Innovation

Emerging Tech and Open Data for a More Open and Accountable Government

Open data and emerging technologies—including artificial intelligence and distributed ledgers, such as blockchain—hold vast potential to transform public services held back by bureaucracy and outdated IT systems. We are opening the doors to bold, fresh ideas for government accountability, transparency and citizen participation by working with U.S. businesses, civil society groups and others to shape national goals for emerging technologies and open data in public services. At our upcoming collaborative workshop, Emerging Technology and Open Data for a More Open Government, we invite new partners to help craft potential goals to be integrated into the fourth U.

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The Data Briefing: Ten Years of Digital Transformation—Lessons Learned

Since 2007, a major consulting firm has conducted an annual survey on organizations’ “Digital IQ.” In the ten years of organizations grappling with digital transformation, what has been learned? From the report: Focus on the human experience [emphasis in the original]: Rethink how you define and deliver digital initiatives, consider employee and customer interactions at every step of the way, invest in creating a culture of tech innovation and adoption, and much more.

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VA Innovators Network Program: Ahead of the Curve in Healthcare Innovation

VA Innovators Network Program Selected as FedHealth IT Innovation Award Winner This month, FedHealth IT announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Innovators Network Program was selected as a 2017 recipient of the FedHealthIT Innovation Award. FedHealth IT recognized 25 Federal Health programs that have demonstrated exceptional performance as a result of their willingness to take risks and deliver real and measurable results. Nominated and selected by peers, all recipient programs have shown an extraordinary commitment to driving innovative ideas in effort to enhance federal programming for Department of Veterans Affairs, Military Health, Health and Human Services, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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Advice From Digital Thought Leaders

Many know that digital tools have become indispensable for connecting with many audiences—but we also know that what’s available in the digital realm is always changing. So how do you know what tools are best for your purpose? And how do you plan for your organization’s digital future when the pace of change is so rapid? Recently, we asked colleagues what advice they would give for developing a digital media strategy.

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Fostering Medical Innovation: A Plan for Digital Health Devices

It is incumbent upon FDA to ensure that we have the right policies in place to promote and encourage safe and effective innovation that can benefit consumers, and adopt regulatory approaches to enable the efficient development of these technologies. By taking an efficient, risk-based approach to our regulation, FDA can promote health through the creation of more new and beneficial medical technologies. We can also help reduce the development costs for these innovations by making sure that our own policies and tools are modern and efficient, giving entrepreneurs more opportunities to develop products that can benefit people’s lives.

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The Data Briefing: the Promise – and Perils – of Artificial Emotional Intelligence

The first chatbot, ELIZA, was created back in 1964 to demonstrate that communication between humans and computers would be superficial. However, much to Dr. Weizenbaum’s (ELIZA’a creator) surprise, people easily formed friendly relationships with the computer program. People forming relationships with ELIZA was especially surprising considering just how simple the program was regarding generating conversational responses. ELIZA essentially parroted back what the users typed but, this was enough to convince people that the program seemed to care about the person.

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​Want to Expand Your Innovation Base? Dive In, Run a Challenge, and Listen to Your Customers

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) is a small agency in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whose mission is to increase the interoperability and use of electronic health records and health IT. We don’t have the funding and personnel of larger agencies, and, for the most part, this is fine. The entrenched industry stakeholders know what’s happening at ONC, our policies, toolkits and initiatives. But to be truly innovative, we need input from more than just the big stakeholders, particularly in this age of smartphones and apps.

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The Data Briefing: How to Best Prepare Federal Government Datasets for Chatbots

Forbes magazine recently ran an article showcasing six handy mobile apps that were built using federal government open data. The apps range from the Alternative Fueling Station Locator to ZocDoc (a doctor locator). What I especially like about the Forbes article is that the author describes the federal government data sets behind each app. There are many more mobile apps built by federal government agencies or using federal government data sources.

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Cybersecurity: Protecting Manufacturing Technology and Innovation

Recently a segment on my favorite morning news program stopped me in my tracks. The young and attractive hosts (why are they always so young and attractive?) were demonstrating new appliances including a smart refrigerator. The fridge was equipped with all kinds of high-tech features including touch screen displays, a camera inside that allows you to see the contents and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can see inside your fridge while grocery shopping, how convenient!

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The Future of Technology at GSA

Our work can transform government The potential to transform government and impact the lives of Americans is tremendous. Our country needs the government to work well, and technology is the key to that. TECHNOLOGY IS NOT PARTISAN “If it’s important, it’s important for all administrations,” said GSA Technology Transformation Service Commissioner Rob Cook. GSA Admin @DeniseUSGSA on the future of technology in the federal government. #GSATech #InnovateGov pic.

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White House Electric Vehicle Datathon: Unlocking New Opportunities through Data

Summary: The White House is hosting its first-ever Electric Vehicle Datathon, and nominations for participation are now open. Don’t miss your chance to join the discussion! The White House Domestic Policy Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy will convene its first-ever Electric Vehicle (EV) Datathon on November 29. This event, held in partnership with the Department of Energy and four of its National Laboratories will bring together EV experts, charging-station providers, cities and states, automakers, and the software-development and data-analysis communities.

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New Trademark App Open Source Code on GitHub

Improving the way the government delivers information technology (IT) solutions to its customers isn’t just a goal, it’s our mission. We at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office know that by publishing our open source code, the public can help us come up with new and better IT solutions. In advance of the new Federal Source Code Policy and in support of the Administration’s Open Government Initiative, we have been publishing content on GitHub for over a year, and it now includes source code for a mobile application for trademarks.

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Meeting Patients Where They Are: Liberating Clinical Trials Data Under the Cancer Moonshot

Cancer clinical trials are a critically important step on the pathway for new or improved treatments to make their way to patients in clinics and hospitals in towns and cities across the country. Patients and their loved ones are relying on these rigorous studies to determine whether promising new therapies and approaches might extend how long they live or improve their quality of life. For many years, a steady number of patients with cancer, approximately 5%, have participated in cancer clinical trials.

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The Data Briefing: Four Steps to Becoming a Data-Driven Organization

As the Federal government agencies begin the digital transformation journey, becoming a data-driven organization is even more vital. What does it mean to become a data-driven organization? According to one definition, “[a] data-driven company is an organization where every person who can use data to make better decisions, has access to the data they need when they need it.” There are many theories are on how to create a data-driven organization, but few case studies that demonstrate the actual process.

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Celebrating Nanotechnology With a Day, a Dash, Some Nuggets, and a Plan

Summary: The release of an updated National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan caps a month of activities highlighting nanotechnology. The Federal government continues to play a key role in the success of the U.S. nanotechnology enterprise through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)—as was evident throughout October. And one way to ensure the effort is well coordinated and well implemented is through strategic planning. Yesterday, the National Science and Technology Council released the 2016 NNI Strategic Plan, which describes the NNI vision and goals and the strategies by which these goals are to be achieved.

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Laying the Foundation for a More Secure, Modern Government

Summary: Building on efforts to boost Federal cybersecurity & as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, today we’re releasing a proposed guidance to modernize Federal IT. America’s spirit of ingenuity and entrepreneurship created the world’s most innovative economy and keeps us dominant in today’s digital age. Indeed, in 1985 about 2,000 people used the Internet; today, 3.2 billion people do. What started out as a useful tool for a few is now a necessity for all of us—as essential for connecting people, goods, and services as the airplane or automobile.

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The Data Briefing: Help Predict the Future of Federal Government Data

In December, I plan to write two postings detailing a scenario analysis for the next ten years of the Federal government’s data technologies. Governments are on the cusp of amazing technological advances propelled by artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, and the Internet of Things. Also, governments will face new challenges such as the recent global cyber attack that took down Twitter and Netflix. I want to invite you, the reader, to also send in your predictions for the future of Federal government data.

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GSA launches new AI, Virtual Reality, and Authentication Programs

Today we’re launching three new initiatives powered by GSA Digital Communities that leap federal agencies ahead on some of the most innovative new capabilities becoming available to our programs — Artificial Intelligence, Virtual/Augmented Reality, and the U.S. Digital Registry. These new Communities and portal are products of inter-agency collaboration and our shared commitment pushing the bar forward on effective adoption of digital public services that meet the needs of citizens today and tomorrow… and plant seeds for growing long into the future.

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Changing the Knowledge Management Tides and Why it Matters: The Federal HR Wiki

Imagine this – a go-to member of your organization just retired, a furlough is approaching, and now no one knows what to do. What communications need to go out? Who is considered ‘excepted’? Can the daycare center stay open? In the absence of mind-melds, how do you make expert knowledge easily accessible to newer team members? The Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Human Resources was confronted with the specific challenge of how to transfer complicated programs to new owners with no familiarity, so their team decided to build a tool to solve their specific problem and a host of others along the way.

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GAO to Congress: Federal Agencies Are Making a Difference Through Open Innovation

Federal agencies confront tough problems every day. In searching for solutions, agencies will want to attract different perspectives, test new products, build capacity and communities, and increase public awareness. How do they do it? The answer: open innovation. Federal agencies need to engage and collaborate with all sectors of society, a task made easier by online technologies, says a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued last week. OPEN INNOVATION: Practices to Engage Citizens and Effectively Implement Federal Initiatives is accompanied by an infographic and podcast, all well worth your while.

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Announcing the Digital Acquisition Accelerator Playbook

Built on the lessons learned during the pilot phase of the Digital Acquisitions Accelerator, the accompanying playbook examines the current acquisition landscape and provides an approach to procuring custom software solutions. Our goal is to make the government a smarter and more informed buyer of digital products and services. The playbook has four main sections: Overview Case studies Process Primers The overview section provides background on digital acquisitions and highlights some ways to lower risk when planning this type of activity.

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Progressive Web Applications, Part 2: Pros, Cons, and Looking Ahead

A few weeks ago, Progressive Web Applications, Part 1: the New Pack Mule of the Internet _introduced PWAs and the technologies behind them. We shared that article to the MobileGov Community of Practice and asked about the pros and cons of this approach to winning mobile moments._ What Are Some Benefits of PWAs? PWAs bring a host of advantages over the traditional native mobile and Web methodologies including:

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Transforming the Federal Marketplace, Two Years In

Summary: It’s been two years since we laid out the Administration’s plan to transform the Federal marketplace. Here’s a look at what we’ve accomplished, and what’s next. Over the last two years, we’ve focused on our mission to implement the President’s vision for a modern government– one that leverages private-sector best practices to achieve a Federal Government that is smarter, savvier and more effective in delivering for the American people.

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Vendors and Government Strengthen Partnership at Technology Industry Day

On September 8th, the General Services Administration (GSA) held a Technology Industry Day to talk to industry leaders about the products and solutions developed by our agency and to hear feedback on how we can better engage industry. We’re thrilled that more than 300 members of the technology industry in person and via the live stream were able to join us for this first step towards a closer partnership and more open lines of communication about how we can work together to transform federal technology.

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NASA: Open Gov Plan 2016 Outline

Here is the outline for our 2016 Open Government Plan. Let us know what you think. We’ve also posted this on GitHub/NASA for your comments: https://github.com/nasa/Open-Gov-Plan-v4. NASA and Open Government NASA is an open government agency based on the founding legislation in the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, which calls for participation and sharing in the conduct of how we go about the business of expanding the frontiers of knowledge, advancing understanding of the universe, and serving the American public.

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The Data Briefing: A New Perspective on the Digital Transformation of Government

One day, at an unnamed agency, the Outlook server crashed. The server stayed down for the rest of the afternoon. Deprived of email and meeting calendars, employees wandered around trying to remember what meetings they had to attend. Other employees went searching for people who they ordinarily would email. There was confusion that made people realize just how dependent they were on a single software program. As the Federal government moves toward digital transformation, I have been thinking about how agencies can best weather the transition from legacy systems to cloud-based, agile applications.

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GSA Hosts First-Ever Technology Industry Day in Washington, D.C.

Private industry and government came together to find best ways to deliver 21st century technology to federal agencies. On September 8, 2016 Administrator Denise Turner Roth of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) hosted the first-ever Technology Industry Day to provide a better understanding of GSA’s path to improve the government’s outdated technology systems. The event featured how GSA buys, builds and shares technology for the federal government. “The General Services Administration has a long history of being a strong leader in adopting technology in government,” said Administrator Roth when giving her opening remarks at GSA’s Technology Industry Day.

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Progressive Web Applications, Part 1: the New Pack Mule of the Internet

****A mule is the hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a horse. This new species is stronger and better equipped than the species from which it comes. Overall, mules tend to be healthier, more sound, and live longer than horses. They are favored over horses in mountainous terrain because the mule has a reputation for being more surefooted than their equine cousins. Finally, mules do not require expensive grains, eat less and don’t tend to overeat as horses do.

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No Longer an Idea of the Future, Artificial Intelligence Is Here and You Are Probably Already Using It

It might surprise some of you to know that artificial intelligence (AI) is already in use and a routine part of our daily lives, but we leverage this technology when we use our smartphones or other devices to ask Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Now, or Amazon’s Alexa a question to get the facts or data we are looking for. Using your voice, you can say, “Where’s the nearest gas station?

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The Data Briefing: Harnessing the Internet of Things and Synthetic Data to Provide Better Flood Warnings and Prevent Veterans Suicides

Two significant items in federal government data in the last few weeks: The Department of Commerce releases the National Water Model. The National Water Model provides a comprehensive model of river flows so local communities can better prepare for possible flooding events. What is especially amazing about the National Water Model is that it pulls data from over 8,000 stream gauges. Stream gauges are automated measuring stations that measure water flow, height, surface runoff, and other hydrological data.

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Agency Mobile Resources at the Ready Following OMB Memo

Note: This is a guest blog post by Amando E. Gavino, Jr., Director, Office of Network Services, ITS/FAS/GSA. He is responsible for a portfolio of telecommunication acquisition solutions that provide government agencies the ability to meet their diverse set of telecommunication requirements. Acquisition solutions include Networx, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions – EIS (the future replacement for Networx), SATCOM, Enterprise Mobility, Connections II, Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative – Wireless (FSSI-W), and the Federal Relay Service.

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Looking Back and Looking Forward: the Future of Public Safety Communications in the Post 9/11 Era—a Video Series

The week before Patriot Day, our nation’s annual remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, first responders share their remembrances and vision for the future of public safety communications in this video series. This week, we’ll hear from: Mike Worrell, Senior Fire Advisor, FirstNet Chad Weber, Public Information Officer, Florida Wildlife Conservation, Northeast Region Mike Duyck, Fire Chief, Tualatin Valley (Oregon) Fire and Rescue Rick Bartee, Fire Chief, Roseville (California) Fire Department “When I was deployed to the Trade Center on 9/11, my first 12 hours were spent trying to get communications established.

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Sign up for the Technology Industry Day

The General Services Administration (GSA) is known for managing federal real estate and leveraging the government’s buying power to get the best deal for taxpayers, but it also drives and leads technology and innovation within the federal government. The Technology Transformation Service (TTS) builds, buys and shares tech to help federal agencies achieve their mission. They create better services for citizens everyday. TTS works closely with the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and the GSA CIO to be first movers in and apply agile technology in a meaningful way.

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Making Modernizations and Migrations Successful

Summary: Today, we’re launching the M3 Framework to provide agencies with leading best practices for mission-support function modernizations and migrations. The government’s internal operations have a powerful impact on service to its citizens, and this Administration has made transformation of management practices within the Federal Government a key priority. By sharing and streamlining mission support services and retiring or modernizing inefficient legacy IT systems, we’re better able to overcome the challenges of large-scale mission support projects, support core agency missions, and make our IT infrastructure more secure – all while achieving a more efficient, secure, and effective government for the American people.

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The People’s Code

Summary: Today, we’re releasing the Federal Source Code policy to support improved access to custom software code developed by or for the Federal Government. “If we can reconceive of our government so that the interactions and the interplay between private sector, nonprofits, and government are opened up, and we use technology, data, social media in order to join forces around problems, then there’s no problem that we face in this country that is not soluble.

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That Six-Letter Word: Change

One of the biggest challenges in implementing a new technology or process is change. Change creates a multitude of feelings; for some it is apprehension and uncertainty, while for others it is excitement and acceptance. Change management is defined as “a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and the individual.” Creating a Culture of Change Change agents are people willing to push for enhancement.

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DARPA: A Case Study in Open Innovation

You may not know it, but the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has changed your life. There’s the Internet, for starters. And if that isn’t enough, the agency also has played a pivotal role in shaping GPS, stealth aircraft and drone technology. In fact, ever since its creation under President Eisenhower, DARPA has been transforming life on and off the battlefield. And the ideas haven’t dried up. A scan of programs currently in the works reveals DARPA to be as forward-looking and vital as ever.

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Unlocking the Promise of Broadband for All Americans

Summary: The Administration announces new wireless research efforts that will improve testing and research of advanced wireless technologies. Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Edison. George Washington Carver. Samuel Morse. America is a nation of inventors, and invention has spurred American growth since its inception, to the benefit of all Americans. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkEG8KLvaAc&w=600] That same spirit of invention continues today, and this Administration has worked tirelessly over the past seven years to promote pro-innovation policies to help the U.

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NASA Space Apps Challenge: 2016 Global Winners!

We’re thrilled to announce the Space Apps 2016 Global Award Winners!! These projects well represent the best of the best innovative thinking this year. Congratulations to all the teams. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming NASA launch in Florida. Best Use of Data: Scintilla, created at the Space Apps Pasadena, California main stage event, mitigates the impact of poor air quality in the global community by democratizing air quality data collection.

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White House: Challenges, Citizen Science Among Top Innovation Efforts of Past 8 Years

The White House this week released a report detailing the impact of 100 initiatives that have expanded U.S. capacity in science, technology and innovation over the past eight years. Evident throughout the report is the influence of Challenge.gov and CitizenScience.gov, two open innovation programs managed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). In fact, among the top 15 examples in the report are the increased use of prize competitions and expanded opportunities for citizen science and crowdsourcing, both areas where GSA is helping to lead the charge.

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700 Strong: Challenge.gov Crosses New Milestone in Open Innovation

Challenge.gov, the official website for crowdsourcing and prize competitions across government, celebrated its five-year anniversary in October 2015. Now, not even one year later, the site has reached another milestone. On Monday, two agencies launched new challenges, bringing the total number of competitions on Challenge.gov across the 700 mark. The 700th challenge, Start a SUD Startup, comes from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The challenge looks to award biomedical scientists up to $100,000 to help transition their research ideas into viable business opportunities.

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Open Data Democratizes Innovation

Americans Use Public Data to Improve the Lives of Fellow Citizens Data is one of our most important national assets. It informs our policy and our national priorities. But as we have seen time and time again, the most effective way to govern is to engage with the public directly. Thanks to the President’s Executive Order requiring that agencies make data open, we are democratizing access to data.

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Your Trek to Vesta & Mars Starts Now

The NASA Open Innovation team is pleased to announce the availability of the APIs that power Mars Trek and Vesta Trek on api.nasa.gov. The APIs for Mars provide data from the Mars Express, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions with 21 different data products such as MOLA Altimetery Hillshade, Viking and THEMIS. There are also 6 data products from the Dawn mission to Vesta providing various views in True Color, Colorized and Color Hillshade to name a few.

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Bringing Agile Inside

We hear a lot about agile software development being used in work with customers and end users. User stories are developed, coders and programmers turn them into prototypes, then testing is done to make sure the features work and do what is expected. But, agile is more than a way to develop software; it’s a mindset that favors iteration over knowing everything up front. So how can you have an agile mindset inside YOUR agency?

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Challenges, Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science: What’s the Dif?

There’s more than one way to harness the wisdom of the crowd. In honor of December’s monthly theme, we’re diving into and defining the various ways that federal agencies use public contributions to meet real needs and fulfill important objectives. Crowdsourcing Two’s company, three’s a crowd—and getting input from many is crowdsourcing. A White House blog post defined crowdsourcing as “a process in which individuals or organizations submit an open call for voluntary contributions from a large group of unknown individuals (“the crowd”) or, in some cases, a bounded group of trusted individuals or experts.

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The Data Briefing: Innovating Health Data at the HHS Idea Lab

By the time this is published, the United States, along with 160 other countries, will be celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 16th through November 22nd). November is also National Entrepreneurship Month with November 17th being National Entrepreneurs’ Day. As President Obama stated in his proclamation: “In keeping with our goal of fostering economic growth through private-sector collaboration, the federal government is accelerating the movement of new technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace, increasing access to research awards for small businesses, making more data open to the public [emphasis mine] and catalyzing new industry partnerships in critical fields such as advanced manufacturing and clean energy.

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The White House, Back To The Future Day, and the Road to Innovation

Well, it’s here: October 21, 2015. While Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) got to experience flying cars in 1989’s part two of the Back to the Future trilogy, we, on the other hand, are not quite there—yet! As the White House notes, we have come a long way in the past 30 years since the original Back to the Future came out in 1985, and #BackToTheFutureDay is a great opportunity to talk about where we’re going in the next 30.

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An Innovation Framework That Delivers: The SunShot Catalyst Program

Behind every great innovation is a team. And behind successful innovation teams are efficient tools, processes, and most importantly, people. The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative funds projects that make solar energy more affordable and accessible for Americans. As part of the initiative, the SunShot Catalyst open innovation program seeks to rapidly deliver solar solutions through prize challenges. Catalyst has been recognized as a leader in the innovation field. The International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) recently awarded Catalyst the ISPIM Grand Prize 2015 for excellence in innovation management.

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Digital Analytics Program Among Finalists for Igniting Innovation Award

The federal government has IT challenges, and innovative federal projects are tackling those challenges head-on. As projects gain momentum, outside organizations have taken notice. Recently, Data.gov and DigitalGov’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP) were recognized by the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC), among 30 other finalists for the Igniting Innovation Award. ACT-IAC’s 2015 Igniting Innovation Showcase and Awards recognized tools, solutions, services and programs developed by government and industry leaders.

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The API Briefing: Make 2015 the Year You Create an App

According to some experts, over 80% of Americans will make a least one New Year’s resolution. There are the usual “lose weight,” “quit smoking,” or “exercise more” resolutions. Another popular set of resolutions involves learning new skills. So, if you are looking for a way to improve yourself while helping others, think about making a resolution to learn how to build a mobile app that can be used in disaster relief.

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CFPB’s IdeaBox: an Open-Source Internal Ideation Platform

IdeaBox is an application that helps an organization collect ideas, organize them, and solicit comments and votes on the ideas. Do you want to build an innovation program at your organization? Learn how you can leverage resources from IdeaBox, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s initiative to generate, incubate, and implement great ideas from employees across the agency by watching the recent DigitalGov University webinar. Your organization can take advantage of the CFPB’s: Open-source (FREE!

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Challenge, Contract or Grant – Which tool is right for the job?

Choosing between a contract, a grant, or a public prize competition to get solutions to the problems your agency faces is a difficult task. Each is a tool that has different qualities and each might be the best choice for varying situations. Sam Ortega, the manager of the Centennial Challenges program at NASA, spoke about the subject recently on a DigitalGov University webinar. Being the head of a large federal public prize program, he had a lot to say about the benefits of crowdsourcing innovation through prizes.

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The Trend is Diversity, in Challenge and Prize Competitions

The U.S. government has launched more than 45 challenge and prize competitions so far in Fiscal Year 2014. What trends are we seeing? Well, the trend is…diversity. That might sound like an oxymoron, but federal agencies are really putting themselves out there, asking the crowd to help tackle a wide array of problems. Until August 3rd, NASA is seeking ways to improve email for astronauts on the International Space Station.

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Challenge and Prize Practitioners Gather at GSA

Got innovation? Well, we do! On Wednesday May 28, the Challenge.gov team gathered the Challenges and Prizes Community of Practice. The group covered two topics: Highlights from challenge competitions run in 2013. Concepts and tips for working with solvers to build teams. Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, shared the results of a recent report on challenge and prize competitions conducted under America COMPETES Act Authority.

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Ignite with Us

Have a DigitalGov success?—published an API? Got buy-in from leadership? Changed a part of your customer-service paradigm? Developed a cool dashboard? Got the app out the door? Heck! Have you prototyped a wearable, drivable or flyable? Have a DigitalGov opinion?—think we should be focusing more or less on something? Have an idea on how to improve development? Want to share your digital gov mantra? Internet of things? You are doing and thinking a lot, and we have a place for a few of you smarties to share with other agencies.

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Because It’s Hard

Two years ago, federal agencies were set on a fast track to create a 21st century digital government. The Federal Digital Strategy served up a heaping set of deliverables on a tight timeline. Agencies opened data sets, built mobile apps and websites, published APIs, created and updated digital governance structures, and joined with other agencies in measuring digital services performance. Last May, as the final deadlines were met, some asked, “What’s next?

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Civic Hacking: Pathways for Participation

The National Day of Civic Hacking is actually a weekend. An awe-inspiring two days of collaborative work where coders, designers, writers, innovative thinkers, and data geeks get together to solve problems and build things for their communities. For the Challenge.gov community, this is a fantastic opportunity to get live, hands-on experience talking with and working next to people in a real-time hacking environment. If you’re thinking about running a competition around data sets or have an idea you want to float to developers, you can do it here first and see what feedback and traction you get, before committing to a full-fledged prize competition.

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Get Started with Challenge and Prize Competitions

Interested in running a challenge and prize competition, but don’t know where to start? Well, here are all the resources GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies has to offer: 1) Challenge.gov. Put your agency’s challenges on this government-wide listing and learn about more than 300 public prizes run over the past four years. You can filter by agency and challenge type, such as software, ideas, designs. Built and hosted by GSA, you can also use it to run crowdsourcing competitions end to end.

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Six Tips for Measuring Success in Challenge Competitions

You’ve run a challenge and prize competition, selected your winners, and distributed the prizes. If you think you’re done, guess again. There’s much more to challenge and prize competition success than getting a solution that solves your problem or meets the criteria. You need to measure success right after your challenge as you work to implement the winning solution. But you also need to measure success over time by keeping in touch with your winners and the other contestants.

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HHS Uses Crowdsourcing in Booming mHealth Industry

The mobile health (mHealth) market is projected to become a $50 billion industry by 2020, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been actively contributing to the rise of the mHealth applications. The agency uses public prize competitions like the recent “Game On: HIV/STD Prevention Mobile Application Video Game Challenge” to crowdsource a variety of health apps for the public in addition to creating mHealth apps in-house.

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Crowdsource Ideas with New Competition Platform

Federal agencies now have the ability to create a challenge competition website that accepts submissions and allows public voting with a new, no-cost tool. The Challenge.gov team unveiled and demonstrated the capabilities of GSA’s new crowdsourcing and prize competition platform, Challenge.sites.usa.gov on a DigitalGov University webinar. The platform is now available for any federal employee to log in and explore its functionality (just be careful not to publish anything not intended to be public).

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Open for Innovation in DigitalGov!

There’s tons of great work and innovations happening in federal agencies, and it is happening fast. From mobile, to social, to user experience, to APIs, to data and codesharing, agencies are embracing the 21st century citizen expectations and working to deliver anytime, anywhere, any device services and information to the public. How do we tap into this agency expertise? Learn from others’ hits and misses? Identify roadmaps, sample documents, tools?

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Lights, Camera, Action! 7 Tips to Run a Successful Video Challenge

Not sure how to craft a video challenge that will result in the creative solutions your agency is looking for? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Jason Crusan from NASA and Tammi Marcoullier from Challenge.gov joined a recent DigitalGov University webinar to share best practices and hurdles in running video competitions. We’ve recapped their advice and key takeaways here: Video challenges are a great way to engage the public around a visual story.

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Join HHS Ignite Innovation Day on Friday

_This post was originally published on the IDEA Lab blog by Read Holman, HHS Innovation Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer and an Intrapreneur working in the HHS IDEA Lab._ Launched last year in “beta” by Secretary Sebelius, HHS Ignite supports early-stage projects that can be completed in tight time frames. Ignite is part of HHS’s IDEA Lab, which was established to improve how the Department delivers on its mission and promote advances in organizational management.

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Citizen Needs Come First for UK Websites

We have long believed that “governments learn best from other governments” and encourage far-ranging discussions with experts from other countries, as well as state and local governments. An example of this came to fruition when Michael Bracken, creator and director of the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service, spoke to a cadre of Presidential Innovation Fellows and others in the GSA auditorium. Bracken is in charge of using the new and ground-breaking gov.

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Challenge Contest Requirements

As you’re planning your challenge, you’ll want to review the relevant policies, memos and legislation pertaining to challenge competitions. The most important is the Prize Authority in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (PDF, 275 KB, 12 pages, August 2011) for it gives all executive branch agencies a baseline authority to run prize competitions. Be sure to consult with your agency’s attorneys on this to learn how your agency has decided to implement challenge competitions conducted under COMPETES at your agency.

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Challenge.gov Named as Top 5 Finalist Harvard Innovation Award

Thanks to the tremendous work of challenge managers across federal government and the support of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, the Challenge.gov program at GSA has been named one of the top 5 finalists in Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Award! We are honored to be among this group, after rigorous competition from all levels of government. Join us in congratulating all the finalists today. And a big pat on the back to the hundreds of champions at 59 agencies who worked on the 300+ public prize competitions to-date.

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Ideation Challenges

Tips for Conducting an Ideation Challenge Examples of Ideation Challenges Criteria for Choosing an Ideation Platform Online Platforms and Tools Challenge and prize competitions are one tool that federal agencies use to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems—whether technical, scientific, or creative. One type of competition is ideation, which allows you to collect ideas from a wide and diverse population to solve a particular business problem. Ideas could include suggestions, approaches, plans, proposals, designs, or other proposed solutions in written, graphic, or video form.

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Software and Apps Challenges

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems—whether technical, scientific, or creative. One type of competition is software and apps challenges, where solvers are asked to develop specific software or other code-based technical solutions, such as websites, mobile applications, or algorithms. Here you’ll find tips on running a software/apps challenge, resources, examples and information about online platforms you can use to host your competition.

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Federal Government Challenges and Contests

What is a Challenge? In a challenge, a “seeker” challenges “solvers” to identify a solution to a particular problem, or rewards contestants for accomplishing a goal. The solutions may be: ideas, designs, logos, videos, finished products, digital games, or mobile applications. There are many challenge success stories in government: Challenges Conducted in 2011 Under America COMPETES Act Authority (PDF, 486 KB, 53 pages, March 2012) Challenges Conducted in 2012 Under America COMPETES Act Authority (PDF, 1,257 KB, 95 pages, December 2013) Challenges can offer incentive prizes that are either monetary or non-monetary.

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Technology Demonstration and Market Stimulation Challenges

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems—whether technical, scientific, or creative. One type of competition is technology demonstration and market stimulation prizes, competitions that result in fully developed solutions to address market failures, solve significant problems facing society, or catalyze and demonstrate breakthrough technical innovations. Here you’ll find tips on running these types of prizes, resources, examples and information about vendors and partners who can help you design and administer your competition.

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Mobile Code Sharing Catalog Snippet: Leaflet

Would you like help incorporating mobile-friendly maps in your mobile sites and/or web apps? Check out Leaflet, available on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog, a modern open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. It is developed by Vladimir Agafonkin of CloudMade with a team of dedicated contributors. Weighing just about 31 KB of gzipped JS code, it has all the features most developers ever need for online maps. More info at http://leafletjs.

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Mobile Code Sharing Catalog Snippet: Web Experience Toolkit (WET)

Looking to jumpstart your mobile website development? Check out the Web Experience Toolkit (WET) available on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog. The toolkit includes reusable components for building and maintaining innovative Web sites that are accessible, usable, and interoperable. Developed as a collaborative open source project by the Government of Canada, the WET has reusable components that are open source software and free for use by departments and external Web communities.

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Trends on Tuesday: 10 Mobile Trends to Embrace

Jackie Rov of tmgmedia points out that with more than a billion smartphones in consumer’s pockets, it’s more important than ever for brands to adapt their strategy to mobile trends. To engage with consumers in the mobile era, we must understand the shift in consumer behavior – that immediacy and convenience fuel consumer actions. To help us, Rov has selected 10 mobile trends from Forrester’s 2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers report which all brands should embrace:

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Tips for Creating Great Digital Content for Kids

Great websites for kids have many of the same features as websites for adults, but some key differences are worth noting when writing digital content for kids or teens. Kids have short attention spans, so it’s important to keep your site engaging, fun, and active. Here are a few tips from Kids.gov on ways to create great online content for kids: Make your kids’ website fun and interactive When your site is interactive, kids don’t even realize that they’re learning.

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Planning an Apps Challenge

Apps challenges are a great way to spur innovation and help your agency meet its mission. But before you jump in, learn about how apps challenges work, to ensure yours is successful. Design Concept or Functioning App? What kind of product do you want from your apps challenge? A working app; or A concept for an app To widen the pool of entries and participants, don’t put limits on submissions.

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Harvard’s Top 25 Innovations in Government

Nine federal programs made the list! Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation announced the Top 25 Innovations in Government May 1. A winner and four finalists will be revealed this fall. TheWashington Post described how Harvard’s review committee selected the finalists and why this is important. Against the tide of talk about sequestration and cuts, positive change is happening among agencies: “… this is a story about innovation in government at a time when people, including those on the inside, generally believe government is incapable of anything close to it.

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How to Improve an Apps Challenge

The contest is over, but your work isn’t finished. Maintain a positive relationship with the community you’ve developed around your challenge. You will want to reach out to them in the future. Close the challenge and present awards Hold an awards ceremony to draw attention to the winners and to your challenge. The team behind the HHS myHealthyPeopleChallenge partnered with a prominent health conference to demo the winners’ applications.

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How to Implement an Apps Challenge

Recruiting the right judges, writing clear rules, and ensuring the public can find your apps challenge online will help ensure success. Recruit the judges Reach out to those who have expertise in your topic or are influential in the area. Well-known judges will help you draw attention to your challenge, and the judges are likely to announce their participation through their networks. Judges for the HHS myHealthyPeople Application Developer Challenge included top officials at HHS, CDC, and NIH, and executives from influential health foundations and organizations.

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Battle Royale: Mobile Web Versus Mobile Apps

When agency folks gather together to talk about mobile gov, the number one question asked is, “Should we do a mobile app or a mobile web site?” To help people with that question, we became fight promoters and sponsored THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY!! Mobile Web Vs. Mobile Apps Two champions debated this hot topic: Neil Bonner, from the Transportation Security Administration, is a proponent of mobile websites.

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