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January 18, 2024

CDO Council 2023 Review

By CDO Council

As we approach the end of another year and look toward the new year to come, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our journey as a Council and all the accomplishments that have made our time with the Council such a success.

To kick off 2023, the Council released its second Report to Congress. The Report provided us the opportunity to reflect on the goals, activities, and accomplishments to date, shaping our activities moving forward. The CDO Council also hosted its second public meeting, fostering an open forum for further discussion and engagement with the data community. The meeting highlights CDOs who are impacting their agency missions and collaborating across the government to address data challenges, supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives, and so much more.

We pursued new kinds of programming in 2023, as well. We held our first event for aspiring CDOs and data leaders, bringing together diverse voices and perspectives from the data community. This groundbreaking event fostered dialogue, expanded our community, and enabled us to connect with a wider audience to showcase CDOs’ approaches to applying their technical acumen and leadership skills. We also heard more about resources that will help these leaders develop.

We applied the knowledge gleaned from the virtual event in the first-ever CDO Council retreat. Our Council’s retreat served as a pivotal moment to fortify our shared vision and strengthened the ties that bind our CDO community. Gathering in person allowed us to forge deeper bonds, strategize effectively for ourselves and our Council, and set ambitious, yet attainable goals for the future of the Council. In addition to these programs, the Council continued to focus on providing resources that contribute valuable insights for our community, publishing many papers to include Profiles in Data Sharing, The Progress and Promise of Federal Enterprise Analytics, An Approach to Measuring Chief Data Officers Value and Impact, Data Sharing Challenges and Pitfalls white paper, and a request for information about data generation.

The CDO Council collaborated with the Office of Management and Budget, the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) and others to implement the “Building Trust and FAIRness into the Process for Finding and Using Government Data Project” (also known as the FAIRness Project), which focused on improving metadata standards for government data. The initiative showcases our commitment to driving change and by addressing the user experience around data and metadata. The FAIRness project also garnered recognition for its innovative approach and demonstrable impact within our community.

2023 marked a maturation in the CDO Council’s activities. As we reflect on the Council’s achievements to date, we are humbled by the dedication of our community and appreciative of the work we have been able to accomplish during this time. With the Evidence Based Policy Making Act at the end of 2018, Congress authorized the Chief Data Officer Council, setting our journey in motion. The Act was passed around the same time the Office of Management and Budget published the Federal Data Strategy (FDS) to fully leverage the value of federal data for mission, service, and the public good by guiding the Federal Government in practicing ethical governance, conscious design, and a learning culture. In 2020, we adopted our Council’s official Charter and Bylaws and conducted our first Council meeting. During this time, we released our initial Report to Congress that focused on the council goals from its inception to 2020. To continue the great work the Council set out to accomplish, we formally established our working groups (Operations, COVID-19, Data Inventory, and Data Sharing) and committees (Small Agency and CFO-Act Agency). These working groups released several helpful guides, dashboards, and reports to guide the Council’s work forward, even in light of a global pandemic.

We developed a website and logo for the Council, launched a quarterly newsletter for our members and restructured our Council goals in alignment with the leading interagency collaboration practices outlined in GAO’s report about CDO Council activities. The report, released in December 2020, details agency progress made in establishing data governance and how the CDO Council helps agencies be more successful with their data initiatives.

2021 saw the release of updated CDO Council goals and the CDO Playbook. The Playbook is a living document that explores the evolution of the federal CDO role, and helps CDOs design initiatives for impact. In partnership with the US Digital Service and the Office of Personnel Management, we launched the Data Scientist Hiring Pilot model that focused on recruiting and retaining data scientists through the Subject Matter Expert Qualification Assessment (SME-QA) process. We also produced several resources for our community ranging from reports, dashboards, catalogs, and frameworks. Our council explored Public Comment Analysis using state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques and conducted its first survey to understand CDOs as well as their responsibilities and common challenges.

As we matured, we updated our Council goals to guide the work of the Council and we also established the Data Ethics and Equity Working Group to help the council understand, foster, and support data ethics and data equity activities across the Federal Government. We aimed to enhance public engagement by leveraging social media through our LinkedIn page and launching our “Unstructured Data” podcasts. We created the CDO Council’s annual awards program to encourage collaboration within the data community by recognizing federal employees for innovative data practices that advance government mission achievement and benefit the nation through data management, use, protection, dissemination, and decision-making. We are also proud of the GAO Report to Congress, which reviewed the Council’s activities and set forth no recommendations, demonstrating this Council’s success.

As we reflect on the past few years, it’s evident that our Council’s resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication have propelled us forward. We look ahead with optimism, bolstered by our collective accomplishments, and remain committed to driving positive change in the years to come. It has been an incredible journey serving this community. We are deeply grateful for the support and collaboration of this community. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Council for your dedication, hard work, and support throughout our shared endeavors. It has been an honor to serve this Council and we are profoundly thankful. Together, we have achieved remarkable milestones, and we are excited for the road that lies ahead.

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