Nextgov: The VA’s First Chief Innovation Officer Aims to Speed Up the Delivery of Cost-Saving Services

“The Veterans Affairs Department’s Innovation Center has been around for a little longer than a decade, but it’s undergoing a propulsive transformation prompted by the MISSION Act’s passage in 2018. And at the forefront of its revamp is Michael Akinyele, a first-time federal employee who serves as the center’s principal lead and the VA’s first-ever chief innovation officer…”

“After leading management consulting teams supporting multinational corporations, Akinyele spent a short stint in philanthropy as a health care-focused venture development director at a multibillion-dollar private foundation. Hoping to harness even more value from his work after his father’s untimely death, he landed at the VA in August 2017, initially as a Senior Advisor in the Veterans Health Administration. In March 2018, he joined the Office of Enterprise Integration to lead the Innovation Center…”

“The MISSION Act authorizes up to $50 million to be spent at VA a year on pilot programs to test innovative service delivery models that could potentially improve the care veterans receive. On Jan.13 the House approved the center’s initial submission for a pilot program waiver and is waiting for the Senate to take action…”

“In Akinyele’s eyes, the center was ultimately established to drive the agency forward through cutting-edge pilot programs and its unique approach to innovation. He noted that while the role of chief innovation officer across government and industry ‘has fairly been nebulous,’ every federal organization could benefit from instituting the function of an individual or team that’s looking inwardly and proactively figuring out high probability approaches to truly solving systemic issues. Almost three years into his own time at a federal agency and two months into his role as chief innovation officer, Akinyele’s efforts continue to be driven by the passion—and frustrations—that inspired him to work at the VA in the first place…” Read the full article here.

Source: The VA’s First Chief Innovation Officer Aims to Speed Up the Delivery of Cost-Saving Services – By Brandi Vincent, January 28, 2020. Nextgov.

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