, broadband and artificial intelligence.

“It’s not just about accessibility for the [Americans with Disabilities Act] community, but accessibility for all,” Edinger said at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference in National Harbor, Maryland. “Everybody’s focused on just getting to a compliance level, and that’s good, it’s better than nothing. But my job is to sort of open up everybody’s minds to, ‘Let’s not think about [compliance] as the ceiling. Let’s think about [it] as the floor and see how far can we go on this stuff.”

Edinger said he’s focused on finding ways to use technology to better serve the baby boomer generation, people born between 1946 and 1964.

“We can’t keep saying we’re not paying attention to that group,” said Edinger, who added that data equity and accessibility are linked. “If we’re thinking about equity in the right way, and not from an ‘everything needs to be equal,’ but ‘everything needs to be adjusted’ in order to provide equity, then I think the accessibility conversation becomes a lot more interesting.”

Edinger previously served as CIO for the City of Denver. He said he plans to use the greater resources of the state government to scale IT initiatives throughout Colorado’s 64 counties.

“Denver has a lot of resources that a lot of the smaller cities and counties don’t have. So how can Denver partner with the state and collaborate in ways that are that scalable to the other counties,” he said. “I think that’s where the real power of this whole thing is.”