Cole named chief innovation officer for state

Dave Cole, a former senior adviser on innovation in President Barack Obama’s administration and a longtime member of the state’s Office of Innovation, was selected by Gov. Phil Murphy to be the state’s new chief innovation officer.

Cole, who joined the Office of Innovation in 2020, will now lead it in its mission to drive innovation in the Garden State and improve the design and delivery of policies and services to the state’s residents, businesses and institutions.

He succeeds Beth Noveck, who Murphy recently announced will become the state’s first chief artificial intelligence strategist.

Murphy said Cole is the right person for the job.

“Dave’s applied experience and expertise will be an integral addition to my team,” he said. “I am confident that he will successfully guide the Office of Innovation’s work to design and develop iterative, continuous improvements to state programs.”

Cole said he was ready to go.

“I am honored by the trust that Gov. Murphy has placed in me to lead the Office of Innovation into its next chapter,” he said. “When we deliver government services that are responsive to residents’ needs, we restore trust and lift up our communities.

“In addition to our efforts to improve state benefits and services for residents, Gov. Murphy’s day one commitment to establishing New Jersey as the innovation state has made it possible for us to make it easier than ever to start and operate a local business, enabling economic growth across our state.”

Cole joined the Office of Innovation in 2020 to help the state respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and served as a technology co-lead for the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program. He also co-founded and led the Resident Experience Initiative at the Office of Innovation, collaborating with state agencies to design and implement digital services in support of new policies and programs.

Cole previously served as a senior adviser to the chief information officer and deputy director of new media in Obama’s White House, was an early member of the General Services Administration’s 18F initiative, and was also previously a technology executive, overseeing international operations and business development at a high-growth startup. He played a key role in growing the company from 20 to over 500 employees, launching new products and managing teams in four countries.

Cole is a New Jersey native and graduate of Rutgers University.