Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Obama Innovation

One of the understated and underreported undercurrents of the Obama candidacy was the notion that Obama is not just "smart," but has an orientation for innovative thinking and implementation.   Of course, everyone took notice of and as his ability to harness the power of the internet and social networking to help power his campaign.   But the focus was usually on the shiny internet technology and not the underlying acumen Obama seems to have in picking the right people to implement the right things in the right way.

Now Obama has taken a page from business management innovators, and is introducing a Chief Performance Officer to his administration.   This move follows Obama's trademark style of politics -- a combination of innovative thinking and operationalized innovation, all wrapped in relevant symbolic purpose. 

A CPO tells Americans (and the markets) that we're going to be using best-practice business intelligence methodologies -- not merely "politics as usual" -- to weed out poorly performing managers and programs, while investing in managers and programs that yield higher returns for the country.

This move will likely be seen by the business sector as yet another sign of discipline that will help gain their trust as he pushes through tremendous deficit spending programs.   The CPO is a meaningful post that has symbolic power in ensuring that an Obama administration breaks from the traditional Democratic brand as "tax and spend" with no discipline.   Obama may very well spend, but he'll do so in such a way that will not engender distrust by the business community.