Throughout the halls of government, perhaps no word is more often cited than âinnovation.â While thereâs no doubt that innovation holds the key to envisioning governmentâs work in the future, Iâll admit that innovation itself can be a challenging word, given that it has so many meanings to so many people.
At its core, I am am believe innovation is the ability to think, envision & act audaciously, to set far-reaching, often disruptive goals & enlist a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team to meet them. At the National Archives & Records Administration, our mission is to drive openness, cultivate public participation, & strengthen our nationâs democracy through public access to high-value records. In order to do this, & to do it well, we must be audacious.
One way NARA is working toward this vision is by partnering with the Presidential Innovation Fellows program. Established by the White House in 2012 and now led by a dedicated program office at 18F in the General Services Administration, the Presidential Innovation Fellows program brings the principles, values, and practices of the innovation economy into government through the most effective agents of change we know: our people. This highly competitive program pairs talented, diverse individuals from the innovation community with top civil servants to tackle many of our Nationâs biggest challenges, & to achieve a profound & lasting social impact.
Out of a competitive search involving over 2,000 applicants & over 100 potential agency projects since the Program’s inception, 27 Presidential Innovation Fellows were chosen this year to partner with 12 federal agencies. In September 2014, two of these Fellows â Ashley Jablow & David Naffis â joined NARA to support our efforts to bring innovative thinking and action to our work.
Ashley Jablow is an open innovation & online community strategist with a passion for social impact. Most recently Ashley served as challenge & business development lead at OpenIDEO â an online open innovation platform developed by IDEO where people design better, together for social good. In this capacity, Ashley served as an online community mobilizer, digital communications specialist, client coach, & design thinking facilitator. Prior to IDEO, Ashley worked in corporate philanthropy & in nonprofit fundraising. Ashley is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area & holds a BA in Sociology & Spanish from University of Michigan & an MBA in Marketing & Corporate Responsibility from Boston University.
David Naffis is an entrepreneur & software developer with experience in software services, product development, strategy, & operations. He is a founder of Intridea, an Inc 500 winning software development firm where he oversaw several successful product spinouts & acquisitions. Before starting Intridea, David worked as a software engineer & architect at companies including AOL, Cisco, & McKinsey. He holds a masters in Systems Engineering from The University of Virginia, has contributed to a number of open-source projects, & has spoken at numerous regional & national conferences. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Aubrey.
David has been working with us on our application programming interface for the online catalog. He has also been working on a dog bot for the White House holiday decorations! Ashley has been conducting brainstorming sessions for the office of Innovation. We are honored to have Ashley & David join us, & look forward to further defining what innovation looks like at the National Archives in months & years to come.