Plenary: Innovating in Government ICT

The distinctive name "skunkworks" originated during World War II when the P-80 Shooting Star was designed by Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects Division in Burbank, California. Today a "skunkworks project" often operates with a high degree of autonomy and is unhampered by bureaucracy. It is typically developed by a small and loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of radical innovation. It might be surprising, therefore, to learn that the UK Government has created an IT Skunkworks.

The Government Skunkworks has been established to develop low-cost, fast and agile ICT solutions. It is a significant part of the Governments strategy for levelling the procurement playing field by providing a new channel for SMEs and entrepreneurs to participate in government ICT with new and innovative solutions. Skunkworks is working to develop an environment for SMEs to test their solutions to ensure compatibility within government’s future standardised cloud environment.

By adopting and agile methodology, actively working with SMEs and using open standards and open source technology the Governments skunkworks will bring the advantages of open development and open innovation to Government systems. In this special plenary session Mark O'Neill will discuss how and why the Government created a skunkworks environment.

Session time: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 9:30am - 10:20am

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About the Speaker

Mark O'Neill

Founder and Head, UK Government "Skunkworks"
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Mark O’Neill is Head of Innovation (formerly called Skunkworks) at the Government Digital Service, which was established to develop low-cost, fast and agile development and delivery capability, particularly within government’s future cloud environment. By adopting an agile and lean methodology and using open standards and open source technology, the team engages with SMEs and entrepreneurs to promote a wider eco-system of solution and service providers. Mark is currently working on a range of projects around open data, new delivery models for IT services, and entrepreneurship.

Prior to this Mark was Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) where he was responsible for ICT service delivery, information & knowledge management and online services. Mark was also the CIO at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and worked on London 2012.

Mark has worked in ICT for over 20 years in the UK, Europe and Canada, and has spoken on a wide range of IT related topics at seminars, conferences and universities. Mark also writes on a range of topics from successful delivery, technology, business/IS alignment and art.

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