National Governors Association Looks to Future With New Program

NGA Future, a new offshoot initiative of the National Governors Association, plays off the fact that recent board chairs have focused intently on technology. The new effort could help foster thought leadership among state officials.

With technological trends causing shifts in every part of life, it was only a matter of time before the National Governors Association saw it essential to make its presence felt in the space.

And that it has with NGA Future, a technology office aimed at helping states tackle innovation issues. The initiative, which was announced late last month, is intended to offer thought leadership to state-level leaders on technological trends that could have deeper impacts in the years to come. The offshoot organization will help pinpoint tech trends in a variety of spaces, including payments, the Internet of Things, automation, and artificial intelligence.

“I am excited for NGA to continue to grow as a forward-looking organization with the creation of this unit,” NGA CEO Scott Pattison said in a news release. “New technology developments are already changing the way governors and states operate. NGA Future will be crucial in navigating the intersection of emerging technology and state policy.”

The initiative comes as NGA has made moves in this direction in recent years. Last year, for example, then-NGA Chair Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, put a strong focus on cybersecurity, an issue his state was struggling with at the time. This year’s NGA chair, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, has focused on innovation.

The new initiative reflects these recent moves by the organization’s board chairs; the person who helped lead McAuliffe’s initiative, Timothy Blute, will now lead NGA Future.

In a blog post discussing the effort, Blute implied a big-picture view of technology, one in which automation would become much more common than it already is.

“The economy of the future is one where humans and machines work hand in hand, not where robots systematically outwork and replace human workers,” Blute wrote on Medium. “Though there is risk of automation displacing some human tasks, innovation at such a large scale will undoubtedly create jobs in industries we are only beginning to imagine.”

In comments of his own, Sandoval noted that NGA’s innovation focus was so important in part because of its long-term economic impacts.

“Advancing innovation in states across the nation is absolutely vital to our prosperity,” he said in a news release.

(ThomasVogel/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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