Michigan Launches IT Innovation Fund

State earmarks money to be used for worthy IT projects.

Innovation is a word we often hear associated with IT. In Michigan, we're taking it to the next level by earmarking $2.5 million to experiment with emerging technologies or projects that can quickly achieve results. Continued investment in IT is imperative in good times and in bad.

With a centralized IT environment, we've successfully consolidated IT functions and achieved savings for the state. But the savings from those efficiencies aren't always reinvested in technology to generate even more innovation. Now we have a new mechanism for innovation. Executive Directive 2012-1 establishes an Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Innovation management function and an ICT Innovation Fund Investment Board within the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB).

The state established the ICT innovation fund to improve the IT resource allocation process; to provide venture capital loans as needed for the development of new technology projects that otherwise would not receive funding; and to support the modernization, redesign and transformation of government. All executive branch agencies, departments and shared-service projects involving local governments and other public-service providers are eligible to receive loans from the fund.

In the Money

Tapping designated funding for IT innovation will help the state achieve our goal of a reinvented Michigan. The IT innovation fund allows Michigan to fully implement, utilize and further advance a world-class innovation strategy and management process. In the new global economy, information, communication and technology enable process efficiencies and productivity, improve quality of life and drive innovation.

This effort will give life to projects that normally wouldn't see the light of day. For example, an administrative process that can benefit from IT to save time and money now has an avenue for funding. Several projects are under discussion at this time.

The directive provides startup funding to foster IT innovation at both state and local levels by fueling grass-roots IT discussion and idea sharing. Ultimately, it provides another avenue for state and local partnerships that will benefit taxpayers.

DTMB is planning to develop and integrate existing and new innovation strategies with state agency business process management goals and operations. A comprehensive ICT Innovation Strategic and Management Plan under development will include a full range of public, private and nonprofit collaborative innovation strategies and resource sharing. Collaborative efforts will include:

  • A Michigan ICT Innovation Advisory Council, which acts as an advisory body to the governor, director of DTMB and the state CIO;
  • The Michigan Government ICT Innovation Center, a center for excellence for state and local program and project managers, the private sector, nonprofits and citizen participants;
  • The establishment, operation and promotion of an open-invitation call for innovations utilizing ICT and process redesign solutions to address Michigan's public-policy service challenges, opportunities and gaps; and
  • Resource-sharing options, such as temporary, project-based agency and private-sector staff loans and assignments; along with funding assistance by the private sector, foundations and grants.

It's a new day in Michigan. With a state budget now balanced for the long term and the reinvention of Michigan in full swing, the ICT innovation fund will provide new solutions and ideas for an even brighter future.

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Mar 23 2012