Experience

The Center for Applied Technology at the
Census Bureau

Challenge

The Census Bureau faced situations that are all too common among large organizations – pockets of excellence failing to communicate with each other, duplication of efforts, siloed information, repeated mistakes and false starts. The inefficient work environment did not support the development of innovative solutions for the operational problems of the Census Bureau. It needed a way to get different directorates working together to learn from each other’s successes and failures and a way to foster innovation and collaboration in the same space. It needed an Innovation Center.

Solution

In response to those needs the Center for Applied Technology (CAT) was created. CNSI was engaged to make innovation work inside the CAT. The CNSI Innovation Team is composed of individuals chosen especially for their ability to provide the highest level of support in innovative, collaborative environments.

Results

The CAT has become an environment where the Census Bureau’s Standards Working Group (SWG) comes to request capabilities assessments of products and services. The CNSI Innovation Team works closely with the SWG to provide results from comparative assessments among groups of products.

Success

The Census Bureau has a series of interrelated development projects within its Improving Operational Efficiency (IOE) program – each of these IOE efforts utilize the CAT to move efforts forward. These include data integration through metadata semantics mapping, data application program interface development and data visualization. The CNSI Innovation Team is embedded in each effort and helps ensure related efforts do not exist in a vacuum and that each benefits from having that cross-effort knowledge, resulting in a sum greater than its parts. Learn more about the Center for Applied Technology here.