April 2, 2020

State of Colorado COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, Part IV – Replacing Myself, Days 7-9

(This is the fourth post in a series documenting the work I did in Colorado on the Governor’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team – IRT.  Other posts in order are 1, 2, and 3.)

Monday, March 23, Day 7

  • Wellness screening – put hot cup of coffee against my temples – now finally the thermometer works (although I can’t say that it gives me a high degree of comfort that I have figured out a workaround!)
  • Furious execution and still backlog is growing no matter how much I do – thank goodness team is growing.  Never seen this before – work coming in faster than I can process it, and I am a fast processer. Inbox clean when I go to bed, up to 75 when I wake up, never slows down
  • Private sector explosion – this guy can print 3D swabs – but are they compliant?  This guy has an idea for cleansing PPE, this guy can do 3D printing of Ventilator replacement parts, etc.  How to corral?
  • Corporate Volunteer form is up – 225 entries in the first 12 hours – WOW
  • Congressmen and Senators – people contact them, so they want to help, they want to make news, not coordinated enough with state efforts
  • Jay Want – early diagnosis losing sense of smell – low tech way to New Normal
  • Coordination continues to be key – multiple cabinet level agencies doing their own thing while multiple private sector groups are doing their own thing (e.g. App – “everyone thinks they’re the only people who have this idea”)
  • Mayor of Denver just announced lockdown, I guess that trumps the state solution in town, maybe it’s ok since that just leaves rural areas a bit fuzzier
  • Need to revise OS – team is about to go from 3 to 9, private sector spinning up
  • Brad OS and State employee OS are different – Slack/Trello/Zoom are not tools state employees are familiar with or can even access.  Now what?
  • Kacey insists the team works remotely other than leaders and critical meetings so we can role model social distancing.  GOOD CALL
  • One of our private sector guys goes rogue on PR, total bummer – this part (comms) about what we are doing could be more coordinated for sure, but not a priority
  • Lots of texts/call with Jared, such a smart and thoughtful guy, really interesting

Tuesday, March 24, Day 8

  • Been a week, feels like a month
  • Fluid changes to both OS for team and OS for private sector group
  • Zoom licenses – state will take a couple weeks to procure them, gotta work around it with Brad
  • Slack app won’t get through the firewall.  Maybe IT’s supervisor can do us a favor?
  • Comp – interesting expedited process – normally takes 65 days to get approval for temps, today we got it done in an hour!  Comp levels seem incredibly low. But we got done what we needed to get done
  • Some minor territorial conflicts with state tech team and our private sector tech team.  Will have to resolve. Surprising how few of these there have been so far given that our team is new and shiny and breaking rules
  • Big new Team meeting for first time with Sarah in lead, Red/Yellow/Green check-in (I like that – may have to borrow it!)
  • Starting to feel obsolete – love that!  Sarah crushing it, totally feels like the right leader, need to make sure she has enough support (might need an admin?)
  • Also…maybe I’m not feeling well?  A little worried I am getting sick. Hope that’s not true, or if it is, hope it’s not the BAD kind of sick.  Going to go work from hotel rest of afternoon
  • Call with Jared – concern about managing state’s psychology – testing and isolation services
  • Prep for press conference tomorrow

Wednesday, March 25, Day 9

  • Woke up feeling awesome – phew – hopefully that was just fatigue or stress induced
  • Sarah drowning a bit, feels like me on my 3rd day so makes sense
  • Reigning in and organizing private sector seems like a full time job.  We are going to recruit my friend Michelle (ex-RP) to come work with Brad on volunteer management. HALLELUJAH!
  • Whiteboard meeting with Kacey holding up her laptop so they can see it on Zoom – hilarious – technology not really working, but we are making the best of it
  • State role – facilitate alt supply chain to hospitals since normal chain is broken…also maintain emergency state cache – complex but makes more sense now
  • More territorial things starting to pop up with state government…processing volunteers
  • Comms overload – here comes the text to alert you to the email to alert you to the phone call
  • This team/project is clearly a case of finite resources meets infinite scope and infinite volunteer hand-raising
  • Gov press conference – issues Stay at Home order through April 11 (interesting, that wasn’t in the version of the talking points I saw several hours before)
  • Meeting some of our new team members.  I can’t even keep up with them, I think we’re up to 15+ now.  Kacey and Kyle are recruiting machines and all these people’s managers are just loaning to us immediately.  Love that.
  • Amazingly talented and dedicated state employees – seem young, probably not paid well, but superior to private sector comprables in some ways 
  • Talk with Kacey and Sarah about staff/not drowning
  • Kacey feels like Sarah is doing a great job, so she cleared me to go home (wouldn’t have gone without her saying ok, she understands how this whole thing is working way better than I do – I guess that’s what a good chief of staff does!)

Stay tuned for more tomorrow…