Innovation 2023 five minutes with… Ann Dunkin, US Department of Energy CIO

By on 15/03/2023 | Updated on 15/03/2023

In this sister series to our ‘Five minutes with’ interviews, we share insights from the civil and public service leaders that will be speaking at our free Innovation conference. Taking place in London on 21 March 2023, and available to stream on demand, during the event officials from all over the world will promote and develop new approaches to policymaking and service delivery.

In this interview, Ann Dunkin of the US federal government – who will join the conference sessions on innovation in data and in cybersecurity – shares her best piece of professional advice, her frustration with organisations’ lack of urgency, and her Formula One fandom.

Click here to register for Innovation 2023

What are you most interested in discussing at Innovation 2023?

I’m interested in learning more about how my peers are balancing innovation with budget, security and staffing challenges.

What have you achieved in your career that you are most proud of? 

I’m most proud of the fact that people come back and tell me that I’ve been a great boss or helped them in their career.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your working life?  

“If you’re going to offend on content, don’t offend on form.” It’s a remarkably flexible piece of advice that can apply to everything from being kind when delivering difficult messages to submitting less that impressive data on time.  It’s amazing how often I reference that advice.

What do you like most about working in the civil service? 

The opportunity to work in issues that truly make a difference in people’s lives and at scale. This is something that is rarely possible in the private sector.

And what do you dislike about it? 

We frequently do not have a sufficient sense of urgency.

What US government projects or innovations might your peers overseas find valuable?  

We call the Department of Energy’s labs the “Engine of Innovation”. There are hundreds of DOE products and technologies that can and, in some cases, have been used by our colleagues in other countries. We love to share DOE’s work!

What attributes do you most value in people? 

Integrity, kindness and passion.

Do you have any unusual hobbies?  

Unusual for an American, I’m a big Formula One fan! 

Is there something about you that people find surprising?   

I’m an introvert.

More from this series: 
Laura Gilbert, 10 Downing Street chief analyst
Peter Pogačar, director general of Slovenia’s Ministry of Public Administration

Want to write for GGF? We are always looking to hear from public and civil servants on the latest developments in their organisation – please get in touch below or email [email protected]

About Mia Hunt

Mia is a journalist and editor with a background in covering commercial property, having been market reports and supplements editor at trade title Property Week and deputy editor of Shopping Centre magazine, now known as Retail Destination. She has also undertaken freelance work for several publications including the preview magazine of international trade show, MAPIC, and TES Global (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) and has produced a white paper on energy efficiency in business for E.ON. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a member of the Revo Customer Experience Committee and an ACE Awards judge. Mia graduated from Kingston University with a first-class degree in journalism and was part of the team that produced The River newspaper, which won Publication of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2010.

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