Veterans embarking on new careers. Volunteers stewarding cleaner communities. Local leaders anticipating natural disasters. Ours is a world awash in challenges and opportunities. But all too often, solutions to our biggest challenges are just out of reach because the most critical actors in the ecosystem are swimming past one another in an ocean of data yet to be explored.
Over the past four years, The Opportunity Project (TOP) has enabled teams to solve challenges like these—and many more—by pairing cross-sectoral collaborators with open data to solve real-world problems for communities nationwide. As more of the nation’s learning moves online, and more Americans question the value of democratic institutions, TOP is partnering with the U.S. Department of State on yet another opportunity: re-imagining civics education for a new generation.
The TOP model may already be familiar to this audience: over a year ago, TOP hosted episode 3 of this series, during which it detailed its 12-week virtual product development sprints to catalyze data-driven innovation. In this episode, the TOP team will introduce participants to TOPx, a new, adaptable toolkit that allows federal agencies to use the TOP model to facilitate their own sprints based on flexible and modifiable timelines. To that end, a team from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Foreign Assistance will share its experience facilitating a TOPx sprint to refresh civics education in America.
The TOPx toolkit will be widely available beginning in December on opportunity.census.gov. The Census Open Innovation Labs team invites anyone interested in learning more to reach out on our website or at Census.firstname.lastname@example.org!
Anna Valuev is Impact Strategist & Head of Educational Partnerships with The Opportunity Project at the Census Open Innovation Labs. Anna was involved with TOP in its early years at the White House in 2016 and now focuses on growing The Opportunity Project through new initiatives including the TOPx toolkit and strategic partnerships with academic institutions and other organizations.
Radhika Bhatt is the Deputy Director with The Opportunity Project at the Census Open Innovation Labs, and has a background in design and development. She leads the sprint cycles through TOP, and also assists with human centered design training offered at the U.S. Census Bureau and at other agencies as well.
Samantha Spilka is Interagency Lead for ForeignAssistance.gov, where she serves as the Department of State’s liaison to agencies responsible for reporting foreign assistance data. In her role, she provides strategic and technical coaching to agencies to help ensure their data meets reporting requirements under various national and international commitments.
Sarath K. Ganji is Communications Lead for Foreign Assistance.gov, an open data platform managed by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Foreign Assistance. In that capacity, he helps the Office identify markets for its data, develop tools to make that data more accessible, and spearhead strategic partnerships like this sprint with The Opportunity Project.
- Census Open Innovation Labs website
- The Opportunity Project website
- U.S. Department of State’s Office of Foreign Assistance
More About the Federal Crowdsourcing Webinar Series
Airing monthly, this series illuminates how U.S. agencies are reaching beyond their typical channels to source talent and enthusiasm to multiply the ideas and perspectives being brought to a particular issue. Don’t miss these previous episodes:
- Episode 13: Securing Water for Food’s Crowdsourcing Culture, with Dr. Ku McMahan, USAID
- Episode 12: How AFWERX Crowdsources an Innovation Culture, with Joseph “Joey” Arora, Air Force Ventures and AFWERX and Steve “Elmo” Lauver, Air Force Ventures and AFWERX
- Episode 11: Federal Crowdsource Mobile Testing Program, with David Fern, SSA
- Episode 10: precisionFDA, with Elaine Johansen, Emily Boja and Holly Stephens
- Episode 9: History Hub, with Kelly Osborn and Darren Cole, NARA
- Episode 8: NASA@WORK, with Carissa Callini and Jeff DOI, NASA
- Episode 7: Crowdsourcing for Code, with Amin Mehr, Code.gov
- Episode 6: FedRAMP Ideation, with Betsy Steele, GSA
- Episode 5: History by the People, with Lauren Algee, Library of Congress
- Episode 4: Open Opportunities, with Lisa Nelson, USAJOBS, OPM
- Episode 3: The Opportunity Project, with Drew Zachary and Lorena Molina-Irizarry, U.S. Census Bureau
- Episode 2: Challenges and Prize Competitions, with Jarah Meador, GSA, and Jessie Buerlein, HHS
- Episode 1: Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, with John McLaughlin, NOAA, and Sophia B. Liu, USGS
The Opportunity Project of the Census Open Innovation Labs facilitates 12-week virtual product development sprints that bring together technologists, government, and communities to catalyze data-driven innovation.