Obama forms private-sector board to improve agency operations

New advisory group will bring private sector lessions to public sector operations

President Barack Obama formed a new advisory board because he sees the federal government lagging behind the private sector when it comes to applying innovation to operations, according to a senior administration official.

“It used to be that a federal worker had more computing power and prowess at their desk than at home; now, they often have more power in their Blackberry or iPhone than at their desk,” Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote on OMB’s blog on April 19.

For that reason, Obama established the President’s Management Advisory Board on April 19 to complement his advisory committee of federal officials. The attempt is to tap private-sector expertise and apply it to federal work.


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White House meets corporate CEOs for ideas on modernizing


Obama issued an executive order for the advisory board to help his administration find the best ways to manage federal agencies’ operations. Although the board’s chairman is Jeffrey Zients, deputy director for management at OMB and chief performance officer, the remaining 17 members will be private-sector executives, Obama’s order states. The administration has yet to make any announcements about the 17 board members.

The administration is interested in proven techniques to improve productivity, apply technology usefully and enhance customer service, according to the president’s order.

“As the president has said time and again, the best ideas often come from outside Washington,” Orszag wrote.

The board builds on what the White House learned from its forum on modernizing government held in January, Orszag wrote.

During that event, more than 50 top industry executives converged on the White House. They sat through breakout sessions and interacted with government officials who are trying to find ways to spend money wisely and get the most returns.

"Coming out of that meeting, it became clear that the dialogue between senior private and public sector leaders was a fruitful one, and this new board will provide a venue to keep that conversation going," Orszag wrote.

Before the forum, Zients said the private sector has moved far ahead in the technology arena in recent decades while the government has remained relatively stagnant. “We wanted to find out how they did it,” he said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Tue, Jun 29, 2010

Put a Certified Records Manager on this board. An well functioning organization must have a well functioning Records Management Progam. Can't get one without the other!!

Wed, Apr 21, 2010

Obama forming a "private sector board" because "the best ideas often come from outside Washington". Do not get your hopes up to get anything positive from it. His staff has the lowest, by far, percentage of people coming from the private sector of all presidents (8% versus nearly all the rest coming between 40 and 60%). What it sounds like is another way to pay off his cronies with taxpayer money with another organization that mostly serves at his whim. Between the make up of his staff and the programs this admistration has been pushing so far, he has shown little regard for ideas from the private sector.

Wed, Apr 21, 2010

How do we get on this new panel? Has the agenda and list of improvements already been set?

Wed, Apr 21, 2010

how about the Federal Desktop Core Configuration?? What about not using thumb drives? Disabling wireless. The list is long and distinguished.

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