Getting to Work for the American People

Sep 25, 2014

Over the last 6 months, 18F has embarked on a mission to transform the way the U.S. Government builds and buys digital services. We’re currently working with more than half a dozen agencies to help them deliver on their missions in a design-centric, agile, open, and data-driven way.

How do we say yes to a project?

We ask ourselves:

  • Is there an opportunity to improve the interaction between government and the people it serves?
  • Does it align with the 18F core principles of staying focused on user needs while being agile, open, and data-driven?
  • Is the partner agency motivated to modernize how they research and build services?
  • Does it fit within our project focus areas?
  • Does it contain an opportunity to build a cross-government shared platform, service, or module?

Agile development already underway

For our first year, 18F projects focus on:

  • Providing cross-functional teams to government agencies, with a focus on user-centered agile product development (Agency Modernization)
  • Making government more transparent and accessible to the American people (Open Government)
  • Saving government time and money by optimizing internal purchasing processes (Procurement)
  • Creating shared tools and platforms to be used by multiple government agencies (Shared Services)

18F’s Current Project List and Innovative Partner Agencies

Agency Modernization

  • MyUSCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service)
  • MyRA: My Retirement Account (Department of Treasury)
  • (Peace Corps)

Open Government

  • FOIA Modernization (Department of Justice)
  • OpenFEC (Federal Election Commission)
  • Income Verification Pilot (Department of Treasury)
  • U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Department of Interior)


  • Common Acquisition Platform Tools (General Services Administration)
  • FBOpen
  • Mirage – OASIS market research tool (General Services Administration)

Shared Services

Attracting great digital talent

18F's DC team at GSA HQ

Since launching in March 2014, 18F has grown from a small group of Presidential Innovation Fellows into a team of almost 60 designers, developers, product managers, researchers, writers, and specialists. This growth is entirely due to the demand by agencies to work with 18F, as was described above. And we continue to be inspired and amazed by the number of experienced technologists eager to move into public service.

This month, the fall 2014 cohort of Presidential Innovation Fellows also joined 18F, bringing our total number to almost 90. That’s 90 people right now that are collaborating with government agencies to deliver smart, cost effective user-centered digital services. Ninety people who’ve come to us from both government and industry, having worked at the State Department, NASA, NOAA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Pivotal Labs, Linden Labs, IDEO, The Washington Post, The New York Times, IndieGogo, Sunlight Foundation, Groupon, and more.

On two coasts and growing

Although 18F is headquartered in Washington, DC at 1800 F Street, we’ve also got a team working in GSA’s 50 UN Plaza in the heart of San Francisco (adjacent to the city’s tech heavy mid-Market area). Twitter, Square, Uber, Zendesk, Yahoo!, and Code for America are nearby. Regardless of where, we work as cross-functional teams dedicated to specific projects that will improve how citizens and businesses interact with government.

Please stay tuned! Follow 18F on our blog, Twitter, or sign up to be notified by email as we share more about these projects in the coming weeks.

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