Digital services guru Greg Godbout’s parting words: It’s about culture change

Real government transformation only happens through culture change, said the former executive director of 18F.

Outgoing Environmental Protection Agency Chief Technology Officer Greg Godbout had some parting words for his public sector colleagues.

In a farewell email sent Thursday morning, Godbout — who in his three years in government also served as the first executive director of the General Services Administration’s digital services shop 18F — said change in government starts with culture.

“With my time at 18F/GSA, the White House, and agency transformation at EPA – it has been proven that real government transformation can be achieved,” he wrote. “And that real change is only possible by addressing culture change.”

He added, “No organization, agency, or vendor is immune from this mega trend. It is enormous in scope… yet also inevitable.”


It’s a refrain Godbout has echoed throughout his three years in the federal government: He has been a major advocate for modernizing how the federal government acquires and uses technology. He was part of a group that helped found 18F and worked on developing new tools for federal contracting. Then at EPA, he developed the agency’s digital services offerings.

His philosophy — which emphasizes moving away from the federal government’s entrenched processes and toward lean, agile development — and straight talk marked him as a fast-rising star in the federal technology community, but it also pushed the buttons of a few other federal tech leaders. In November, he received a FedScoop 50 award as Disrupter of the Year.

Last month, news broke that Godbout would leave the government to take on a new role at cBrain, a publicly traded Danish tech company that’s moving to break into the U.S. federal government market. He started his new job on Monday.

In the email, he thanked “the hundreds of innovators in and around government that have helped me learn, evolve, pilot, and prove many transformations.”

“I will deeply miss EPA, especially the people, but will continue the mission as a private citizen,” he said.


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