Clare Martorana says improving user experience will require Apollo Program-like approach to innovation

Overcoming silos between centers of excellence remains a challenge, according to the federal CIO.
Clare Martorana gives a keynote at the 2017 Global Wellness Summit. (Global Wellness Summit photo)

Improving customer experience and ensuring that citizens experience joined-up systems will require the same approach to innovation that took the U.S. to the moon, according to Federal CIO Clare Martorana.

Speaking Monday at the ACT-IAC 2021 Imagine Nation conference in Hershey, Penn., the federal CIO cited the Kennedy administration’s approach to the Apollo Program and noted that federal IT leaders would benefit from adopting a similar bias to action and ambitious approach to solving large technology problems.

During the 11-year Apollo Program, NASA’s fast-fail approach to innovation resulted in technological advances that subsequently were used in the development of fire retardant suits for firefighters, solar panels and chlorine-free swimming pools.

“I am asking everyone here today to be unwilling to postpone what is possible. We need to accommodate each person’s needs and…give them the exceptional customer experience that is on par with their favorite consumer brands,” she added.


In particular Martorana said that agencies must work to overcome communication silos between centers of excellence and adopt a relentless focus on simplicity of user interface. The technology exists today to provide citizens with a seamless experience, according to the federal CIO.

“We must, and we will bring our performance in line with public expectations…we know we can [provide] an outstanding customer experience for the American people,” she added.

Earlier this year in September, Martorana in a White House blog stressed the importance of CIOs across government thinking about the services they provide to citizens, rather than simply the IT systems they administer.

At the time, the federal technology leader outlined priorities for the Biden administration and has previously stressed the need to be product- and service-oriented in order to improve agencies’ delivery on their mission objectives.

This story was featured in FedScoop Special Report: Transforming Digital Service - Presented by Dell Technologies

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