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Former 18F Digital Leader Shares Insights Behind the Recent Surge of Government Innovation

by Brian Chidester, Global Government Thought Leader & Host of The Government Huddle Podcast


In the latest episode of "The Government Huddle" podcast, host Brian Chidester interviews Brian Fox, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Omni Federal and former Director of the National Security and Intelligence Portfolio at 18F.


The discussion delves into the recent surge of innovation in government sectors, focusing on the impact of Fox's work at Omni Federal and his previous experience at 18F. Additionally, they explore the insights from the book "[RE]coding America" and how it influences Fox's perspective on government modernization and innovation.



The Surge of Government Innovation

In recent years, government agencies have increasingly embraced innovative practices to enhance efficiency, security, and service delivery. Brian Fox, a notable figure in this transformation, provides a unique perspective shaped by his experience at 18F and his current role at Omni Federal.


Fox identifies several key factors contributing to the recent explosion of innovation within government:


  • Technological Advancements: Adoption of cutting-edge technologies has enabled more efficient processes and solutions.

  • Policy Reforms: Legislative and policy changes have facilitated a more conducive environment for innovation.

  • Public-Private Partnerships: Collaboration between government entities and private sector companies has accelerated the development and implementation of innovative solutions.


Insights from 18F Experience

18F’s contributions to government innovation are profound and far-reaching. Through agile development, open-source solutions, human-centered design, modernization of legacy systems, and strategic digital transformation, 18F is helping to build a more efficient, transparent, and user-friendly government. 


Fox’s tenure at 18F, a digital services agency within the General Services Administration (GSA), provided him with firsthand experience in driving innovation. Key takeaways include:


  • Agile Methodologies: Implementing agile frameworks allowed for rapid development and iteration of digital solutions.

  • User-Centered Design: Focusing on the needs of end-users ensured that solutions were both effective and user-friendly.

  • Cross-Agency Collaboration: Promoting collaboration across different government agencies helped in sharing best practices and resources.


Transition to the Private Sector

Fox’s move to Omni Federal brought valuable government insights into the private sector, fostering a synergistic relationship that benefits both domains. His approach at Omni Federal is characterized by:


  • Leveraging Government Knowledge: Utilizing his understanding of government operations to tailor private sector solutions that meet specific public sector needs.

  • Driving Innovation: Encouraging a culture of innovation within Omni Federal, inspired by the methodologies and practices from his government experience.


Influence of [RE]coding America

Fox highlights the book "[RE]coding America" as a significant influence on his perspective. The book advocates for a comprehensive rethinking of how the government approaches technology and innovation. Key themes include:


  • Modernization of Legacy Systems: Addressing the challenges posed by outdated government systems through modernization efforts.

  • Empowering Government Employees: Providing government workers with the tools and training necessary to innovate effectively.

  • Citizen-Centric Services: Prioritizing the needs and experiences of citizens in the design and delivery of government services.


Brian Fox’s insights underscore the importance of innovation in government and the benefits of cross-sector collaboration. His experience at 18F and his current role at Omni Federal highlight the potential for private sector strategies to enhance public sector operations.


The influence of contemporary literature, such as "Recoding America," further emphasizes the need for a holistic approach to government modernization.



Brian Chidester is the Head of Public Sector Marketing at Socure and the host of "The Government Huddle with Brian Chidester" podcast from GovExec. Mr. Chidester holds a B.S. in Communications Studies from Liberty University, is an Advisory Board Member for Digital Government Central, an advisor to the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance at the World Economic Forum, and a member of the Forbes Technology Council.


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