By Katie Malague and Dan Chenok

Building on the exponential growth of artificial intelligence over the past decade, federal agencies are using intelligent automation to further improve productivity. Intelligent automation incorporates AI, blockchain, cloud computing, robotics and other technologies, and is collectively transforming how agencies work—from managing paperwork to using data for decision-making to providing services to customers.

Indeed, past presidential administrations recognized the potential of artificial intelligence and other technologies and paved the way toward more complex use of intelligent automation: first through the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan to maximize the benefits of federal AI funding, then through the American Artificial Intelligence Initiative to accelerate AI adoption.

Whatever the outcome of the presidential election, leaders can build on these initiatives to make government operations more effective and efficient and service delivery seamless.

The Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for The Business of Government hosted five events this year with agencies that moved from technology pilot projects to full-scale adoption: the U.S. Marine Corps, the General Services Administration, the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, and the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

These events highlighted lessons for the administration to consider for its AI plans and policies, and for effective adoption of intelligent automation:

The event recordings are available on the Partnership’s website, and event summaries are on the IBM Center’s blog.

Katie Malague is the vice president for government effectiveness at the Partnership for Public Service.

Dan Chenok is executive director of the IBM Center for The Business of Government.

The Partnership and the IBM Center have collaborated on several other resources a second or first-term administration in 2021 might use to help government take full advantage of artificial intelligence. In our 2018 report, “The Future Has Begun,” we presented examples of the government’s successful use of AI. In the 2019 reports, “More Than Meets AI” and “More Than Meets AI Part II,” we explored impacts on the federal workforce, as well as issues of ethics, bias, security and privacy.

By Paul Hitlin

As our world becomes increasingly digital with new life-changing innovations on the way, federal agencies will need digital, technological and innovation expertise to provide Americans with necessary services. As the country experiences the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, virtual access to government services is proving more essential than ever.  

The Partnership for Public Service and the Tech Talent Project released a new report today, “Tech Talent for 21st Century Government,” that focuses on how federal agencies can deliver strong policies and services to advance the country’s ability to innovate. The report highlights a subset of key presidentially appointed and senior-level positions critical for driving innovation in government and a need for leaders who understand the link between technology and organizational effectiveness. Any president planning his policy and management agenda must consider the potential to enhance government capabilities with new technologies. 

Built on recommendations from dozens of current and former federal leaders across the political spectrum, the report identifies a subset of critical leadership positions across government and the responsibilities that come with them. The report: 

The White House and agency leaders must build technology-literate leadership teams that set policies for government modernization and provide support government-wide. Ultimately, modern technical expertise is as vital for leaders to have as economic, legal and financial expertise. if we are to create a well-functioning government that works for the people of the United States. 

Download the full report.  

Confronted with considerable change in the coming decade, the federal government must evolve to support technology, data and the evolution of workplace demands. Presidents need forward-thinking and proactive management agendas in order to adapt to these changes and build a successful administration to deliver on campaign promises. In fact, most transition teams view management issues as so critical, they devote significant resources to planning their administrative strategy in addition to their policy preparation.

The Partnership for Public Service and Ernst & Young LLP recently released a report on the future of government that can inform both administrations seeking a second term and challengers seeking the presidency. Through interviews with agency leaders and subject-matter specialists, “A Roadmap to the Future: Toward a More Connected Federal Government” offers recommendations on how agencies can make the most of technology, data and the workforce to better accomplish their missions.

Success in these areas depends on agencies improving internal collaboration, working together, engaging the public and establishing connections with stakeholders from outside government.

Doing so allows agencies to:

As the report notes, “Widespread success would mean a more effective and efficient federal government that pushes the limits of the possible and exceeds, rather than simply meets, the expectations of the people it serves.”

Download the full report.