Robin Thottungal was recently elected to serve on the Board of the AGL Association, representing the public sector. Prior to his current role at the National Gallery of Art, Robin led data analytics and lean transformation at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am the chief Technology/Data/Innovation officer for the National Gallery of Arts located in Washington, D.C. We get around 5 million visitors per year (averaging 15K visitors per day) and I’m focused on driving innovative solutions to improve our visitor experience and building an analytics program to make data-driven decision on ways we can achieve greater user satisfaction.
Recently, I have been working on identifying the use of technologies such as virtual reality and virtual chat bots to enhance the visitor experience. I am also setting up a gallery-wide innovation program to build a culture of continuous learning and experimentation within the organization.
Why are you part of AGL and what inspires you about this community?
I enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge with communities of similar-minded people. Looking forward to meeting trailblazers in the area of innovation and agile across the U.S. and comparing notes from my experiences in those areas as well.
What positive impact do you think AGL can bring to government?
I see AGL as a national platform bringing together the local, state, federal and commercial sectors to open a dialogue on agile and its impact of delivery focused on mission and vision.
What advice would you offer to fellow public servants looking to build a culture of innovation?
I would say “just do it” and don’t be afraid to fail. Setting up an innovation program is like building a start-up – you will have to try out a few different ways of running it before you can identify the one that suits your organization’s culture. Establishing a clear path that you can stick to is necessary to get buy-in and ensure long term benefits.