Do you have a scientific issue to address? Wish you had dozens, hundreds, even thousands more people helping you out? There’s help out there, and now that help is easier than ever to find. The General Services Administration (GSA) yesterday launched CitizenScience.gov, a new central hub for citizen science and crowdsourcing projects across the federal government. Like Challenge.gov before it, this new site makes it easier for federal agencies to collaborate with each other and seek help from the American public to address critical issues.
The slow, tedious federal acquisition process has long been the butt of jokes in the private sector. If the government had wanted to buy the original Nintendo, one might say, it would have all the paperwork in place by the time the rest of the world had moved on to the XBox. But that culture is changing, thanks in no small part to many of the efforts first featured here on DigitalGov.
The White House released an updated Strategy for American Innovation last week, calling again on government to tap the American public’s brain trust to advance agency missions and address issues of national importance. The revised strategy stresses the importance of initiatives like Challenge.gov, the official website for all federal incentive prize and challenge competitions, which have seen the participation of tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and citizen problem-solvers.
Federal agencies have used prize competitions and challenges to drive competition and spark innovation for nearly a decade. In September 2010, as part of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation [PDF], the Administration launched Challenge.gov, an online platform that enables federal agencies to engage civic innovators, entrepreneurs, and citizen scientists in prize competitions and challenges designed to help carry out agency missions and benefit society. The Administration is helping organize two events this week to celebrate the success of Challenge.
Next month, Challenge.gov turns five. A technical platform, a listing of federal prize competitions, and consultation and support services for running impactful challenges all meld into the program, which brings the best ideas and talent together to solve mission-centric problems. To mark the milestone, the General Services Administration (GSA) will host a special event on Thursday, October 8th, to celebrate Challenge.gov’s accomplishments and to honor some of the visionary teams and individuals using incentivized competitions to spark significant change.