About SICP - The Community Solutions Agenda
In creating the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (SICP), housed within the Domestic Policy Council, President Obama recognized that the best solutions to our challenges will be found in communities across the country. He tasked SICP with engaging individuals, non-profits, the private sector, and government to foster innovation and work together to make greater and more lasting progress on our Nation’s challenges. The Office is focused on doing business differently by promoting service as a solution and a way to develop community leadership; increasing investment in innovative community solutions that demonstrate results; and developing new models of partnership. These three mission areas together comprise SICP's community solutions agenda.
Our Office is founded on simple but enduring principles about how a society can effectively grapple with its greatest challenges. We believe in:
- Focusing on Results. Strong programs and organizations measure and evaluate what works and why, continuously improve when presented with new information, and invest in the most effective solutions.
- Bottom-up solutions. The best ideas do not always come from Washington. Every day, individuals and communities across the country are developing solutions to our toughest challenges and achieving great results. Government should support – not supplant – bottom-up solutions that are having an impact.
- Broadening Participation. The next generation of leaders and ideas must be drawn from communities across America. Service and social innovation can act as an onramp to a new generation of leadership and help reinvigorate a sense of responsibility to community for all Americans.
- Shared Responsibility. We know that government cannot and should not do everything on its own, and President Obama has described this as an all-hands-on-deck moment. We know that each sector plays a needed and distinct role that is often dependent on the roles of the other sectors.
To act on these principles, our Office will focus on three mission areas that comprise a bottom-up, innovative, and results-oriented “community solutions” agenda. To deliver on this agenda, we will marshal the power of service, social innovation, and partnerships to solve our most pressing challenges. Our Office will:
- Promote Service as a Solution and a Way to Develop Community Leaders. We know that service is not separate from our national priorities – it is key to addressing these priorities. We want to broaden opportunities for all Americans to serve and have an impact in their communities, and build a new generation of community leaders who are tackling our toughest challenges.
- Increase Investment for Innovative Solutions that Demonstrate Results. We will work with Federal agencies to create tools, such as innovation funds, prizes and other social capital market structures to drive resources toward community solutions that are demonstrating success. We will also work across government and with non-government partners to promote better mechanisms to measure and evaluate programs and improve outcomes, to create knowledge about what works, and to disseminate why it works. And we will work to create a more effective government by breaking down barriers to innovation.
- Develop New, Innovative Models of Partnership. We will find new ways for the government to partner with private organizations in solving shared problems, and develop new, innovative models of partnership. We are looking to advance partnership models that produce outcomes with greater impact than what could be achieved independently.
Looking for a way to serve that's right for you?
Serve.gov is a new portal for you and all Americans to find your own ways to serve in your own communities. Just choose whatever interests you – and type in your zip code to see what opportunities our partner organizations have in your area. Americans are putting their own country back on the right track, be a part of it.