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SXSW Interactive 2013

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence: Not Just for VCs

Venture capital firms have utilized the services of ‘Entrepreneurs-in-Residence’ (EIRs), seasoned innovators with functional expertise to help spur entrepreneurship and fill gaps in expertise. Now, imagine combining the “innovation mojo” of EIRs with some of the government’s brightest intrapreneurs to solve the nation’s most pressing challenges. Do the words ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘government’ sound paradoxical to you? Believe it or not, state and federal government have already jumped on the best practices of the startup world and have actively been recruiting world-class entrepreneurs and innovators to join the best internal talent to rapidly create, develop, engage and accelerate innovation. The end goals? Moving from cash to electronic payments to support foreign policy, building technology to withstand natural disasters, evaluating new licensing proposals from start-up companies or revamping the nation’s organ transplant system, just to name a few!

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  1. How have government employees handled working with innovators from the startup world? Have state and local governments embraced the disruptive, risk-inclined nature of the start-up world to improve efficiency and change processes?
  2. How have EIRs worked effectively within the bureaucracy of government? What steps has government taken to simplify the process for allowing EIRs to get their foot in the door?
  3. What was the incentive for EIRs to leave their jobs in venture capital and private industry to come perform a ‘tour of duty’ in government? How has government attracted the nation’s top talent?
  4. Most of these projects have had time-limited mandates (six-twelve month stints). Have you accomplished your goals of changing the culture within government? Have EIRs catalyzed cultural change and developed innovative capacities within government?
  5. The words ‘rapid’ and ‘government’ don’t seem to go hand-in-hand. How have state and federal governments employed lean startup techniques and rapid iteration with these EIR programs? What are the startup and lean lessons learned from the EIR-in-government program?



Arnaub Chatterjee, Special Assistant to the Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Meta Information:

  • Tags: innovation, government
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Government and Civic Engagement
  • Level: Advanced
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