Years of criticism directed at federal agencies has created a culture of risk aversion. That’s something which Soraya Correa, Department of Homeland Security chief procurement officer, said needs to change.
“We’ve got to allow people to do things differently, to try new [things], and so take those chances,” she said Tuesday. “And we the leadership in this profession and across all the professions need to support our people a little bit better to make them feel that confidence that they can take some calculated risks and move the ball forward.”
Correa was part of the Accelerating Acquisition in the Dynamic Workplace webinar, sponsored by FedInsider, which gathered agency acquisition leaders to talk about inefficiencies in federal procurement and what they would like to be done differently.
One of Correa’s initiatives, DHS’ Procurement Innovation Lab, has set an example of creating “safe spaces” for innovation. Its PIL boot camp has proved popular with other agencies and DHS and its components have awarded a cumulative 52 PIL procurement projects from fiscal 2015, when the lab started, to 2019, according to the agency.
Several speakers referenced the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting Systems (CPARS), an electronic workflow that reports and rates contractor performance, at the General Services Administration. Correa said DHS is championing artificial intelligence to track past performance with CPARS data, but the system is “daunting.”
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