The Department of Labor (DOL) is continuing to experiment with new and emerging technologies by testing out standards for privacy and security on a smaller scale before mass implementation. As a part of this effort, the agency’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has established an Innovation Incubator to ensure the adoption of game-changing technology is fully operationalized, said Krista Kinnard, chief of Emerging Technologies at the OCIO for DOL, during an FCW webinar on September 14.

“The idea behind the Innovation Incubator is to think about the result and our end-users,” said Kinnard. “The Innovation Incubator allows us to follow a step-by-step implementation plan to make sure we are not exploring technology just for the sake of exploring.”

This is where the Innovation Incubator comes into place, she said. Before implementing or deploying any emerging technology, OCIO follows the following phases as part of their Innovation Incubator strategy:

  • Phase 1 Discovery: OCIO officials must first determine and clearly define the problem they are trying to resolve, as well as identify the required stakeholders and define the success criteria;
  • Phase 2 POC: OCIO must determine if and what emerging technology will solve the problem, and explore potential enterprise-level applications;
  • Phase 3 Pilot: OCIO officials must explore a pilot program with a group of end-users, and plan for enterprise capability.
  • Phase 4 Scale: Finally, OCIO must scale for use by all end-users, and develop and implement enterprise capability.

“We must make sure that any new technology we explore [will then] be operationalized for our end users,” said Kinnard.

Additionally, the OCIO has laid out four goals where utilizing emerging technology will help improve how DOL delivers its services to end-users:

  • Create DOL IT Platform IT Services: An integrated platform linking hardware, applications, and data providing strategic capabilities to achieve DOL-wide operational efficiencies to serve the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States more effectively;
  • Modernize Legacy Agency Applications: Drive the modernization of legacy agency mission-critical applications by delivering technology leadership and modern solutions, resulting in a state-of-the-art end-user experience, optimized functionality, and increased security;
  • Secure & Enhance IT Infrastructure: Integrate and standardize DOL’s IT infrastructure to provide a robust cybersecurity posture while increasing the reliability and functionality of information systems and infrastructure that support mission-critical services; and
  • Transform Customer Experience: As DOL’s IT service provider, deliver best-in-class IT services and solutions to enable DOL agencies to provide superior support to the American public.

“We are a customer service organization dedicated to providing information technology solutions and leadership to advance [DOL’s] mission,” Kinnard said. “And our vision is to provide premier technology solutions, best in Federal service, that empower the DOL mission and serve the American public through collaboration and innovation.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.